NEW YORK — A Brooklyn mother traveling alone with her six children was forced off a JetBlue flight in Orlando, Florida, Wednesday when her 2-year-old daughter wouldn’t wear her mask.
Flight attendants ordered Chaya Bruck of Midwood to get off the Newark, New Jersey-bound plane after her daughter Dina refused to keep the face covering on — and when the desperate mom tried to explain the tot wasn’t cooperating, the attendants told all of the passengers to get off the aircraft.
“It was horrible, the whole experience was traumatizing,” Bruck told the New York Daily News from Orlando International Airport, where she and her children were still stranded Wednesday afternoon.
“I was trying very hard … (The other children) were wearing their masks with their noses covered,” she said. “It says (on JetBlue’s website) that a child who cannot wear a mask does not have to wear a mask. I tried to tell them this, but they didn’t care … They wanted me off the plane.
“(The other passengers) were sticking up for me … All of my kids were crying. I was shaking … It was inhumane.”
JetBlue strengthened its policy on face coverings earlier this month, noting that passengers must cover their noses and mouths in order to board. That rule did not apply to children 2 years old or younger.
The airline company updated its policy Wednesday at 2 p.m. — just 44 minutes after Bruck’s flight was set to take off at 1:16 p.m. — noting that “all travelers 2 years and older must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth throughout their journey.”
JetBlue did not return a request for comment.
The ordeal first began 10 days ago when the mom boarded a JetBlue plane to Orlando, and one of the attendants — who was also on Wednesday’s flight — argued with her about 2-year-old Dina wearing the face covering.
“The minute he saw me today, he recognized me,” Bruck said. “I heard him tell the other stewardesses about me.”
“They came over to me and told me my daughter was 3 years old,” she added. “I told them she’s 2 … I know how old my child is, she’s going to be 3 in September.
The flight attendants walked away — but moments later, another woman who works for JetBlue came over to Bruck and gave her an ultimatum.
“She said, ‘Are you getting off the plane or are you staying?’ ” Bruck said. “I told her, ‘I’m not going, I want to go home’ … But she just kept repeating (the question.)”
Other passengers began yelling at the attendant, cellphone footage obtained by the Daily News shows.
“Leave her alone!” one woman called out as several passengers stood up in their seats to record the incident.
“They were really nasty,” passenger Charzette Poinsette told the Daily News. “(Bruck) said, ‘I’m going to get her to put the mask on’ and that wasn’t enough for them.”
“She was crying, I felt so bad,” Poinsette added. “None of them offered to help her with anything.”
Bruck said she never dreamed that flying back home would be such a nightmare.
“I wasn’t making any trouble,” she said. “Why did we have to experience such a thing? … I am a woman flying alone with six children … They didn’t care.”
(Carla Roman contributed to this story.)
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