United Bans Two Year Old For Not Wearing Mask

Filed Under: United

I’m conflicted on this one. On the one hand, I appreciate a zero tolerance policy, but on the other hand, this wouldn’t have been an issue on Delta.

Two year old’s mask compliance causes problems

A family with a two year old daughter was supposed to fly United Airlines from Denver to Newark this past Friday. Here’s what we know about what happened, based on the family’s version of events and videos:

  • The family wanted to go to New York to see friends and family, and go to Rockefeller to see the tree; “it’s a tradition [they] also wanted [their] two year old daughter to experience”
  • The couple has Premier Silver status with United, so they “always” fly with the airline; they apparently flew with the daughter four times already during the pandemic, without having issues
  • The two year old (who turns three in April 2021) wasn’t cooperating with wearing a mask, so they ended up asking the family to leave the flight
  • The family wasn’t happy about this, and once off the plane the dad asked to be rebooked on another flight in first class (even though they weren’t in first class to begin with), and at that point they were informed that they’re banned from United
  • While the mom claims they’re “banned forever,” that’s unlikely to be the case; bans over mask compliance apply for as long as a mask policy is in place
  • Since bags weren’t taken off the plane, they would only have their bags returned to them a day later

⁣Here’s the video, which starts with the mom crying over what happened, then shows what happened onboard, and then shows what happened at the gate, after they got off the plane:

Is the family or United in the right?

When you step back, it understandably seems ridiculous to kick off and ban a family because a two year old wouldn’t wear a mask. With that in mind, I have a few general thoughts:

The family flew the wrong airline

The mother makes the point that the World Health Organization (WHO) doesn’t recommend masks for children up to five years of age. This is true, and as it’s described by the WHO, “this is based on the safety and overall interest of the child and the capacity to appropriately use a mask with minimal assistance.”

One thing to consider is that the family flew the wrong airline. Delta’s policy explicitly says that “children under the age two and young children who cannot maintain a face covering are exempt from the mask requirement.”

Meanwhile United has no such exception, simply noting that “children younger than two years old are exempt.”

This comes down to airline policy, but the truth is that they should have known United’s policy coming in (and it’s also something you have to agree to during check-in).

Could the family have done more?

Let me fully acknowledge that getting a two year old to do something they don’t want to do is difficult. In that very moment I think the parents were doing everything they could.

However, I get the sense that they could have done more to practice and prepare. Traveling with young kids if tough enough under normal conditions, let alone when you have to force them to wear a mask for extended periods.

It seems like this is something that should be practiced extensively in advance, but I get the general vibe that maybe that wasn’t happening at this family:

  • The dad can’t seem to keep his mask over his nose… why is this so hard?!
  • The dad pulls the “99% of people survive coronavirus” card, in justifying his daughter not being able to wear a mask
  • Let’s keep in mind that the family was violating New York’s quarantine requirement to begin with by taking this trip

Maybe I’m wrong, but I doubt the daughter had spent much time practicing mask wearing, outside of airplanes.

Should United have let this slide?

While I’m generally extremely pro-mask, I can’t help but wonder if the airline should have perhaps let this situation slide. Like I said, this wouldn’t have been an issue on Delta, the child wasn’t seated next to a stranger, and the parents did seem to be trying (in this moment).

There is obviously an element of theater here when one airline considers it to be safe for a two year old to not wear a mask, and another doesn’t.

This probably didn’t need to turn into such a big deal. However:

  • Big companies often lack flexibility, and have a culture of rigid rules; when we’re talking about safety, that’s probably a good thing
  • If you make an exception for a two year old not wearing a mask, where do you stop making exceptions?

Airlines for the most part have done an amazing job with mask compliance (more than in any other crowded spaces), and that largely comes down to a consistently enforced zero tolerance policy. When you start to let things slide, minor as they might be, where is the line drawn?

Bottom line

United Airlines kicked off and then banned a family because the parents couldn’t get their two year old daughter to wear a mask.

On the one hand, this seems a step too far, when Delta has a special exception for situations like this. On the other hand, I can also appreciate that whatever policy is in place needs to be consistently enforced, because it’s a slippery slope.

What do you make of this mask situation?

  1. 100% on removal from the flight. Maybe not on the ban, but it depends on how confrontational they were. We are only seeing their side of the story.

