Fort Lauderdale, Fla. -
An 18 month old toddler was pulled off JetBlue flight 510 in Fort Lauderdale over fears she may be a terrorist since her name was on the No-Fly list according to reports by JetBlue employees. Her parents have decried racism and that they singled her out because she has middle-eastern facial features.
Once TSA figured out the problem, the family was cleared to fly on the flight to Newark but declined saying they were too embarrassed. TSA officials said the girl is not on the No-Fly list, and that JetBlue made a mistake. The TSA also said it did not know that JetBlue had pulled the family off the plane until they were called to the gate by airline employees.
JetBlue says the problem was a "glitch" in a computer system that matched the toddlers name to the No-Fly list, and that their employees followed procedures correctly by discretely asking the family to disembark.
After the family was approached on the plane and asked to get off the mother said, "For what?", "And he [airline employee] said, 'Well, it's not you or your husband. Your daughter was flagged as No Fly.' I said, 'Excuse me?'"
The father told reporters it is extremely embarrassing to be pulled off a flight in front of other passengers. "We were put on display like a circus act because my wife wears a hijab," he said.
The TSA explained that if someone was on the No-Fly list, they would not have been able to print their boarding passes at home, as this family did, and would have received enhanced screening at the security checkpoint before being able to proceed to the gate or even board a plane. "If a passenger is able to print a boarding pass at home or at an airport kiosk, then, in fact, that passenger has been cleared by TSA's Security Flight program," said Sari Koshetz, a TSA spokesperson.