For once, in an airline mask story, the right person got punished
Yet another story about airlines behaving badly broke on Monday. This time, a family of four got kicked off a flight because the two-year-old toddler was eating. However, unlike all the other grotesque examples of panicked mask fascism, this story has a happy ending: the flight attendant who caused the ruckus was the one who ultimately got kicked off the plane, and the family was allowed back on.
As a preliminary matter, the evidence is very strong that little children neither get nor give COVID from or to those around them. And as a factual matter, putting masks on a child who has just turned two is cruel. The family's situation was also difficult: not only did they have a baby who had just turned two, but they also had a special needs child who has seizures, and the mother is seven months pregnant. Also, it may matter that the family was obviously Jewish (for the father was wearing a yarmulke), a point I'll address a little later.
In the case of this family, people surrounding the family objected to the flight attendant kicking the family off when the toddler wanted to eat something. Eventually, the flight attendants, for reasons that aren't clear, kicked everyone off the plane.
This story has a happy ending: everybody but the bullying flight attendant was allowed back on the plane.
But back to that point about the family being Jewish. This is the third time in two years that flight attendants have kicked Jewish families off planes for weird or inappropriate reasons.
Just last month, Frontier Airlines kicked 22 Hassidic family members off a plane because of an alleged mask violation. Family members as well as witnesses said the unmasked member of the party was 15 months old, and the federal guidelines about masks do not apply to children under two. Worse, according to witnesses, "Frontier staffers 'cheered' and 'high-fived each other' while exclaiming 'We did it!' after ordering all 22 Jewish passengers off the plane." The airline, however, insisted that several other family members were non-compliant.
In 2019, American Airlines kicked a Jewish family off the plane, claiming they smelled bad. The gate agent even said he knew that Orthodox Jews don't bathe regularly. The family denies that claim and filed suit against American Airlines last year. (I don't know what became of the suit.)
There's a definite theme here of obviously Jewish passengers running into trouble with airline attendants. There's one other twist to this story of the family kicked off the plane on Monday. In the second video, above, the father notes explicitly that the push for them to leave came from a Black woman. At the very least, this reflects ongoing tensions between Blacks and Jews. Blacks are second only to Muslims in America when it comes to anti-Semitism.
I'm someone who believes that masks are pure theater. If we handled masks in a sterile fashion, putting on new N95 masks every time we are required to wear them, trashing the old ones, and instantly sterilizing our hands, I might believe in them. As it is, though, the masks themselves are ridiculous disease vectors, being handled constantly and taken on and off repeatedly. Their only utility is to offer some protection from large loogies if people cough or sneeze — and even that is doubtful, given the way masks are mishandled.
But there is good news. On Monday, the passengers fought back simply by being the opposite of Karens. They understood that it's insane to kick a family off a plane because a toddler is eating without a mask. Even the pilot and other crew members stood up against one flight attendant's madness — and Spirit Airline itself punished the attendant, not the family.
We, the People, have the power to make this stop. When we sit silently, we are complicit. When we speak up, things get better.
Image: Family booted off Spirit Airlines. Twitter screen grab.
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