  2. Wonder if there is more to the story on this. I am a little suspect when influencers release victim videos.

  3. United learned nothing from Dao; they kicked a 2-year-old off a plane this time. It isn’t the microanalysis that matters, it is the media curb appeal. There is no public health difference between a 2 year-old and a 3-year-old not wearing a mask. You use common sense. If the kid is too young and immature to keep on mask, you let it slide rather than risk a PR quagmire which is exactly what happened. If Lucky is torn, there are plenty of people who aren’t and won’t fly United now. As it is, people in first class take off the masks to drink alcohol and stuff their faces and the FAs say nothing; why torture a 2-year-old?

  4. In defense of most families, I have a young child I want to let you know one of our family’s main priorities when we fly is not to bother other passengers. We aren’t flying with our kids during covid mind you.

  5. 1. They knew the rules.
    2. They could have flown Delta.
    3. How did they intend to comply with NY’s quarantine requirement?
    4. They were so upset about how United traumatized their daughter that they…posted a video of her.


  6. What the hell was the family doing taking a nonessential trip on the plane anyway? We’re living in a different period than before. People who can’t take a year and live differently are why we are still in this situation.

  7. Always, always, always the people who are the most critical or judgemental are the guiltiest violators of the “rules” in some way or another. Twitter is littered with examples. I wish I could audit some of these commenters lives. You bet I’d find a “violation”

    Rules for thee but not for me

  8. Not enough also said about the decision to fly in the first place. This wasn’t a necessity trip and their rationale that their daughter should see the tree, well, she’s two and she won’t remember it. Lots of people have had to do away with lots of traditions this year, so suck it up like everybody else and don’t do stupid stuff because “we wanted to do XYZ”.

  9. This is a blatant example of an “influencer” acting childish because they didn’t get their way. There is obviously more to the story. Hilarious they try to flex their Silver status as if that means anything. Glad they got banned.

  10. The fact that her instagram bio starts with “Health Coach” tells me all I need to know. She thinks she knows better than the company and can make her own rules. No sympathy for a cancelled holiday trip in violation of the New York quarantine rules.

  11. Right on United website it says “OVER the age of two.” Maybe do some research before writing? They were in full compliance.

  12. @James – SPOT ON!

    They admit they 100% intended to violate NY’s rule (law) about quarantining for two weeks.
    They knew they were flying with a two-year-old; they should have practiced.
    They demanded to be put in first-class on coach tickets.

    Their ‘rules don’t apply to me’ attitude/actions ran smack into ‘yes they do’. Stick to the rules.

    They do have one gripe that is legitimate; if it was so important to kick them off the plane, it should have been important enough to kick their bags off. United can’t have it both ways.

    The best way for an airline to get sued is to allow some people to not wear masks and kick others off the plan. Good for United.

  13. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

    If your two year old cannot wear a mask – then you shouldn’t be going anywhere. We’re 9 months into this! It’s not like these are new rules in the United States – most communities with mask mandates or suggestions use 2 and up as the cutoff, not 5. I don’t think WHO recs are relevant in this context. As a father I’ve noticed that 2-4 year olds generally have no problem IF their parents are wearing a mask. Clearly these parents have not been leading by example throughout the pandemic.

  14. If they were going fly back with United only 2 days after that fateful flight, then that would show up on United’s databases, and if that’s the case, then it serves them right to get banned. That is unless of course the return flight is with another airline since the return flight wouldn’t be on United’s databases in that case.

  15. It’s a dumb idea to travel with a kid that isn’t old enough to behave.
    It’s even dumber to needlessly travel to an area that’s got spiking Covid cases.
    I guarantee you that this couple was dragging their precious bundle across the country for the sole purpose of bragging on Instagram.
    No sympathy here.

  16. Let’s see …
    1. Going to NYC
    2. More people now dying per day of Covid than in 9/11
    3. So need to wear a mask
    4. WTF is so hard about that ???????????????????????????

  17. Jp, go get a double shot espresso and wake up! The girl turns 3 in April, thus she’s over 2 years old, thus she is required to wear a mask per the policy written on United’s website, thus they are out of compliance. This is not hard!

    I love her tear filled rant with her mask off inside the gate area which is also a violation, while her husband can’t seem to get his mask over his nose. Add in the violation of NY quarantine and we have ourselves a family that is a problem that needed to be dealt with. Sadly it seems social justice mob is going to their defense when they clearly felt rules don’t apply to them. I’m sorry United has to deal with any backlash from defending their published rules.

