Airplane Passengers Removed From Flight After Child Kicks Seat

The airline JetBlue is currently fighting a depiction of an episode that lead to a family's removal from a flight. JetBlue is considering banning the family from flying with the airline. 
Tamir Raanan and Mandy Ifrah said they were trying to fly back home to New York from Fort Lauderdale, Florida with their three children. Then their one year old started kicking the seat in front of them as the plane was preparing to depart. In a press release from their attorney, it says that Ifrah and the female passenger in the seat exchanged some words, and then the lady moved to an empty seat beside her. The family says that they apologized, but the flight attendant asked the pilot to return to the gate to remove the family from the flight.

After the family was removed from the flight, they were given a refund and were able to book another flight for the following day. However, their luggage was already on the JetBlue plane and wasn't returned to them until a week later. The airline also refused to reimburse them for any short notice plane, over-night accommodations, or other expenses due to the incident 

JetBlue released a statement that the incident was more serious and included physical threats and profanities. They said a crew member asked the family to get off the plane to discuss what happened, but they refused after several repeated requests. Law enforcement officers were called to escort the family from the gate area. The attorney for the family is disputing the claims that the parents used threats or profanity. 

Several videos have been posted on YouTube showing the altercation. The first one shows a flight attendant asking the parents to step off the plane, but both parents refuse. The second one shows the pair arguing with JetBlue staff and officers about their removal.

JetBlue recently released a statement that said, "the customers were not removed due to the actions of their children. We are investigating whether the customers’ behavior warrants restrictions on JetBlue travel and we thank our crew members for their professional handling of this unfortunate incident.”

Initially, the family was not going to seek any legal action, but due to JetBlue's, they are considering it. The family's attorney said that the airline issued a false and defamatory letter that does not represent the truth. As a result, the family has been bombarded with hate messages. 

Comments from Allen:

Although the altercation between Mandy Ifrah and the other passenger was not recorded, when a JetBlue supervisor came back to discuss the matter, and asked Ms. Ifrah to discuss it with him outside the plane as opposed to having an argument on the plane in front of the other passengers, she refused. 

Perhaps taking a lesson from the recent United Airlines PR fiasco, in which a customer was dragged away from his seat kicking and screaming, JetBlue ordered all of the passengers off the plane, and Ms. Ifrah was stopped from re-entering the plane by police officers who had been called.

This was a smart move by JetBlue.  There is no case concerning dragging a customer off the plane.  the tickets were refunded and the unruly passenger was merely prevented from re-boarding.  

Now, instead of a potential personal injury suit against JetBlue, Ms. Ifrah and her husband have, essentially, a suit for a one-week delay in retrieving their luggage, and the inconvenience of taking another flight.

Does Ifrah have a claim against JetBlue?  Would I take this case?  

Frankly, I would not take a case like this.  Ms. Ifrah, by having her interaction with the JetBlue supervisor recorded, documented that he was being calm and attempting to discuss the matter with her outside of the other passengers, who generally do not with to be a part of this type of drama.  In my opinion, she was being unreasonable in refusing to speak with the supervisor outside the presence of the other passengers.

A very accomplished trial lawyer in personal injury cases once told me "The most important thing about trying a case to a jury is that the jury must like your client."  If they don't like your client, you are probably wasting your time in bringing a case before them.  I do not believe a jury will be very sympathetic to someone making a scene on a plane when a JetBlue supervisor is trying to keep the peace on a flight.   

It could have been their flight.

Further, if indeed Ms. Ifrah was making threats to the other passenger, JetBlue had a duty to remove her from the flight.

I would not take this case.  There are too many cases out there in which someone has been hurt through no fault of their own.  The odds are very much against Ms. Ifrah on this one.


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Allen Browning is an attorney in Idaho Falls, Idaho who handles personal injury and criminal defense. He has over 30 years of experience and handled thousands of cases. Allen handles cases from all over Idaho. Call (208) 542-2700 to set up a free consultation if you are facing legal trouble or you have been involved in an accident.

Also, check out browninglaw.net for more information about Allen and Browning Law.

Allen Browning can help with all personal injury claims including motor vehicle accidents,truck accidents, auto accidents, serious and disabling accidents, and wrongful death claims.

Allen Browning is an Idaho Falls attorney who can also help with drunk driving (DUI), traffic violations, Felony, Misdemeanor, Domestic Violence, Drug Crimes, Theft, Juvenile Crimes, battery and assault charges, Violent Crimes, and Probation/Parole Violations. He is one of the most experienced and successful criminal defense attorneys in Idaho.


Allen is able to provide his services if the incident occurs in the following Idaho Areas: American Falls, Arco, Blackfoot, Boise, Burley, Driggs, Idaho Falls, Malad City, Pocatello, Rexburg, Rigby, Salmon, St. Anthony, Twin Falls, Bannock County, Bingham County, Bonneville County, Butte County, Cassia County, Clark County, Fremont County, Jefferson County, Lemhi County, Madison County, Oneida County, Power County, Teton County, and Twin Falls County.    

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