A tearful mother alleges that her family was recently kicked off a flight because her 2-year-old daughter refused to wear a face mask. The mother documented the alleged incident on video, and it has since gone viral on social media.
Eliz Orban said she was flying on a United Airlines flight from Colorado's Denver International Airport to Newark International Airport in New Jersey this week. The couple have made it a tradition to visit the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, and were excited to include their daughter in the annual holiday ritual.
Orban said that the trip was coordinated with close friends and family to meet in New Jersey, including some they haven't seen in years. The friends and family were flying in from Cleveland and Slovakia to meet up this weekend, according to Orban.
Orban, her husband, and their 2-year-old daughter boarded the airplane and were sitting in their seats. The husband and wife were wearing face masks, and their young daughter had a mask, but she didn't want to wear the face covering. The father is seen on video attempting to put a mask on the toddler's face several times, but the toddler continually blocks him from doing so.
Apparently, a United Airlines employee warned the couple that the 2-year-old needs to wear a face mask. The same United Airlines employee allegedly asked the family to disembark from the airliner because the 2-year-old refused to wear a mask.
"Today, we were asked to leave the plane after it had rolled out, and they had to bring it back to the gate, because our 2 year old daughter would not 'comply' and keep her mask on," Orban wrote on an Instagram post.
"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 wrote. "Definitely won't make it to dinner in Jersey tonight."
Orban pointed out that the World Health Organization advises that children up to 5-years-old should not wear face masks. Regarding COVID-19, the WHO wrote in August, "Children aged 5 years and under should not be required to wear masks. This is based on the safety and overall interest of the child and the capacity to appropriately use a mask with minimal assistance."
Orban said that her daughter had already flown on four flights "since the pandemic, without ever having an issue."
Orban, who said that she and her husband are premier silver members at United, claimed that she and her husband are banned from flying on United Airlines.
According to United Airlines' rules related to the coronavirus pandemic, "all travelers are required to wear a face covering with no vents or openings that fully covers their nose and mouth," and that "children younger than 2 years old" are exempt from the mask mandate.
At the time of publication, United Airlines did not respond to a request for comment.
In September, a single mother and her 2-year-old son were kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight because the toddler reportedly ate snacks before takeoff without wearing a mask.