The story that has been making headlines since yesterday evening and throughout this morning is that of a New Jersey family who was kicked off its JetBlue flight in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., because their 18-month-old Riyanna was allegedly on the U.S. Transportation Security Administration's no-fly list.
The TSA has issued a statement saying this is not the case, leaving the airline scrambling to investigate how the incident occurred and the parents, who wished to remain unnamed, wanting answers as they feel "humiliated" and racially targeted after what happened.
WPBF-TV, a local news station in West Palm Beach, reports the details of the incident:
[Riyanna] and her parents had just boarded a JetBlue flight [Tuesday night] when an airline employee approached them and asked them to get off the plane, saying representatives from the [TSA] wanted to speak to them.
"And I said, 'For what?'" Riyanna's mother told only WPBF 25 News on Wednesday. "And he said, 'Well, it's not you or your husband. Your daughter was flagged as no fly.' I said, 'Excuse me?'"
Riyanna's father was flabbergasted.
"It's absurd," he said. "It made no sense. Why would an 18-month-old child be on a no-fly list?"
Watch this WSVN report:
It's an incident that JetBlue has said it is looking into in cooperation with the TSA, whereas TSA has said it was an error on JetBlue's part. The New York Daily News reports a JetBlue representative issuing this statement:
“There are layers of security checkpoints in place — from booking a flight to checking-in, clearing security and boarding an aircraft — that are enforced by the airline in collaboration with airport authorities and the Transportation Security Administration to ensure all customers enjoy a safe and secure travel experience,” the airline said.
The New York Daily News goes on note that the TSA has denied Riyanna was ever on the no-fly list. WPBF reports TSA considering "this is an airline issue" and it is therefore not investigating. It also told WPBF that since the family, including Riyanna, were issued boarding passes it further shows they were cleared by TSA and not on the restricted list.
Riyanna's parents believe they were targeted because they are of Middle Eastern descent, even though both were born and raised in New Jersey. Riyanna's father told WPBF they were "put on display like a circus act because my wife wears a hijab."