  18. I am personally very much in favor of following the rules over mask compliance, however it feels like the enforcement of policies is very arbitrary. Also, rules seem to be different for travel in different classes.

    On a recent flight on AA to Puerto Rico in first, the drunk couple opposite us had their masks on only during 10% of the flight duration. Neither of the flight attendants bothered with enforcing the rules. In fact, the flight attendant herself would lower her mask when conversing with people defeating the whole purpose of wearing a mask in the first place. Similarly on our flight back another young lady in first class hardly put on her mask during the whole flight. I feel like mask compliance for the elite is pretty much optional! On this flight the friendly flight attendant was busy shaking and touching fellow passengers and their ESAs with his bare hands!

    I guess that tells you why the country is in a state of despair. The irony is that the couple on our flight out didnt even have a 72 hour negative covid test as per the requirements to enter Puerto Rico. Hope they followed the quarantine rules.

  19. Im okay with United tossing them off the flight and banning them from flying while there is a mask mandate. I don’t think the parents are concerned with their child’s safety and well being. They are taking a discretionary trip by airplane. They don’t even have the common sense and good judgment to bring the car seat onboard the aircraft, and secure the child. These parents are all about convenience, and since it’s not convenient for their child to wear a mask or be buckled in properly, they need to stay home.

  20. Why would they fly united exclusively due to silver status? Why do they think they’re big shots due to silver status?

    People with no status have better perks with the United credit card.

    They think people are impressed with their worthless status?

  21. The kid was obviously tired and wanted to sleep. Good luck forcing her doing something she does not want.
    I am a pro mask. But 2yo…

  22. Couldn’t United just have insisted the child be stored in the overhead compartment, as they did with the dog?

    Also @Michael — 100% agree.

  23. As an aside, what the father was wearing wouldn’t qualify as a mask in Melbourne, Australia. A mask is not a bit of stretchy material that you pull up so that it can keep falling down. These people should not be allowed in charge of a child.

  24. Could someone explain “Since bags weren’t taken off the plane, they would only have their bags returned to them a day later”

    I thought it was a requirement to offload a passenger’s bags if the passenger isn’t on the flight. How did they let the aircraft takeoff with their bags?

  25. Agree Jo145 not a viable option in Melbourne. I love the fact that they admitted to not following quarantine rules. Out of interest what are the ramifications of not following them? Do you get fined or ???

    BTW I have no idea re stats of people who survive, but aren’t hospitals struggling with capacity? People may survive, but you still have a lot of sick people requiring hospitalisation, some of whom have long term health issues.

    Yes I am from Melbourne. 112 days of strict lockdown – it was worth it. In Sydney at the moment (at the Park Hyatt where there is 100% mask compliance by the staff). Aside from mandatory masks at events (and the apple shop!), you would not know there is a pandemic. Sooo many people out and about. Melbourne is getting there too. Life is great after doing the hard work!

    Good luck and stay safe.

  26. From Europe it all looks ridiculous. Looks like American airlines don’t like their customers and ban people right and left. How often do you read or hear about European airlines banning customers?

  27. This is an example of ‘entitlement’ at its worst. Violating quarantine, travel restrictions, and clear mask policy. And being lax parents.

    Two year olds are old enough to do what they are told unless the parents are so lax they’ve always succumbed to the child’s every tantrum.

    Before I get totally scorned – we brought up properly a lovely young person with a severe case of autism and we traveled extensively. You have to be firm, consistent and rational.

    I feel sorry for the 2 year old – with her current parenting she will have trouble coping with life given her awful role model parents.

    I question why Ben is conflicted – this is a slam dunk.

  28. This was not a necessary trip and were not going to comply with NY’s quarantine requirement. Why don’t they wait until next year to go see the Christmas lights.

  29. Yeah I think it’s wrong to kick a family off a plane because a 2 year old won’t wear a mask. But it seems fishy to me. I’m sure they made a whole scene of it in the plane, with the dad saying 99% of people don’t die of COVID and spewing other denialist crap. On top of that flying out to see friends. I call BS

  30. @jp
    The minute you are 2 years old +1 day you are over 2, therefore the family was NOT in compliance. If you are encouraging research to be done at least be educated first.

  31. As a mother of two young kids, this family just wants fame is what I seeing.

    If my child was having a tough time with something, the very last thing I would do is grab my phone to video it. She wasn’t doing anything to help, only videoing. The dad wasn’t trying that hard. It is well known as a parent, you practice these things with kids. From sitting and being good during landing and take off and in this case, wearing a mask.

