Rabbi Sues JetBlue For Religious Discrimination Over Seat Swap Fiasco

Rabbi Sues JetBlue For Religious Discrimination Over Seat Swap Fiasco

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A Rabbi is suing JetBlue and is accusing the airline of “malicious and willful” religious and racial discrimination, after he and his wife were removed from a flight over a seat swap demand. I’m not sure what to make of this story

Rabbi refuses to sit next to women, gets removed from flight

This incident happened on December 31, 2023, and involves JetBlue flight 2050 from New York (JFK) to Palm Springs (PSP). A rabbi named Abraham Lunger was traveling with his wife, but they didn’t have seats assigned together, as he was in 18A, while she was in 21B. Per the complaint, he was “unable to sit next to a woman unless she is a blood relative or his wife,” and since he had no blood relative onboard, that meant he could only sit next to his wife.

So when the rabbi arrived at the gate, he asked the gate agent about about being reseated, but was informed there were no empty seats. Instead, the gate agent told him that he could ask onboard about having his seat changed.

He proceeded onboard and to his seat, but then found that he was seated next to a female. So at that point he “quietly got up from his seat and stood in the aisle in order to adhere to his religious beliefs and not sit next to a female passenger.”

The plaintiff claims that before he even had the chance to ask someone to switch seats with him, the flight attendant yelled at him to go back to his seat. He informed her of his religious beliefs, but she “refused to accept that explanation and attempted to prevent Mr Lunger from switching seats with another passenger who had agreed to switch seats.”

The passenger insists he didn’t become loud or use force, and didn’t intimidate other passengers. Nonetheless, the pilot was called, and “falsely told the plaintiffs that they could not change seats because it was a violation and it would cause a weight imbalance.”

When they refused to comply with those instructions, the pilot reportedly said “sorry, you have to get off the plane, the crew members don’t feel safe flying with you,” and that “the flight will not leave with you on the plane.” They refused to deplane, at which point the pilot said that if they don’t deplane, then everyone else will have to deplane, and they’ll be the only ones left onboard. That’s the point at which they got off.

The case alleges a civil rights violation, discrimination, and harassment. As a lawyer representing the couple explains:

“Everyone deserves to travel safely without fear of prejudice. Our clients boarded a plane expecting nothing more than to be taken home safely to their families. Instead, they were met with discrimination that scarred their experience because of their identity as Jews.”

“Our clients are seeking justice in the courtroom and the reaffirmation that every individual, regardless of their religious beliefs, is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.”

A JetBlue passenger refused to sit next to a woman

My take on this JetBlue lawsuit

Obviously this is a sensitive topic, and I want to approach this respectfully (and I’d ask others to do the same). It’s worth noting that this is far from the first time we’ve seen a gender-based religious seat swap issue, as over the years we’ve seen a lot of stories like this involving flights to and from Israel.

First of all, I feel strongly that those who require this special accommodation due to their religious beliefs should do everything in their power to lock in seating that works for them. The rabbi was traveling with his wife, and I can’t help but wonder if there really weren’t two seats available together then they booked, or if they just didn’t want to pay for preferred seating. The phrase “a lack of planning on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on my part” comes to mind.

As far as the onboard incident goes, getting up from your seat and standing in the aisle during boarding simply isn’t practical — it’s inconsiderate of other passengers, and could delay a flight. Of course if someone is standing in the aisle during boarding, a flight attendant is immediately going to tell them to sit down.

Now, I suspect what happened is that the flight attendant was irritated by his refusal to follow her instructions, and then doubled down, and things spiraled from there:

  • Passengers have to follow crew member instructions; from an operational standpoint, a crew member telling a passenger that they have to be seated is a reasonable request, despite it being at odds with his religious beliefs
  • I suspect that once the flight attendant decided the man wouldn’t follow her instructions, she decided she didn’t feel comfortable with him onboard anymore, and crews have a lot of leverage in deciding when they feel uncomfortable with passengers (“if he won’t follow my instructions on the ground, what happens if he doesn’t follow my instructions in the air?”)
  • Claiming that this had anything to do with weight and balance is unequivocally false; airlines use average weights for passengers, so two men switching seats has no impact on the weight and balance of a jet of this size

Based on the plaintiff’s version of events, it definitely sounds like the JetBlue crew could have done more to deescalate the situation. However, I find that to be the case with a majority of crews at US airlines.

Flight attendants are often bad at deescalating situations

Bottom line

A rabbi is suing JetBlue, claiming religious discrimination. When he found out he was seated next to a woman other than his wife, he stood in the aisle, and the flight attendant told him he needed to sit down immediately. Even when he found someone willing to switch seats with him, the crew refused. It sounds like the crew didn’t do a good job deescalating the situation here, but then again, that’s hardly a first for a US airline.

What do you make of this JetBlue incident?

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  1. John Joseph Guest

    He had to have seen the seat map before buying the tickets. He could have looked or a different flight or was he looking for a problem to sue over.

  2. NSL14 Guest

    I am a Jew and there is no basis in halacha for this prohibition that I've ever seen. It seems that it's become a custom among some ulta-orthodox. I've been on El Al flights where this has become a serious problem. And it's women they typically seek to force to move. They've tried to get my wife to move so that for us to sit together, because of the UO next to me we'd have...

    I am a Jew and there is no basis in halacha for this prohibition that I've ever seen. It seems that it's become a custom among some ulta-orthodox. I've been on El Al flights where this has become a serious problem. And it's women they typically seek to force to move. They've tried to get my wife to move so that for us to sit together, because of the UO next to me we'd have to move to inferior seats. We refused. They refused to sit and 40 minutes later they finally got others to move to inferior seats. It was outrageous and they should have been thrown off the plane.

