A family has come forward to say in a now-viral video that they were removed from a United Airlines flight and their 2-year-old banned after the infant refused to wear a mask. The child’s mother posted a video on Instagram and Twitter explaining the story and the Twitter video has now been viewed over 4 million times.
The family, who said they were Silver elite members of the airline’s MileagePlus program, was flying on Friday from Denver to Newark after a long drive from Breckenridge, Colorado. The airline clarified to Heavy that neither the parents nor the two-year-old has been banned but they’re looking into the situation. The viral video describing the incident is available here:
The child’s mother, Eliz Orban, wrote, “Today we got kicked off of a United flight going from Denver to Newark because our 2yo would not ‘comply’ and keep her mask on. Go see the full IGTV on my Instagram @elizfulop.”
The Child’s Mother Said That United Refused to Rebook Them on Another Flight & Did Not Take Their Luggage Off the Flight
Orban, who is a fitness coach, bodybuilder and former biathlon skier, according to her Instagram bio, tearfully said in the video they were removed from the flight because her two-year-old girl did not want to wear her face mask. She added that United was sending all of their luggage on to New York. The video shows the child’s father attempting to put the mask on her face repeatedly as the child covers her face with her hands.
A flight attendant then arrives and asks the family to grab their belongings and “exit the aircraft.” The young girl’s father tells the flight attendant that he’s doing what he can and holding the mask over her face, “I’m literally covering her face,” but the flight attendant insists on their removal, the video shows.
A longer video of the incident shared to Orban’s Instagram, shows the father asking the flight attendant if they’ll be rebooked first class and the flight attendant responds “no.” Orban added that they were eventually able to get the car seat off the plane and wrote, “Since our bags weren’t taken off the plane (they did get our child seat) – we have to wait until tomorrow till they deliver it to our house in Breckenridge which is 2 hours from the DIA airport.”
Orban said the family are premier Silver members with the airline and had already flown four times with their daughter on United since the pandemic began and had never had an issue.
United’s Mask Policy States 2-Year-Olds Must Wear Masks & the Airline Is Investigating the Situation
The airline confirmed to Heavy that none of the family members have been banned from United Airlines and said they are looking into the incident:
The health and safety of our employees and customers is our highest priority, which is why we have a multi-layered set of policies, including mandating that everyone onboard two and older wears a mask. These procedures are not only backed by guidance from the CDC and our partners at the Cleveland Clinic, but they’re also consistent across every major airline.
We are investigating this specific incident and have made contact with the family. We also refunded their tickets and returned their car seat and bags.
The airline’s mask policy states that all flyers who are two years or older must wear a covering on their face with “no vents or openings” that covers the person’s nose and mouth, and face shields are not acceptable on their own.