    I normally side on the parents, but I feel the airline was right from what I saw.

  32. Children under 12 are not required to wear masks in the plane on European flights. A 2-year old can hardly speak, they cannot understand and follow airline Covid rules. To all comments by idiots who obviously have no kids, be reminded that a mother gave birth to you. Mankind starts with infants, toddlers etc. What is wrong with you all???

  33. The mask issue is irrelevant. This scum family flying for leisure is the reason your country is a laughing stock.

  34. I’m actually quite surprised at the vitriol in these comments – it would seem a step to far to remove the family for a 2 year old that wasn’t throwing a tantrum or anything simply wasn’t “complying” with a mask mandate. Everyone wants to follow science – ummm pretty much 2 year olds aren’t super spreaders the CDC has recommended they don’t need to wear one the list goes on. Sure it was United’s policy but common sense also needs to prevail.

    Secondarily whether or not the family was going to follow “quarantine” rules is somewhat irrelevant to the discussion on being removed from an airplane. That’s an entirely different conversation.

    I can’t stand “influencers” either not sure what it really is but a sad indictment of society in general – another reason I don’t do Instagram or any of that “stuff”. Her video was a bit of a drama act but probably served its purpose to drive traffic to their “sites” whoever these people are.

  35. They say they’ve been flying all summer. It’s thank to twats like this we’re in the mess we’re in now. Enjoy your Freedum ‘Murica!

  36. If I were a betting man, I’d say the ban had more to do with the parents not following mask requirements than the child…

  37. Everyone flying should not wear a mask. Everyone gets banned and then the airlines can finally go under.
    Better off with Southwest none of their people have pointed out the hole in my mask.

  38. Sorry, but we’re in the middle of a pandemic and airplanes are confined spaces.. While kids may not contract COVID in a serious manner, there is evidence that they can still be vectors of the disease. I get that its tough to have young kids wear masks, but it can be done. We’ve gotten our young kids used to it and they wear theirs religiously whenever they’re around others. If someone doesn’t want their kid to wear a mask in public, they have a choice of not flying.

  39. In my view, United’s policy may be questionable, but I think it’s important that gate agents enforce the policy (which is what happened here). There shouldn’t be discretion. Just like informed passengers with children under 5 that care about COVID protocols may fly Delta thanks to its policy, folks without kids who want substantially all passengers in masks may choose to fly United. (There are many reasons I would consider that a questionable choice, but I have no doubt people rely on the specific mask policies when selecting airlines.). A gate agent should not have the ability to waive such important requirements any more than a self-entitled parent.

    All that aside, the father’s comment about a 99% survival rate makes me sick. It’s not 99% for everyone, and (more importantly) his daughter getting to see Christmas lights doesn’t warrant any risk to human life. Says a lot about elizfulop’s character that, in a clip that was clearly edited, she left that extremely inconsiderate and offensive statement in the video.

  40. So let me get this straight, they decided to fly in the middle of a pandemic, with cases spiking, to make a nonessential trip because they wanted to, had no plans to quarantine for 14 days, potentially endangered people to covid in the process – because children can get it and pass it on – and then complained when they experienced consequences for endangering other people? Lucky, I don’t care about the small print of United’s vs. Delta’s policy. Masks are an effective preventative measure, and this family just didn’t care about other people because they wanted to take their trip so bad. If their child can’t keep a mask on for the duration of a flight, then they shouldn’t have flown. It sucks, but so does losing a family member to covid.

  41. There’s no way they were removed or banned solely because a 2 year old wouldn’t wear a mask. I guarantee you it’s because they caused a scene, the whole family wasn’t wearing masks appropriately and they wanted the public attention. If they didn’t want to or couldn’t wear masks, they shouldn’t have agreed to in, multiple times, in writing, when purchasing their tickets and checking in for their flight. They’ve shown themselves to be liars right there. And why are they traveling so often for leisure purposes during a pandemic, and violating state rules on quarantining?

    My holiday tradition is to go to NYC each year to see the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular. We’re all having to miss out on a lot of traditions this year. But most of us aren’t posting videos online of ourselves crying about it and causing disruptions to everyone else’s lives.

  42. Good on United! The family knew the rules and purchased tickets knowing full well their child was not fit to fly!

    Too bad, not sad.

