A London-bound flight from Israel was delayed and returned to the terminal due to an unusual security breach: a crying 19-month-old baby girl.
Ariella and Mark Aziz were getting ready to take flight and head back to their north London home. As their plane taxied on the runway of Ben Gurion Airport in Israel, their baby daughter Sarina became distraught.
The couple tried to restrain their daughter after being instructed by staff to put the child on their laps. Sarina continued to cry and that’s when the captain decided to stop the flight, call security and have the family removed from the plane.
“I want to emphasize that we wanted to, and were, complying with the crew and their instructions,” Mark told Daily Mail. “I was simply trying to restrain our daughter who had become unhappy after being moved from a child seat onto our laps.
“We had actually purchased a seat for her to sit in, and she was very happy in that and belted in correctly.
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“But the stewardess came up to us and said that their policy was for the child to be seated on a parent’s lap; we were happy to go along with this and were in no way argumentative.”
The upset father, who revealed his family will be seeking legal advice for the incident, said he was shocked at the way the cabin crew handled the situation. He said a steward marched over to him "very aggressively" as he tried to get his baby girl to stop crying.
“I was quite surprised at the manner at which he came over and spoke to me,” Mark added. “He was standing over me, shouting and it felt like he was trying to provoke me. I felt very threatened; he was saying ‘you’ve got to sort it,’ and that he would not help as it was not his problem.”
While the mother admitted that she struggled to control her crying daughter, she still can’t believe how aggressive the cabin staff was.
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“It was like a terrorist incident, I couldn’t believe it,” Ariella told Jewish News Online. “The next thing you know we’re all in squad cars heading back to Ben Gurion.”
Ben Wasserstrum, a fellow passenger, told Jewish News Online that the pilot said there had been a “security breach,” before returning the plane to the terminal. He admitted that Mark said "something rude" to a steward but added that "the family were unbelievably restrained given how the crew were acting," and that if it were him, he would have "punched the guy."
"Then the pilot said there's been a security breach and we have to go back," Wasserstrum continued. "The pilot even slammed his brakes on, throwing people through the aisles.
"We all wanted to get off the plane with the family. It was a disgrace, from start to finish."
The flight was already behind schedule and caused more delays.
A spokeswoman for Transavia airline said the company will not be compensating the Aziz family.
"The ill child was misbehaving and the family did not follow safety belt instructions, which is a priority for all passengers," the spokeswoman told Jewish News Online. "We cannot take passengers on a flight if they do not follow the rules."
Mark refuted the claim that his daughter was “ill” and said she only became sick after being moved from her seat.
“I was covered in sick after my daughter was made to move onto my lap, and we received no sympathy from the staff whatsoever,” he told the Daily Mail.