    In this case, if it was true that the guy found someone to swap, then the crew went too far. That said this is a problem that occurs far too often and there must be training to handle it swiftly for flight crew as the UO community is going to continue to do this.

  3. Michelle Guest

    His plan was completely reasonable to me. I can’t imagine why anyone would pay e tra to buy seats over this. He had THREE reasonable plans to be seated appropriately for his religious beliefs. 1)ask staff to accommodate him. This didn’t work out so go to next plan 2) oddsare 50/50 he would be seated next to a man. So this didn’t happen so big deal… extremely reasonable plan 3) have faith in humanity and...

    His plan was completely reasonable to me. I can’t imagine why anyone would pay e tra to buy seats over this. He had THREE reasonable plans to be seated appropriately for his religious beliefs. 1)ask staff to accommodate him. This didn’t work out so go to next plan 2) oddsare 50/50 he would be seated next to a man. So this didn’t happen so big deal… extremely reasonable plan 3) have faith in humanity and someone will switch. I can’t imagine why people think he should have to spend a dime never mind a considerable sum of money based on a concern plans 1,2 and 3 would fail. The only thing that failed here was staff onboard JetBlue - totally unacceptable behavior and lawsuit to me is valid.

  4. MetsNomad Guest

    I don't get it. Are we men some sort of uncontrollable horndogs incapable of not keeping our hands to ourselves should we be in close proximity to those we may be attracted to? We CAN be taught to treat people with respect, after all. It's the rabbi's problem.

    1. MetsNomad Guest

      *Incapable of keeping our hands to ourselves. Couldn't edit after I saw the error.

  5. Jim Guest

    The guy's too cheap to pay for a seat, then throws a fit, hoping the discrimination card will pay out.

    Good on JB for having a backbone.

  6. Eskimo Guest

    I will be registering and worshipping the "Church of Flyertology"
    My religion prohibits me from sitting further than the 3rd row of any aircraft. I demand every airline to not discriminate my beliefs and "accommodate" my religious requirements on my basic economy ticket.

    By they/xe/per holiness of Flyertology the M Cas Maximilian DCCXXXVII

  7. DS Guest

    Why couldn't the staff on the ground put him with his wife? Maybe too late once he is at the gate, but Ive had Qantas in Australia change seats around even on full flights so my family can be seated together, both in economy and business, just buy asking at the check in desks. It's barely even an inconvenience for the other travellers, especially in economy where most people don't really care unless they have...

    Why couldn't the staff on the ground put him with his wife? Maybe too late once he is at the gate, but Ive had Qantas in Australia change seats around even on full flights so my family can be seated together, both in economy and business, just buy asking at the check in desks. It's barely even an inconvenience for the other travellers, especially in economy where most people don't really care unless they have an extra legroom seat or something (and they wouldn't be the ones getting moved). Though usually you don't even have to do that, if you've not selected a seat most of the time you'll automatically be seated together. Seems like poor service that they couldn't find a way to seat them together before boarding.

    1. Watson Diamond

      The flight was sold out. They're not going to force involuntary seat changes on people just so two ADULTS can sit together lmao.

      And you should really pay for your seat assignments in advance. Relying on the airline to move other people so your family can sit together is a total dick move.

  8. Bob Guest

    I honestly can't fault the rabbi. 1. His seat might have been switched by jb. Had happened to me before, in fact in an upcoming flight where I noticed my seat was no longer the one I selected. Not once, but happened twice on the same flight, each time after they announced a 15min flight time change. 2. He tried to get it sorted out at the gate and the gate agent decided to punt...

    I honestly can't fault the rabbi. 1. His seat might have been switched by jb. Had happened to me before, in fact in an upcoming flight where I noticed my seat was no longer the one I selected. Not once, but happened twice on the same flight, each time after they announced a 15min flight time change. 2. He tried to get it sorted out at the gate and the gate agent decided to punt the problem. Obviously, the fa wasn't involved in the gate conversation so would assume the rabbi is being a pain. 3. Someone was willing to switch seats so why the FA power play and then double down on the absurd weight balance. Not even going to get into how ridiculous that is on a mostly full flight. Now I personally think most religious practice is stupid and causes more trouble than good but in this case it could have all gone smoothly.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      It's the basic condescending game of religion power trip vs airline employee power trip.

    2. Watson Diamond

      If his seat were switched by B6, I guarantee we'd have heard about it.

  9. Fed UP Guest

    More insanity, with these continual demands of people for "accommodation".

    Not our problem, not JetBlues problem. he can walk from NYC to Palm Springs. This continued downward death spiral of accusations all of these ridiculous requirements needs to stop. If you can't sit next to another human being, then stay home! If he said, I can't sit next to a black person, can you imagine? Then there are those that expect their nutty dietary restrictions...

    More insanity, with these continual demands of people for "accommodation".

    Not our problem, not JetBlues problem. he can walk from NYC to Palm Springs. This continued downward death spiral of accusations all of these ridiculous requirements needs to stop. If you can't sit next to another human being, then stay home! If he said, I can't sit next to a black person, can you imagine? Then there are those that expect their nutty dietary restrictions to be accommodated by the airlines.

    Next time buddy, buy all three seats in economy (These JetBlue Palm Springs flights are all economy), then problem solved. Sick of this.