  43. I tend to look upon parents of Terrible Twos with as much leniency as possible. Let me tell you, this buggers are very hard to control. Most of the time, they are the most adorable creatures of earth. Then, at the worst moments possible, they strike without mercy. They refuse all begging and entreaties, and (being big enough now) would thrash you to oblivion if you don’t let them get their ways.

    Anyhow, sympathy aside, there are so many red flags with this family.

    For one, adorably, they think they can flex their, ummmm, silver statuses into something. It’s… affordable? And they fly out of Denver, a United hub. Yeah, loss of their patronage would bring nightmares to United brass.

    Kidding aside, I lost well respect for anyone using the “99%” line. It shows startling cruelty. 1% of American population is 3+ million people. 1% of world population is 70+ million people. To say, 1% casualty rate being ok means to condemn many millions to death. And for what?

    I found the mother’s line of defense more reasonable. However, shouldn’t she argue that, you know, before arrival at the airport? The flight is 4h. They should have an inkling whether their kid can wear mask for the majority of that time. I mean, if the kid wants mask off for a few minutes, i would understand. Read above about Terrible Two. But they should have known and planned for these eventuality ahead of time, not in on the freaking airplane when everyone is trying to leave.

    Third, I would understand that United wanted them off the flight right then. However, the fact that crews refused to let the car seat off and the staff banned the baby or the parents to be interesting. Remember, the crew and the staff are humans too. I bet they had their own struggle with their own Terrible Twos. Their taking of these lines tell me that there are more to this story than the first flush.

    For one, why banning over a single violation, of a little kid no less? X
    The parents themselves said they had flown before “without problems.” Maybe they had successfully heckled other crews? That would explain the ban perfectly. Also, given that the father pulled the 99% line (and demand first class accommodation…), I wonder if anything else was said or shouted.

    Regarding the car seat, I wonder what happened there. I have heard of people kicked off the plane with their luggage before. What made this crew run so fast? Did the family harass them so much that they ran/flew off to minimize trauma? Did the parents bring up the seat too late?

    In any event, here I have to agree with United. This is different from Dr. Dao. Dr Dao was in the right. His only fault was to be unlucky. This family were in the wrong. And they seemed to think they deserved special treatment because, ummmm, silver statuses. Oh, and they attempted to weaponize social media, which is just not cool. Kudo to United here. And please, please plan ahead of you travel with Terrible Twos. They are all handfuls.

  44. If you go to the woman’s Instagram then you will see that they flew with her daughter earlier in the summer and the daughter has a mask on. Don’t remotely feel sorry for her or her husband. They also were going for a quick weekend to New York but too have to quarantine when you get there. Yes people so survive this but a lot of them are long last effects on their health. So no a quick trip to New York isn’t worth it.

  45. Bottom line, the mask mandate does nothing to stop the spread and its time for you f-ing Karen’s to stfu over people wearing them. You don’t want to fly, don’t. Leave the rest of us alone, jerks.

  46. Ultimately it is going to fe extremely difficult to expect a small child to wear a mask , especially when they wouldn’t understand. I’ve seen 4 and 5 year olds recently in my local supermarket, even though they don’t need to.

    I also believe the crew should use discretion when it comes to children.

  47. I have zero sympathy for this family, as there was no need to travel during the pandemic. A 2-year-old won’t remember the tree. They were breaking quarantine rules. The airline’s policy was clear. They seem to thin because they are Premier Silver they should be exempt from rules.

    I know how hard it is to travel with 2-year olds as we had an international move at age 2 and we didn’t travel on any flights over 2 hours until my sons were 4 as long flights with toddlers are tough. The family should not have been traveling during the pandemic in the first place. Kudos to the United employees who were enforcing the rules. (And this is not at all like the Dr Dao situation).

  48. I fully support United’s actions in upholding the company’s health-oriented facemask policy! United has done an outstanding job of frequently providing safety information to the public about flying in today’s pandemic environment. Sadly, these parents did not prepare themselves to meet United’s safety standards. Their subsequent actions are also suspect. As a passenger, I strongly encourage the United team to maintain and enforce current safety policies in place. Compliance and an enforced zero tolerance remain essential during the current pandemic.

  49. They should’ve kicked the kid off the flight just for crying like a banshee! I’ll have to side with United on this one, and an extra FU to the parents for trying to violate NY quarantine rules.

    I guess they figure those rules don’t apply to them either.

  50. “99% survival rate”

    Wow, the goober actually said that?
    The illiterate dufus should know there were about a 100 people (or more) on the flight.

