The New York Post reports: When Chani and Yisroel Beck from Boro Park checked in on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, for their Spirit Airlines flight #521 from Newark airport to fly to their vacation destination at Fort Lauderdale with their three daughters ages 3, 2 and 1 month-old all was normal with their check-in process. Upon arriving at the designated gate for their departure they requested permission from the gate agent to take their baby’s carriage onboard after demonstrating that it, in fact, converted into a car seat for the infant. Permission was granted, and thus they boarded the flight with their carriage and babies in tow without incident.
Once on the plane, as they were preparing for takeoff and already in their seats, a stewardess informed them that they could not have the car seat on the plane and that it must be removed ⎼ this despite their protestation that it had already been approved by the gate agent. The infant was unbuckled from her seat when the car seat was forcibly removed by a steward, all the while the other two daughters were left crying as this unfolded. A bad start to a flight that would only get worse.
During the flight, Yisroel joined his wife and three daughters in their three-seat row, taking the 2-year old on his lap. The steward ordered him back to his seat because regulations did not allow for five people to be seated in a single row, adding that there were not enough oxygen masks in the case of an emergency. Yisroel readily complied and returned to his seat without further incident.
“My husband didn’t argue and returned to his seat,” Chana said. “The steward, who is called Jose, told my husband ‘shut up’ when he asked him for his last name. He said, ‘You’re going to have law enforcement meeting you when the plane lands.’”
An eyewitness on the same flight was also shocked by the way this family was treated and came forward stating he overheard the steward who was involved in the confrontation complaining to the other stewardesses about “those retarded Jews.”
“It was clearly anti-Semitism, a personal thing,” said the 24-year-old passenger, who identified himself only as Binyamin, of Rockland County. He said he was so shocked by the repugnant comment that he came forward to tell the couple he was prepared to vouch for them.
At the flight’s end an announcement was made for all passengers to remain seated as two police officers and two managers from the airlines came onboard to escort Chani, Yisroel and their three daughters off the plane as though they were criminals. They asked the police what crime had been committed and received no response other than from the airline manager who claimed they weren’t wearing seatbelts.
Once the plane landed, an announcement was made for all the passengers to remain seated as two police officers and two Spirit supervisors came aboard to escort the family off without explanation, she said.
“We had no idea what was happening and why they were escorting us off. We had no idea why they were making a big deal,” Chana said. “The supervisors said the (attendants) had notes on us, that we weren’t listening and that ‘just like you want us to believe your story, we have to believe what they wrote about you.’”
Adding insult to injury, Chana said, the airline supervisors said their return tickets for Jan. 15 would not be honored and that the family is no longer welcome on any Spirit flights.
Former Assemblyman Dov Hikind, whom the family contacted about the incident, called the alleged anti-Semitic remark “inexcusable.”
“This family was traumatized, and their family vacation ruined by the unprofessional behavior of the airline staff,” he said in a statement. “The comment about ‘r——d Jews’ qualifies the steward for dismissal. Spirit has much explaining to do.”
Chana also called for the crew member to be fired, and wants Spirit to reimburse their ticket costs and compensate them for their traumatic experience.
“It was pure anti-Semitism for literally nothing,” she said.
Spirit spokesman Derek Dombrowski said the Becks have not yet contacted the airline, but that “records indicate that this guest ignored flight and ground crew instructions multiple times, beginning with the boarding process and continuing through landing.”
He said the airline will “launch an investigation and take these matters very seriously.”
“The safety of our Guests and crew is our top priority,” he added in a statement. “Spirit Airlines does not tolerate any form of discrimination. We are extremely proud of the diversity of our team and strive to provide exceptional service to all of our Guests.”