FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A couple from New Jersey said they were embarrassed after they were pulled off a JetBlue flight after their 18-month old daughter’s name allegedly showed up on a “No Fly” list.
It happened Tuesday night at Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport. The couple, who do not wish to have their names published, said they and their daughter Riyanna had just boarded a flight heading home when a JetBlue employee told them they had to get off the plane because agents from the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) needed to speak with them.
When they asked why, the couple said the employee told them their daughter’s name had been flagged on a “No Fly” list.
The couple said they felt they were being singled. While both are of Middle Eastern descent, they’re both Americans born and raised in New Jersey. They said they were made to stand in the terminal while TSA agents met with representatives from JetBlue. The said they felt they were “put on display like a circus act because my wife wears a hijab.”
“In this particular case, this 18-month-old baby was pulled off of a plane because of her Muslim name. It’s extreme. It’s a waste of resources,” said Nezar Hamze, executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations.
After about half an hour, they were told they could re-board the plane. The couple said they didn’t get an apology or an explanation.
They refused to re-board because they said they were too embarrassed by what happened. Now they want to know what happened.
According to a statement from JetBlue “Upon boarding Flight 510 at Fort Lauderdale International Airport last evening, several customers were flagged in our system as being on the TSA’s No Fly list. 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 TSA said they’re not involved.
“TSA did not flag this child as being on the No Fly list. TSA was called to the gate by the airline and after talking to the parents and confirming through our vetting system, TSA determined the airline had mistakenly indicated the child was on a government watch list,” according to a statement from the agency.