    He wants to sacrifice a human so his snot filled progeny can get its way.

    I say send him to clean 99 covid patients’ bemoans. Hey, you can’t die with 99 right? You will not be the 1% that dies.

    Thus family needs to be banned from ALL airlines. Jerks.

  51. I don’t see ANY reason to be conflicted about this. The father can’t even wear the mask properly. They clearly knew the rules and did not prepare the child. Obviously they think the middle of a pandemic is the perfect time to engage in non-essential travel and to meet up with people and they have been flying repeatedly. These covidiots are the very types of people who have been spreading the virus around the country. However, the biggest reason why they deserve absolutely no sympathy is that they were taking a weekend trip to NYC to see the frickin tree and meet up with friends who also don’t live in NYC. Its clear they intended to completely ignore the quarantine requirements in NY, so I am thrilled they were banned from United. Most selfish and irresponsible people and then the clown tries to get upgraded to first class?

  52. What a joke of a family. Its not the year to go be a tourist. Hospitals are full here in NYC.

    His note about lethality shows this is probably a stunt. I have friends who are paralyzed because of this virus. Sure they survived, but have long term damage. That’s not your average sickness. The pandemic is real, be an adult and have one year where you don’t do your normal Christmas traditions.

  53. I’m not conflicted about what United did:
    1. Is it really that important to show your 2 yo a christmas tree at a time when you shouldn’t be flying.
    2. The family knew the rules, I’m sure they knew in advance that their 2 yo wouldn’t wear the mask for the entire flight
    3. Another selfish pair of millennial or Zer parents who didn’t think of anyone else on the flight. Pure selfishness.

  54. A bunch of cold, cruel, soul less people posting on here. Two year olds should not be forced to wear a mask. Children this young are not known to be spreaders of the virus. Clearly Delta thinks it’s not a big deal with a more flexible policy and United should follow suit.

  55. The family wanted to go to New York to see friends and family, and go to Rockefeller to see the tree; “it’s a tradition [they] also wanted [their] two year old daughter to experience”
    The couple has Premier Silver status with United, so they “always” fly with the airline; they apparently flew with the daughter four times already during the pandemic, without having issues.

    This is why the U.S. has the highest COVID infections in the world. The family has flown FOUR times, with the kid during the pandemic.. Irresponsible.
    They wanted their 2 year old to experience the tree in New York ? The kid not only won’t experience the tree, they won’t ever remember it. But this family put themselves and others on a completely un necessary and reckless trip. These parent are simply selfish, and use their kid as an excuse (and shield) for their irresponsible behavior.

    No wonder COVID is out of control….

  56. This is why the US leads the world in COVID cases. A non-essential trip and potentially dodging quarantine rules to see a damn tree? Should be fined bigly for that.

  57. I’ve been flying longer than I can remember. United, with the possible exception of BEA in the 60s, has consistently been the worst to fly on. Consistently, not just once or twice. But IMO this time they did the right thing. Just like a stopped clock is right twice a day, even flawed companies sometimes make the right call, and this time they did.

  58. I was exposed by a 1 year old. Had I been near the family on this flight, I would have been very uncomfortable being near their child without a mask. But in this case, United protected all the other passengers. As a parent with young kids, the wise thing to do right now is NOT to fly as young kids struggle understandably. And if you must travel with young kids, drive.

    Well done United. I am thankful for your actions. We are in a pandemic and right now is the time to do what is wise.

  59. This family clearly has no personal heartache over this pandemic. When my friend died and another two are in the hospital, they’ll take it seriously. Unfortunately this is the state we’re in. We don’t believe until we must.

  60. It’s really funny to see how much do Americans care about those pointless masks – and yet they have the most cases in the world. Try wearing a mask in Bergen, Stockholm, Tallinn or Minsk – you would be looked at as it you were an alien.

    “At present there is only limited and inconsistent scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of masking of healthy people in the community” – WHO, 1 December 2020.

  61. It’s record COVID infections and deaths, and they want to fly with their kid to see the Christmas tree in NY. Alright, that says about everything you need to know.