    1. Bob Guest

      But I don't see it as entitlement this time. It wasn't like the rabbi made a commotion and went all do you know who I am. It's that initial spark where the fa barked at him because she was going to be fa from hell that day. There was probably no explaining to her at that point since she had decided to be queen of the cabin. The rabbi probably should have said something to...

      But I don't see it as entitlement this time. It wasn't like the rabbi made a commotion and went all do you know who I am. It's that initial spark where the fa barked at him because she was going to be fa from hell that day. There was probably no explaining to her at that point since she had decided to be queen of the cabin. The rabbi probably should have said something to a fa first, ask for volunteers. IF he couldn't get a seat then and made a fuss then yes I agree with you.

  10. Yossi Guest

    For all the readers, the man is not a Rabbi...
    A legitimate Rabbi would never conduct themselves in such a manner.
    Seems he's not even a religious Jew.
    Judaism teaches to have respect for fellow human beings.
    What this man did was profoundly disrespectful, tantamount to theft.
    All the frequent flyers reading this article understand exactly what this man did.
    Jetblue should backlist him and countersue for all legal expenses.

  11. Jake Guest

    He found someone who was willing to switch .
    JB is totally nasty for not allowing the switch.
    His motivation for switching is no one's G D business.
    Another example of psychopathic airline crews on the rampage.

    1. LAXLonghorn New Member

      If a pax had volunteered to move, then it's on the FA. However, to say it's no one's G D business is not legit, as such requests/demands are intrusive that requires others to assume responsibility for the other paxs personal beliefs...commercial flying is shared space...plain and simple.

  12. BradStPete Diamond

    As has been said... jetBlue is a form of public transport, not as employer. This is NOT an ADA issue. The Rabbi purchased to seats to travel between JFK and PSP...point A to Point B. For WHATEVER reason, he did not chose two seats together AND given the seating in main cabin is 3-3... what if the person seated next to him was female ? We have to function in a world with people who...

    As has been said... jetBlue is a form of public transport, not as employer. This is NOT an ADA issue. The Rabbi purchased to seats to travel between JFK and PSP...point A to Point B. For WHATEVER reason, he did not chose two seats together AND given the seating in main cabin is 3-3... what if the person seated next to him was female ? We have to function in a world with people who believe differently and practice life in general different from what we may wish. Too Bad ! Jeez. Rabbi; too bad, so sad. Get Over it !

  13. Elisa Guest

    At the gate, he received confirmation that a seat exchange on the plane was possible, and he intended to do just that. Is there an issue with that?

    He managed to coordinate a seat swap with another passenger who was agreeable to the exchange. Is there anything amiss?

    The "could have, should have" on booking the ticket is irrelevant. Ultimately, he was escorted off the aircraft without a justifiable cause, and his appearance, showing him...

    At the gate, he received confirmation that a seat exchange on the plane was possible, and he intended to do just that. Is there an issue with that?

    He managed to coordinate a seat swap with another passenger who was agreeable to the exchange. Is there anything amiss?

    The "could have, should have" on booking the ticket is irrelevant. Ultimately, he was escorted off the aircraft without a justifiable cause, and his appearance, showing him being associated with the Jewish faith, could have been the sole basis for the way he was treated.

  14. Nb Guest

    So not wanting to seat next to a woman is legal? Why? What’s next: don’t wanna sit next to a latino? An African? A gay? Yeah yeah yeah always the stupid religion excuses.

  15. Joshua K. Guest

    If the rabbi had booked two seats together, a window and a middle seat, he wouldn't have had this problem. Either the third person in the aisle seat would have been a woman, in which case the rabbi's wife would have sat in the middle next to her and the rabbi would have sat by the window. Or the third person in the aisle seat would have been a man, in which case the rabbi...

    If the rabbi had booked two seats together, a window and a middle seat, he wouldn't have had this problem. Either the third person in the aisle seat would have been a woman, in which case the rabbi's wife would have sat in the middle next to her and the rabbi would have sat by the window. Or the third person in the aisle seat would have been a man, in which case the rabbi would have sat in the middle next to him and his wife would have sat by the window. Either way, though, this was his problem that he could have avoided in advance.

    1. ken Guest

      Plot twist, what if the person is non-binary?

  16. Ricardo Guest

    Sounds like JB should sue him for a waste of resources.
    He was too cheap to pay for a seat, so he decided to use religion against a different sex to get his way, to not pay for a seat.

  17. Matt Guest

    Not anyone else’s problem. Get it sorted before you board (obviously can’t tell if it’s another female but to be seated together) and if you can’t you should change flights.

    1. Bob Guest

      Isn't that what he attempted to do art the gate?

  18. 9volt Gold

    Lots of people commenting about how he should have planned better, or paid extra for preferred seating.

    Well, before we all jump to conclusions, I'll give this rabbi the benefit of the doubt and assume he booked his flight late and there were no remaining seat pairs left. Perhaps due to a family emergency, unforeseen circumstance, or maybe he was bumped off from a previous flight due to a delay/cancellation and this flight was...

    Lots of people commenting about how he should have planned better, or paid extra for preferred seating.

    Well, before we all jump to conclusions, I'll give this rabbi the benefit of the doubt and assume he booked his flight late and there were no remaining seat pairs left. Perhaps due to a family emergency, unforeseen circumstance, or maybe he was bumped off from a previous flight due to a delay/cancellation and this flight was all that was left.

    My point is that there are just some things that can't always be planned for. I'm sure many of us have had to take last minute flights and be stuck in a middle seat because that's all that was left.

