A Canadian WestJet flight was cancelled when a 19-month-old refused to wear a mask. Police were called to the scene.
WestJet, meanwhile, says the issue had not been with the infant, but with Safwaan Choudhry’s three-year-old. According to the BBC, the airline says the infant is below the age required to wear a mask, but not his 3-year-old.
Choudhry’s 3-year-old daughter was eating a snack before take-off. Flight attendants approached the parents requesting that both children wear a mask. He and his wife were both masked. He said he asked if his daughter could finish her snack, but the airline personnel said they had a “zero tolerance policy” and would not close the plane door without her wearing a mask. Choudry said the three-year-old, after some fussing, did then wear a mask. He added, “But my younger one had a very difficult time; she was basically hysterical.”
The girls’ father has accused WestJet of being aggressive. He said he was told that because his youngest daughter was not wearing a mask, and was too upset to wear a mask, the family would have to leave, or be arrested. Choudry and his wife eventually agreed to leave.The BBC reports that the flight from Calgary to Toronto was stopped, and all passengers were ordered to disembark.
WestJet denies that the three-year-old had put a mask on. A video, however, taken with Choudry’s phone after the police arrived, shows the child masked. An officer also later confirmed that when he arrived, the little girl was wearing a mask.
Choudhry says some passengers were irritated with his family, but that they received the overwhelming support of most people on the plane. They could be heard in a video heckling the police and air crew.
The BBC reports the police as saying, “The behaviour of the other passengers left the rest of the crew feeling unsafe”.
Umm Muhammed Umar