A New York City family is outraged and seeking answers after being booted from a JetBlue plane at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport over what the airline called "a verbal altercation."
Tamir Raanan, Mandy Ifrah and their three young children were headed home to New York on July 2 after attending a wedding in South Florida, according to a statement from family attorney David Templer on Wednesday. Ifrah said she got into a dispute with a nearby passenger on the plane when Ifrah's 1-year-old daughter kicked the back of the passenger's seat.
Ifrah said the matter was soon resolved with the passenger after exchanging a few words and apologizing, according to the statement.
JetBlue gave its own account of the incident in a statement Wednesday: "After a verbal altercation that included physical threats and profanities against a nearby customer, the aircraft door was reopened and our airports team politely asked the customers to step off to discuss the situation."
Cell phone video recorded by the family shows a JetBlue manager speaking to Raanan and Ifrah and asking them to exit the plane but not giving a reason why. The couple soon became angry and repeatedly asked the flight attendant why they were being asked to leave.
JetBlue said, "the customers refused repeated requests and our crewmembers deplaned the entire aircraft."
A second cell phone video shows the family at the gate repeatedly questioning the same JetBlue manager. Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies were also at the gate to help mediate the situation. The officers can be heard asking the couple to calm down and to leave.
Ifrah said the airline told them they would be booked on a flight the next day. The family claimed they didn’t get their checked luggage until a week later, that JetBlue never explained why they were removed from the flight, and that they were banned from all future flights.
JetBlue confirmed that the airline provided the family a refund but that "the customers were not removed due to the actions of their children."
"We are investigating whether the customers’ behavior warrants restrictions on JetBlue travel and we thank our crewmembers for their professional handling of this unfortunate incident," the statement said.
It’s unclear what legal action the couple plans to take.