    1. ImmortalSynn Guest

      So what? In every such case, there is no onus on anyone else to comport to his superstitions.

      So yes, plan better, as in "plan to not go," if your mumbo-jumbo means more to you than living in 2024 civilization.

    2. Moe Guest

      Yes, but another pax was willing to switch and the F.A. jumped in and said no, based on balance issue. The action and words of the JB employee make JB liable.

    3. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      You don't understand liability if you think that.

    4. Moe Guest

      True, I am not trained in law. I do know that the airline is likely responsible if its employee did wrong or spoke wrong. If this gets to any type of hearing and the nonsense of switching seats causing balance issues comes up, I would bet against JB. By the way, there are rare occasions where balance becomes an issue, almost never affecting seat switches between two adults.

    5. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      You just doubled-down on the same erroneous misunderstanding of how the law works that you'd written previously.....

    6. Fed UP Guest

      excuses, excuses... If he booked "late". too bad. then wait to fly and book 3 seats if you dont want to sit next to someone. Separation of church and state.. stay in Israel and he wont have this problem... same with any of these religious nuts of any religion. Too bad, stay home and you wont have any problems with the outside world.

    7. rpearson Diamond

      Maybe he didn't book late. More likely jb changed equipment and this resulted in him being separated into a seat he couldn't use. If another passenger offered to switch seats with him, and the crew refused to allow it, call a good lawyer!!

  19. Samo Guest

    As is common in the US, the crew handled this disastrously, increasing the tension rather than calming it down as is their job. I'm sure they could find a suitable seat on the plane for him, switching with someone else, and the problem would be solved. But at the same time I have no sympathy with the passenger. This is public transport, there are people around you and there's no reason to conform to your...

    As is common in the US, the crew handled this disastrously, increasing the tension rather than calming it down as is their job. I'm sure they could find a suitable seat on the plane for him, switching with someone else, and the problem would be solved. But at the same time I have no sympathy with the passenger. This is public transport, there are people around you and there's no reason to conform to your misogyny, even if you call it a religion. If you want to be in control of who sits next to you, hire a private jet.

    1. snic Diamond

      "As is common in reports by travel bloggers (because reporting "Jet Blue flight 503 was perfectly uneventful yesterday wouldn't exactly attract many readers)..."

      Fixed that for ya.

    2. Ree Guest

      I've not been on a JB flight. Last year myself and a fellow passenger were made to wait in the rear of a (competing carrier's) plane until boarding was finalized and an overhead bin for our carry-on luggage could be located. When I returned to my ASSIGNED seat someone was sitting in it!
      Just saying - “Fly the friendly skies" is a thing of the past. IF ever it did actually exist.

  20. Paul Guest

    While I’m all for if being better as a human race and working to accept and accommodate beliefs and preferences, the reality is that we all have to have self-agency and common sense.

    Being 6’3”, I always choose (and pay) for an emergency row seat on any flight over 3 hours. If they’re all full, I choose another flight; I do not expect to leverage my height to get the seating I need after I’ve...

    While I’m all for if being better as a human race and working to accept and accommodate beliefs and preferences, the reality is that we all have to have self-agency and common sense.

    Being 6’3”, I always choose (and pay) for an emergency row seat on any flight over 3 hours. If they’re all full, I choose another flight; I do not expect to leverage my height to get the seating I need after I’ve bought my ticket and selected my seats.

    Valid religious belief or not, this couple surely had options; pay for seat selection together - on this flight or another flight/airline. Most Flight Attendants do not get paid when the doors are still open so why should we expect them to have any sympathy for anything that delays the time to shutting the door?

    Perhaps, a future compromise would have been to make an announcement asking for volunteers to swap seats before boarding - especially people sitting around either of the booked seats. But this would be the airline going an extra mile; you booked your tickets, you saw your seat assignments and chose to do nothing to proactively avoid this.

    1. Moe Guest

      Plans do not always work. Decades ago I booked exit rows on Swissair especially useful after knee surgery. When I arrived at the boarding gate I was told that I was flagged as injured (from my connecting flight) and could not be seated in an exit row. I boarded to a terrible seat and noticed my original seat was occupied by a passenger in a cast foot to hip!

  21. FRED Guest

    An airline is a mass transport business. Staff are usually happy, in Europe, to do their best to accommodate request, but if not possible so be it. By buying a ticket and have the ability to pre-book seats, the traveller knows the basic rules. Jetblue is neither a Jewish nor any religion airline. It only guaranties to take customers from A to B.
    I was a cabin manager for a British airline. We used...

    An airline is a mass transport business. Staff are usually happy, in Europe, to do their best to accommodate request, but if not possible so be it. By buying a ticket and have the ability to pre-book seats, the traveller knows the basic rules. Jetblue is neither a Jewish nor any religion airline. It only guaranties to take customers from A to B.
    I was a cabin manager for a British airline. We used to go to Tel Aviv very regularly. 99% of our customers were Jewish. And we had exactly the same problem with several men standing in the aisle. People from the same religion were unwilling to help. I more than once reminded people they were of the same obedience and ask them for help. I used to obtain a change of seat but not without difficulty.

  22. grichard Guest

    Could somebody with the relevant knowledge comment on whether the airline had an obligation here? I know that public businesses can't *discriminate* based on customers' religion. And I know that *employers* must make reasonable accommodations. But I don't know whether a public carrier like an airline is obliged to make any religious accommodations for its customers.

