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Frontier: Maskless Fliers, Not Anti-Semitism, Canceled Flight

Flight out of Miami to NYC canceled after Sunday incident with Hasidic Jewish passengers
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2021 7:49 AM CST

(Newser) – A chaotic scene on a Frontier Airlines flight before takeoff ended with a group of Hasidic Jews being asked to leave, the entire plane eventually being emptied, and now, accusations of anti-Semitism—all over what the airline says was the group's refusal to wear face masks. The incident took place Sunday evening aboard Flight 2878 out of Miami, headed for New York City, and those are the only clear details so far. Members of the Hasidic group say they were wearing masks the entire time, with Martin Joseph telling the New York Times he was traveling with 21 members of his family, and that his daughter started arguing with a flight attendant who said her 15-month-old son had to wear a mask (per the CDC, kids under 2 don't have to). Videos taken aboard the plane show a disorganized situation, with people yelling and wandering up and down the aisles, a baby crying, and other passengers yelling things at the crew like "You're gonna pay the consequences!" and "This is Nazi Germany!"

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Joseph says his daughter and others were then asked to leave. The flight was reportedly canceled soon after the commotion, which ended up with more than a dozen cops on the scene, a passenger tells the Times of Israel. A video posted by the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council shows interviews after the incident with three other passengers, apparently unrelated to the Hasidic Jewish group, who say they saw members of the crew high-fiving each other as one of the Hasidic couples was disembarking; one of those interviewed said he heard one crew member say, "A job well done to those Jews." Frontier is denying the commotion was entirely over a maskless baby. "The issue that arose was not with the child," the airline says in a statement to Eyewitness News. "There were multiple adults in the group who refused to wear masks despite repeated requests to do so." The Anti-Defamation League of New York/New Jersey is calling for a "full & transparent investigation." (Read more Frontier Airlines stories.)

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