  62. I just flew United 2 days ago with my 5 month old, and 2 year old who would not wear a mask. We practiced weeks before, and we have masks with his favorite characters, etc. And while my 2 y.o. did keep his mask on during check in, TSA security and waiting at the gate, by the time we were seated on the plane he refused to keep it on. I tried everything and was literally putting my hand over his face with a mask. The United stewardess told me not to worry; that my 2 year old was too young. On our second flight, his lack of mask was a non-issue. I guess I got lucky on my two United flights. I think for my return, I will cancel and fly Delta just to avoid being in the news. We were not traveling to see a tree, btw. I think everyone needs to rethink the age requirement. The issue is 2 year olds it seems. Even the pediatrician lets my son forego the mask, citing, “2 year olds won’t wear masks,” as he chucked the mask I was forcing onto my son’s face. I’m sure there’s some super mom with a mask wearing 2 y.o. (for 7 hours of travel) but that is the rare exception I assure you.

  63. I think I need to remove OMAT from my bookmarks. This used to be a fun site with interesting comments, now it’s just sad….

    But hey, on the positive side I live in a country that doesn’t force small children to wear masks, have free healthcare and very low spread of the virus. So will soon be getting on a flight back home together with my family to celebrate Christmas with my parents, without having to worry about anything!

  64. Is this an American thing to have 2 year olds wearing masks? On Air France/KLM it is only mandatory from 11 and on Lufthansa Group, it is from 6. I already felt like 6 seemed a bit young, but 2? 2 year olds still wear nappies because they just can’t control everything yet. You really expect them to understand mask rules?

  65. @flyoften
    You have a very common corona feares symptom – unable to read stats correctly & math incapable.

    1% death fatality rate (0.14 – 0.27 % is rather correct) is related to the total number of PCR-positives, not the entire population. If your statement was correct – which is 100% bs – every single person on that flight (assuming 100 people) had been tested corona-positiv. Furthermore, according to your logic approx 78 million deaths worldwide so far. Are we anywhere near that number?

    Another perspective with that figures in mind, look at 1.6 million tuberculosis-related deaths – every single year before corona, in 2020 and pretty sure for the next decades. And no one cares….

    btw, what happend to the common-flu-deaths this year??
    not a single one so far, well-done corona!

  66. They shouldn’t have flying in the first place. They miss the Rockefeller tree for one year, get over it. We’ve all had to miss out on things this year. We accept it, and we move on.

  67. 99.9% comments coming from Americans who have traveled only inside USA 🙂 not to mention those are quite narrow minded people.
    WHO advices on children above the age of 6 to wear a mask when on a plane. Most of the European airlines exempt children bellow the age of 12 to wear a mask AND to present a negative test. And so true about people sitting in 1st class and avoiding to wear their masks whatsoever. It is so ridiculous.
    For the parents that want to wait their kids to turn 4, 10 or 16 years before they go traveling (abroad) – you should avoid traveling yourself. It doesn’t seem you will ever enjoy/understand traveling anyway.

  68. Our children and grandchildren aren’t visiting us right now because they know that they cannot guarantee mask compliance. Let alone the other facts/factors, there’s a deadly pandemic everywhere you go, leisure trips are unnecessary, visiting people outside your circle increase the risk of infection, a neck gaiter isn’t sufficient to protect from inhalation or exhalation, etc.

    We’d love to see our children and grandchildren, but we have moral obligations that take precedent.

  69. This reminds me about a situation a few years back. I had done a lot of family international flying back in the 60s when I was between 1-6 years old. Pre-9/11 I was in an airport when an acquaintance decided to have a conversation using the b*b word. I felt physically ill and had to remove myself from the group. Clearly I had been trained very carefully not to use a word that would have meant security issues for our family.

    So it can be done.

  70. United is so good at copying Delta, the mask policy nuances would be a great thing for them to copy Delta on.

    I am all for booting adults and school-age kids who don’t mask up and appreciate the very visible stances airlines have taken here, but you’ll never get 100% compliance out of 2 or 3 year olds over something they don’t like and can rip off despite a parent’s best efforts.

    This particular family was taking an unnecessary trip, but the same situation could have just as easily happened to a family in another situation where travel was a lot less frivolous (and where the father was wearing a real mask and not a neck gaiter), which is why I judge the situation and policy, not the family.

    Best thing for Scott Kirby to do here would be to respond by saying “United remains committed to maintaining a Covid-safe cabin environment, and that includes the wearing of masks by passengers. However, recent events have made it clear that our policy was poorly written for situations where young children have trouble keeping masks on…” and announce a fine-tuning to adopt something more along the lines of Delta.

