Not that you needed another reason to wonder what is going on with TSA, but here is one: On Tuesday night, an 18-month-old girl, Riyanna, and her parents were asked to get off a plane in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after a Jet Blue employee said that the toddler’s name had showed up on a “no fly” list. The family was told to get off the Newark, NJ-bound flight and speak to representatives from TSA.
According to the New York Daily News, Riyanna’s mother, on asking why they had been asked to leave the plane, was told “Well it’s not you or your husband. Your daughter was flagged as a no fly.” Both the child’s parents are of Middle Eastern descent, says WPBF News. After being questioned by TSA officials, the family was informed they could reboard the flight but declined and left the airport.
Jet Blue and TSA are both issuing statements blaming each other about the incident. In its statement, Jet Blue said that it apologizes to the family “in this unfortunate circumstance” and said that it believed that TSA had flagged Riyanna’s boarding pass as on the “no fly” list; a ”computer glitch” was the reason that Riyanna was flagged.
For its part, TSA is saying in its own statement that “the airline had mistakenly indicated the child was on a government watch list,” according to the New York Daily News.
Lost in the airline’s and the agency’s spat is the cost of the incident on Riyanna and her parents, who describe the experience as humiliating. As Riyanna’s father said to WPBF News, “We were put on display like a circus act because my wife wears a hijab.” He also said he thought the family had been profiled because they are of Middle Eastern descent.
How many more “glitches” does TSA have to make before it starts to train its agents to use common sense and show some human sensitivity?
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