NEW YORK, May 11 (Reuters) - An 18-month-old girl and her parents were taken off a JetBlue Airways plane in Florida when the toddler’s name appeared on a no-fly security list in what the airline called a “computer glitch.”
A JetBlue spokeswoman said on Friday that the airline was investigating the May 8 incident at Fort Lauderdale airport and apologized to the New Jersey family of Middle Eastern descent.
“We believe this was a computer glitch,” JetBlue said in a statement. “Our crewmembers followed the appropriate protocols, and we apologize to the family involved in this unfortunate circumstance.”
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration was called to the boarding gate by the airline and, after a brief interview with the girl’s parents and confirmation through its vetting system, “determined the airline had mistakenly indicated the child was on a government watch list,” a TSA spokeswoman said.
TSA said the family was allowed back on the flight, but the parents told a local television station they felt humiliated and uncomfortable about flying home on the same plane to Newark.
“We were put on display like a circus act because my wife wears a hijab,” the toddler’s father told WPBF 25 News, ABC’s local affiliate in West Palm Beach. He added that he thought his family was profiled because they are of Middle Eastern descent.