    1. Mattew225 Member

      They made a reasonable attempt, so no.

    2. Moe Guest

      Reasonable attempt? A passenger was willing to switch but the F.A. demanded the passengers be taken off. Please do explain "reasonable attempt".

    3. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Please do explain "reasonable attempt".

      It's "reasonable [attempt at] accommodation," and it grants a window as wide as the world, for all manner of accommodative courses of action that we (this includes: you) don't yet know if the airline offered or not; but is not in any way limited to switching passengers, nor does it have to include such.

      If this person contends that their attempt at accommodation was not reasonable, then the...

      Please do explain "reasonable attempt".

      It's "reasonable [attempt at] accommodation," and it grants a window as wide as the world, for all manner of accommodative courses of action that we (this includes: you) don't yet know if the airline offered or not; but is not in any way limited to switching passengers, nor does it have to include such.

      If this person contends that their attempt at accommodation was not reasonable, then the legal burden shifts to him, to prove that the reasons the company proffers for doing so, are pretext.

      So if he wants to pay to subpoena their load records, ground crew, and flight crew, only to likely lose-- then have at it. But it would've been far less expensive in the long run, to just reserve a window seat, then have his wife sit next to him.....

  23. NSS Guest

    I have some very specific seating needs and wants, and I know it's in my head but if a seat I want isn't open, I book a different flight.

    I am visually impaired and like to be in an aisle seat so I don't trip over people and cords and under-the-seat baggage if I need to use the restroom. Planes are often very dark, even in the daylight, so aisle it is for me....

    I have some very specific seating needs and wants, and I know it's in my head but if a seat I want isn't open, I book a different flight.

    I am visually impaired and like to be in an aisle seat so I don't trip over people and cords and under-the-seat baggage if I need to use the restroom. Planes are often very dark, even in the daylight, so aisle it is for me. When people ask if I am willing to switch, I'm not. Sorry but it's not my job to let you sit next to your wife. I chose this seat - and maybe paid extra - for a reason.

    If you can't sit next to a woman - for whatever reason - book another flight. Hoping someone else will give up their seat is not a winning strategy.

  24. Evan Guest

    This altercation is part of a bigger problem..."religious belief" is fast becoming the way to discriminate / not do something with everyone else having to accommodate you. Don't want a vaccine? Religious belief. Don't want to serve a gay couple? Religious belief.

    Religious belief does not relieve you of the responsibility to do your part. Using public transportation and can't sit next to an unrelated female? Then reserve seats.

    I'm not necessarily going to fault...

    This altercation is part of a bigger problem..."religious belief" is fast becoming the way to discriminate / not do something with everyone else having to accommodate you. Don't want a vaccine? Religious belief. Don't want to serve a gay couple? Religious belief.

    Religious belief does not relieve you of the responsibility to do your part. Using public transportation and can't sit next to an unrelated female? Then reserve seats.

    I'm not necessarily going to fault the crew on this one. Boarding is one of the most hectic parts of flying for both passengers and crew, so for him to disrupt the boarding process...that's a no in my book. Also, when I see a passenger say they didn't raise his/her voice or be forceful and it was all the crew's fault...not buying it. It takes two to tango. As a frequent flier, I have yet to see a crew member "start" something. Usually, I find they are extra patient given the crap they have to deal with.

    1. BradStPete Diamond

      Bless you. As a gay man, I couldnt agree more with everything you have said. As a former Flight Attendant I can assure everyone that we don't show up at work so see who we can "mess" with. Quite the contrary.

  25. Joe Guest

    The orthodox pay all the time in exchange for society accommodating their specific needs. Paying for specific airplane seats is no different. They pay extra for things like kosher food, using a mikvah, purchasing materials and wearing garments manufactured to certain specifications and made by certain people etc...

    1. D3kingg Guest

      They have their own laws , schools , hospitals , restaurants, ambulances , and police. Maybe it’s time they get their own airline. LAX-JFK-TLV 1X weekly. PBI seasonal.

    2. Michael Guest

      Would you want to work as cabin crew on such an airline?

      Like someone else said, if he insists on living his life according to some ancient mythology, he can ride his jackass anywhere he'd like to go.

    3. Moe Guest

      As you have been told before, the ambulances are a loose network of VAC's, stress the word volunteer. This is a community that sets up volunteer ambulances in communities where the average response time likely leads to poor outcomes. There are many VAC corps throughout America and I do not believe I have ever seen criticism of such by anybody but you.
      The same applies to their "police". They do not have police, they...

      As you have been told before, the ambulances are a loose network of VAC's, stress the word volunteer. This is a community that sets up volunteer ambulances in communities where the average response time likely leads to poor outcomes. There are many VAC corps throughout America and I do not believe I have ever seen criticism of such by anybody but you.
      The same applies to their "police". They do not have police, they do have volunteer organizations that drive through their neighborhoods and discourage criminals from starting issues. They also report to local police when they witness criminal acts taking place. They do not have their own police, however.

      They do have a book of laws but these do not replace law in the USA, it is more like laws pertaining to religious practice and the Sabbath. There is actually a principle of Jewish law that the law of the local Government is the law.
      I am totally lost when you write they have their own Hospitals. Please do name some. They do have many Hospitals named after Jewish donors.

  26. STEFFL Diamond

    At least in Europe, airlines DO train staff (especially flight Crew) on religious passengers, beginning on there diets, needs and special "strong" believes. Same with mothers travelling with babies, to change diapers in the bathroom, not the seat. . . . .
    So, no matter how "cheap" or not this passenger was at time of booking, the Crew sure could have done a MUCH more PRO job, taking that Guy to the Galley and...

