DENVER — A Colorado woman posted an emotional video after she said her family was removed from a flight at Denver International Airport because their toddler refused to wear a mask.
“We just got kicked off a flight because our 2-year-old would not wear a mask,” Eliz Fulop says in the video.
Fulop and her husband, Erhard Orban, had boarded a United Airlines flight from Denver to New Jersey, KDVR reported.
Fulop told the television station that while her family is a frequent flyer on United, she had not reviewed the company’s policy about masks for children. Fulop said her daughter, Edeline, had flown maskless before.
“We’ve flown with our daughter four times,” Fulop told KDVR. This was going to be the fourth during the pandemic.”
Fulop said the crew told her that Edeline needed to wear a mask and provided one. In the edited video, Fulop and Orban try to put the mask on the toddler, who covers her face and refuses to wear it.
Fulop told KDVR she began to record after hearing the pilot say that passengers were going to be removed from the flight.
In the video, Orban is approached by a United employee, who tells him, “Hello, sir, I am going to have to ask you to grab your belongings and exit the aircraft.”
“You gotta be kidding me,” Orban answers.
Informed it was not a joke, Orban asks why, adding that “We’re over here holding this mask over her face.”
“I’m sorry, sir,” the employee answers in the video. “I gave you an opportunity.”
Fulop told KDVR she was “humiliated.”
“Very confused,” she told the television station. “Almost disgusted with myself for having to do that to my daughter.”
United sent a statement to KDVR and said they refunded the family’s tickets.
“The health and safety of our employees and customers is our highest priority, which is why we have a multilayered set of policies, including mandating that everyone on board 2 and older wears a mask,” the statement read. “These procedures are not only backed by guidance from the CDC and our partners at the Cleveland Clinic, but they’re also consistent across every major airline.
“We are investigating this specific incident and have made contact with the family. We also refunded their tickets and returned their car seat and bags.”
According to the World Health Organization, in general, children aged 5 years and under should not be required to wear masks.
“It’s difficult to know what really took place,” Metropolitan State University of Denver Aviation professor Jeffery Price told KDVR. Price added that without context, it is difficult to understand the interaction that took place.
Orban, in an Instagram post, said he was “unapologetically unable to stay quiet anymore.”
Orban wrote of his family, who came to the United States from Romania and did everything they could “to keep the American dream alive.”
“Well, that dream and our freedoms are being taken and not many seem to be saying anything,” Orban wrote. “You don’t know what you don’t know. If you’ve never lived in a country where the government tells you how to think and act it’s easy to go along with everything.”
Price told KDVR that parents should take time to research different airline rules when it comes to mask mandates before booking a flight, and to prepare children for wearing masks on a flight.
“You know a 2-year-old is not gonna process complex data, but you can do a little bit to turn it into a game and kind of stress it’s very important that you do this,” Price told the television station.
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