Families with toddlers who plan to travel over the holidays may want to avoid booking flights with United Airlines. That is, unless they can be sure any child under two years old can keep a mask on their face for an entire flight. As shown in a recent viral video, United is booting families from their aircraft for toddlers’ “non-compliance” with their mask policy — a policy unfortunately in place, at least in writing, with most other airlines as well.
A young family of three say they were heading to New York to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and to visit family in New Jersey last week when United Airlines forced them off the plane before takeoff because, despite their best efforts, their two-year-old daughter refused to wear a mask.
In a two-minute video posted on Dec. 11, since removed for no apparent reason by Instagram and Twitter, mother and Colorado resident Eliz Orban tearfully describes the experience then inserts footage of her masked husband attempting to put a surgical mask on the little girl while seated in the plane. The girl holds her hands up to her face, cries, and buries her head in his arm to avoid the mask.
As a flight attendant advises passengers over the comms to stow their baggage. A male flight attendant arrives at the aisle and demands the couple “grab their belongings and exit the aircraft,” saying he gave the couple “every opportunity” to get a mask on the child.
“We’re over here holding this mask over her face,” the father objects as he cradles the little girl. The video clearly shows him holding a neck gaiter over his daughter’s mouth and nose with a clasped hand. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” he says quietly.
The attendant states firmly that “if there’s non-compliance,” it is United’s policy to remove passengers from the flights. “This is compliance,” the father pleads, as the mother, holding the camera, reiterates their attempts to keep their toddler’s face covered.