    At least in Europe, airlines DO train staff (especially flight Crew) on religious passengers, beginning on there diets, needs and special "strong" believes. Same with mothers travelling with babies, to change diapers in the bathroom, not the seat. . . . .
    So, no matter how "cheap" or not this passenger was at time of booking, the Crew sure could have done a MUCH more PRO job, taking that Guy to the Galley and let him wait there, till boarding was done and also select a passenger right then, having the same seat (isle, middle...) as he does, to assist on the seat swap, i guess SERVICE as a base at US airlines, just just NOT a common thing anymore these days?
    Force seems to be the daily thing now, even on the ground, i'd say, this FA needs to be called in for a new base training in doing her job RIGHT!
    What was it nice, when there were US Airlines, that even had a slogan "What we serve is you".
    Long gone. :-(
    Aggression in Cabin Crew seems to be the norm nowadays, maybe the entire training nedds to chante again at some airlines too?

    1. read Guest

      Do you think by chance that we’re only getting one side of the story and not privy to the FA’s side. These Jewish people are very overbearing with their religious beliefs and always expect people to bend over backwards to accommodate them. For people who are typically affluent they sure are penny pinchers.

    2. Moe Guest

      When the terminology becomes "these x people are" it becomes a bias issue. Practice saying that using a minority other than Jews, see how it works.

    3. LK Guest

      got enough stereotypes in your 3 lines here?

    4. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      So, no matter how "cheap" or not this passenger was at time of booking, the Crew sure could have done a MUCH more PRO job

      Why? What reason should they have?

      Far as I'm (and apparently, most others here are) concerned, we need to see more crews handling it this way, not less.

      Maybe then, people will get the message: your beliefs, don't control/inconvenience others, in a public setting.

  27. Sam Rao Guest

    Religious aholes are the Bane is society. Such primitive people have no business flying on airplanes or using any modern inventions while following nonsense written by primitive men

    1. ImmortalSynn Guest

      That's what I'm screaming: you want to act like it's still 1649BC, then live like it. Take a donkey from the northeast to the west coast, and stop plaguing normal people with your nonsensical superstitions.

  28. D3kingg Guest

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say there are two sides to the story. The rabbi sure must have been a sweetheart to all employees and passengers he accounted that day. Unfortunate the rabbi and his wife could not sit together. It is important to always follow instructions of crew members.

    A half hours day work for the jet blue legal team at most.

    1. DCAWABN Guest

      This should be laughed out of court and, out of spite, I'd love for the court or B6 to pursue penalties for this being a frivolous lawsuit. There are MANY ways in which the rabbi and his wife could have been accommodated. We don't know all the facts, but it does not appear that he was denied a previously-assigned seat (that he paid for) and made to sit somewhere that conflicted with his religious practices....

      This should be laughed out of court and, out of spite, I'd love for the court or B6 to pursue penalties for this being a frivolous lawsuit. There are MANY ways in which the rabbi and his wife could have been accommodated. We don't know all the facts, but it does not appear that he was denied a previously-assigned seat (that he paid for) and made to sit somewhere that conflicted with his religious practices. The want of the few should not outweigh the need of the many. Especially in such trivial instances such as this.

  29. Chris W Guest

    I wonder where he stood on wearing face masks on a plane during the pandemic...

  30. Win Whitmire Guest

    The author is exactly right. When flying an airline that has open seating...you take your chances. It's not the airline's fault if you can't sit with a specific person. Same thing applies when one is allowed to choose one's seat, for a price, and the passenger chooses not to pay the price. Again, it's not the airline's fault. Only the people onboard/involved know the cabin crew's demeanor or words but the crew's word is law....

    The author is exactly right. When flying an airline that has open seating...you take your chances. It's not the airline's fault if you can't sit with a specific person. Same thing applies when one is allowed to choose one's seat, for a price, and the passenger chooses not to pay the price. Again, it's not the airline's fault. Only the people onboard/involved know the cabin crew's demeanor or words but the crew's word is law. Right or wrong, it can be determined later but onboard, when one is told to '"sit down" it's not a suggestion! Hopefully JetBlue will be exonerated. Then, the airline should clean out the rabbi's wallet with a countersuit.

  31. Ross Guest

    But it's OK for his wife to sit beside a man? Or maybe she was in a row with all women. If someone is in an aisle seat, does it matter who is on the other side of the aisle? When the service cart arrives, is the female flight attendant allowed to stand next to him if he is on the aisle? And will Mike Pence appear as a character witness?

  32. JustinDev Member

    I simply do not understand such religious prohibitions. Why the gods these people serve should be so discriminatory, speaks wonders.

    As some have said though, if a pax wanted to change seats with him, that should have been allowed.

    1. AS Guest

      It has nothing with being discriminatory. There are precautions in every religion. Just like an unrelated man and woman should not be alone in a room. People may laugh at this but it would have saved many people who were falsely accused of sexual assault if this was the norm for people.
      You have a married man sitting beside an attractive female on a flight and they start speaking and one thing leads to...

      It has nothing with being discriminatory. There are precautions in every religion. Just like an unrelated man and woman should not be alone in a room. People may laugh at this but it would have saved many people who were falsely accused of sexual assault if this was the norm for people.
      You have a married man sitting beside an attractive female on a flight and they start speaking and one thing leads to the next and after the flight they share numbers and meet up etc etc and his marriage falls apart simply because he gave in to his impulse.
      There are usually deep reasoning behind religious laws but unfortunately most people just take a childish superficial view.

    2. VladG Gold

      @AS

      Your logic is the equivalent of saying that we should never drive for fear of being involved in a traffic accident. After all, if everyone just stayed at home, imagine how many lives would be saved.

    3. snic Diamond

      We should also prohibit men from sitting next to men. Because, you know, some men are gay and are even married, and such a man sitting next to an attractive man might end up ruining his relationship.

      And of course, we should prohibit women from sitting next to women for exactly the same reason.

      In fact, we should all just stay home and contemplate our extremely un-childish and very deep view of the world, which,...

      We should also prohibit men from sitting next to men. Because, you know, some men are gay and are even married, and such a man sitting next to an attractive man might end up ruining his relationship.

      And of course, we should prohibit women from sitting next to women for exactly the same reason.

      In fact, we should all just stay home and contemplate our extremely un-childish and very deep view of the world, which, taken to its logical extreme, should prevent any of us from ever having any contact with anyone.

    4. Moe Guest

      Their G-ds are not discriminatory. These rules are eliminate touching the opposite sex outside of marriage. If anything it might indicate more respect rather than discriminatory intent. Many a young man has been accused (sometimes falsely) of unwanted touching.

  33. Alan Guest

    If 2 passengers are willing to swap seats, why did the FA go on power trip?

    1. snic Diamond

      That is the far more important and interesting question that whether Jet Blue violated someone's religious rights.

    2. DCAWABN Guest

      *I* suspect the rabbi is not being remotely forthright about what transpired. This is based on numerous interactions I've had and witnessed at JFK. I've seen the anti-semitism card trotted out on 4 occasions in the recent past (2-ish years or so) for things as small as boarding early, not hearing the boarding announcement but accusing the gate agent of not making any announcements at all. Of course, this is a gross generalization and I...

      *I* suspect the rabbi is not being remotely forthright about what transpired. This is based on numerous interactions I've had and witnessed at JFK. I've seen the anti-semitism card trotted out on 4 occasions in the recent past (2-ish years or so) for things as small as boarding early, not hearing the boarding announcement but accusing the gate agent of not making any announcements at all. Of course, this is a gross generalization and I admit that, but much like most assholes - regardless of gender, political affiliation, religion, etc - after-the-fact they'll always tell about how they were absolutely calm and peaceful and respectful.

    3. Moe Guest

      Try using your post describing any other minority and see how that works out for you. You also win special commendation for your 8 letter words, so classy.

  34. ChrisW Guest

    Don’t expect the 2024 world to contort itself to accommodate your belief in Iron Age fairy tales.

  35. George Romey Guest

    Then he should have purchased 2 seats together. Don't expect an entire plane full of people to yield to a total whacky belief in the year 2024.

    1. exc Guest

      But then it would be paid exercise, not free exercise of religion

  36. Brian L. Guest

    As a Jew, this rabbi is nothing more than a bigot.

  37. T A Guest

    Can we stop respecting misogyny in religion? If this man's sincere belief was that he can't sit next to a person of colour, we would be outraged. Why are we not outraged about his sincere belief that he cannot sit next to a woman?

    1. chelay Guest

      not quite. refusing to sit next to a person of color would make a person a racist. but not to sit next to a person of opposite sex hardly makes you exist especially if the person refusing is actually married to a person of the opposite sex. it does make the person aware of their sexuality in their daily life, and recognizing that.

    2. Win Whitmire Guest

      Not racist...bigot. Get the definition correct.

  38. Domenico Guest

    This man has no case. The airline has no obligation to accommodate his religious preferences. That responsibility lies with him. He could have booked seating in advance if this is so important to him. And he was removed from the flight by the pilot who has absolute discretion on this matter. I’m sure this could have been handled better by the crew, but not everything is a lawsuit. Suck it up, move on, and plan better next time.

  39. DT Diamond

    Orthodox Jew here.
    1. There is no halachic prohibition against sitting next to an unrelated woman. Period. This has become a mark of “piety” in recent decades in some ultra-Orthodox circles but has no basis in halacha (Jewish law).
    2. If he cared that much he should have paid for seat selection next to his wife.
    3. The airline way overreacted, as another passenger WAS willing to switch with him.

    1. Julia Guest

      "3. The airline way overreacted, as another passenger WAS willing to switch with him."

      Yeah, that's probably the basis for his case.

    2. snic Diamond

      Yes, that's the basis of his case, but it's nonsense. The airline handled the situation poorly (if the facts as presented are correct), and the FA and pilot should not have let it get to the point of kicking someone off the plane. But there is zero evidence of religious discrimination. There is no reason to believe that the FA and pilot wouldn't have acted exactly the same way if *anyone* had stood in the...

      Yes, that's the basis of his case, but it's nonsense. The airline handled the situation poorly (if the facts as presented are correct), and the FA and pilot should not have let it get to the point of kicking someone off the plane. But there is zero evidence of religious discrimination. There is no reason to believe that the FA and pilot wouldn't have acted exactly the same way if *anyone* had stood in the aisle during boarding and insisted on sitting next to their spouse.

    3. NedsKid Diamond

      And didn't Israel's government rule to the effect of this isn't a thing they'll tolerate on El Al?

      I've had to go on aircraft and deal with situations like this on flights between south Florida and NYC. Usually the attitude of the passenger has something to do with it - approaching the sit
      UATION AS

    4. NedsKid Diamond

      (before the cat stepped on the keyboard)
      approaching the situation as demanding or a flat out "I will not sit there no matter what you say." Not the right approach.

      And I'm sure the airline can say that they would have handled any such situation the same way regardless of religion of the passenger. I mean, I've used as a defense (and won) in court by arguing that my agents weren't trying to mis-direct a customer's bag out of malice.. they're just incompetent.

    5. flying100 Member

      I don't know if you're Jewish or not, and especially if you're an Orthodox Jew. But many people on OMAAT will know from my previous comments that I am an Orthodox Jew.

      The way you talk about fellow Jews is disgusting.

  40. ClownDancer Guest

    This guy is not very smart. He wants the world to revolve around him. He should not use public transportation if he is going to act that way.

  41. Bob Jones Guest

    He should have booked next to his wife or been willing to adjust his practices while traveling. There’s no discussion there, he knew his seat assignment head of time and the airline is under no obligation to accommodate him at the gate.

    For this to be a legal case, the flight attendant had to deny him an allowable seat change *because of his religion*, which appears to be a tall tale in his fabricated story of the event.

    1. vlcnc Guest

      He was basically too cheap to pay for a seat assignment which is what it comes down to.

  42. frrp Diamond

    Why should an airline be forced to follow idiotic religious 'rules'?

  43. Benjamin Guest

    Sorry, piss poor planning by the rabbi. Guess what, not everyone else is subject to your religious whims on public transport, especially if you did not procure appropriate seating ahead of time and could anticipate a potential issue. “I can’t sit next to a girl because an ancient book tells me so” is not a good reason to stand in the aisle during boarding, and if the person agreeing to move hadn’t already moved by...

    Sorry, piss poor planning by the rabbi. Guess what, not everyone else is subject to your religious whims on public transport, especially if you did not procure appropriate seating ahead of time and could anticipate a potential issue. “I can’t sit next to a girl because an ancient book tells me so” is not a good reason to stand in the aisle during boarding, and if the person agreeing to move hadn’t already moved by the time the FA was summoned to resolve, you’ve lost. You are not allowed to pray in the aisle on a carpet on Emirates, you’re told to pray in your seat. Hopefully jet blue doesn’t settle for a dime and sees it through.

    The only good thing about this is that the rabbi did not inconvenience the whole of the plane!

    1. vlcnc Guest

      You are absolutely correct, and I'd hazard a guess if it was Muslim person doing this given the rampant islamophobia in western countries, they would have been subject to much worse than he got. Of course Muslims don't do this, because as you say they pray in their seat not inconveniencing anyone, which as Ramadan is upon us, you will see more of in particular if you travel internationally.

  44. BZ Guest

    Sick and tired of Zionists trying to make the world revolve around them. Enough is enough.

    1. Moe Guest

      I guess to you every Jew is a Zionist and every Zionist is a Jew. This is a principal of anti-Semitism.
      IMHO, he could and should have planned better but the reaction of the cabin crew is way over the top. There was a passenger switching seats with him and he was told it would cause balance issues.
      I fly quite a bit and rarely see bias but you know when you see it.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      So anyone who can't tell a Jew or a Zionist is antisemitic?

      Do you know all of the Hindu gods and tell who worships which gods?
      Does that make you or anyone who can't tell the difference an anti-hindu racist?

    3. Moe Guest

      No, not everyone who cant tella Jew or Zionist is an anti semite.
      No, I know nothing of Hindu.

      The post pertained to a Jew, any reference to a Zionist is just conflagrating the issue with current politics. Please reread the following and try to justify it. "Sick and tired of Zionists trying to make the world revolve around them"

    4. henare Diamond

      We don't actually know if the subject of this discussion is a Zionist or not (many ultra orthodox Jews aren't). So... cry harder.

  45. Daniel Guest

    If he is such a religious fanatic, he certaine should have paid for seats together in advance, why should Jetblue accomodate him?

  46. Jesse Guest

    Surely this is something that should have been worked out long before the flight, if not at the time of booking.

    I respect his religious convictions in not sitting next to an unrelated woman, but I cannot respect his poor planning for putting himself in a situation where that was a clear possibility.

    1. Mike Guest

      According to the statement, they attempted to resolve the issue at the gate but were instructed to handle it on the plane. Once onboard, they successfully orchestrated the exchange. It is puzzling why the flight attendant would choose to intervene in a discourteous manner and persist without any apparent justification.

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DT Diamond

Orthodox Jew here. 1. There is no halachic prohibition against sitting next to an unrelated woman. Period. This has become a mark of “piety” in recent decades in some ultra-Orthodox circles but has no basis in halacha (Jewish law). 2. If he cared that much he should have paid for seat selection next to his wife. 3. The airline way overreacted, as another passenger WAS willing to switch with him.

13
vlcnc Guest

He was basically too cheap to pay for a seat assignment which is what it comes down to.

10
Benjamin Guest

Sorry, piss poor planning by the rabbi. Guess what, not everyone else is subject to your religious whims on public transport, especially if you did not procure appropriate seating ahead of time and could anticipate a potential issue. “I can’t sit next to a girl because an ancient book tells me so” is not a good reason to stand in the aisle during boarding, and if the person agreeing to move hadn’t already moved by the time the FA was summoned to resolve, you’ve lost. You are not allowed to pray in the aisle on a carpet on Emirates, you’re told to pray in your seat. Hopefully jet blue doesn’t settle for a dime and sees it through. The only good thing about this is that the rabbi did not inconvenience the whole of the plane!

9
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