    Some of the “TMZ Video” airline stories are ridiculous, but others present a learning opportunity for the airline to fine-tune needed policies — if they can see past reflexive defense of their own policies or actions in a given bad situation. I think that even though these parents won’t be winning “parent of the year” awards anytime soon, this story ends up being one of the latter.

  71. On the one hand, I can certainly empathize with the realities of traveling with a two year old. On the other hand, when you travel with a two year old, you have a responsibility to ensure that your child can properly behave and follow the rules. I also don’t believe the mom. From reading her comments, and listening to them on an internet newsfeed, she sounded loud, entitled, and went straight for the victim card. Assuming the flight attendant followed the rules and guidelines appropriately before removing the family, then I can’t really see how they can complain. Finally, removing them is one thing. Banning them altogether is quite another. For an airline to do this means that there’s more at play than meets the eye at first glance.

  72. I have seen the coverage on this event and in spite of being a father who had my two kids in the air since they were two, I have to lay the responsibility with the parents. Yes, it is hard to get a two year old to behave some times (mine got dragged by me out of First class one time for acting out), we can debate all day about the safety, however CDC says clearly that young , although they get over the disease fast (usually) kids can be heavy spreaders of Covid and UA is firm on passenger safety. They should be treating it very seriously. I would not wish to be seated during Covid near this cute little girl. I have my own family to protect. Next time, Dad or Mom should spend some time with their child and find a way to prepare her for the flight in advance. Maybe get her a wings decoration for the mask and show her the cockpit. . Kids are at their worst when taken by surprise.

    No, it has nothing to do with flying the “wrong airline”. Kids spread can kill adults! I respect UA for taking appropriate action.

  73. Thank you United for enforcing policies so they can learn the seriousness of their decisions, no sympathy for a 2 year old that can’t learn and obey, coming from this United Platinum member!

  74. Wow. Just another sign how far our culture has fallen. The self righteous anger here is endless and we all suffer for it. When people aren’t taught self control or empathy this is what we get- a big ball of flailing hate. Golden rule folks.

  75. I don’t support the family for taking an unnecessary trip in this pandemic. But you have to judge the situation and policy, not the family and their behaviors. This situation can happen to anyone who needs to travel for an emergency with a 2 year old. Getting 100% compliance out of 2 year old all the time is impossible despite how long you have prepared/trained for the situation. It depends on the moment for the child and his/her apprehension of the environment. The child may be compliant 100% all the time and, in an unknown place, everything goes down the hill.
    I am really surprised seeing some of the comments in the forum. Maybe you are all less familiar with child psychology or never done parenting a 2 year old child. Being a pediatrician from Cleveland Clinic for the last 15 years, I can tell you if any parent can tell they can control a 2 year normal developing child for 100% times, I will be super surprised. Currently in Cleveland clinic also during a pediatric visit, if a child is unable to keep their mask on, we advise their parent to put them in chest facing position or cover their nose with something. But we don’t ban the child or disallow them to see a doctor or getting a checkup because the 2 year old child is not compliant at that time. United should fine tune their policy for young children.

  76. The fascinating thing about Americans isn’t that the masses are so ignorant, it is they display it proudly publicly as if it is a badge of honor. They trip over each other to see how low they can go.

  77. @Dr. Jay – you note that you are a doctor and work for the Cleveland Clinic. United currently partners with the Cleveland Clinic for their health and coronavirus protocols, which they actually cited in some of their responses to press inquiries about this incident. Perhaps you can find out who among your colleagues is working with United and discuss this incident with them?

  78. Willing to bet that most ppl saying these ppl should be banned dont have kids. When you are such a harliner on masks you think you are doing it out of selflessness but really you are just selfish because all you think about is your virtue signalling. People are allowed to feel differently and have different opinions. We all have our own justification for what we do. These parents followed the rules as best they could even when they probably didnt agree with the rules. This flight attendant was being clipboard Jesus like the ladies at the DMV. Just because you have a little power doesnt mean you cant show some logic and understanding.

  79. @Aeo, I know United has used the Cleveland clinic name and it may be a tactic to divert pitfalls in their policy. We doctors are not involved in creating policy in Cleveland Clinic. When the CCF administration asks for our opinion on any policy, we provide our feedback based on our experience. I am pretty sure Cleveland clinic only acting as an adviser to United and recommendation will be to have 100% mask compliance whenever it is possible. How United takes this recommendation and creates their own policy and how they enforce it, it is at their discretion. As I mentioned in my earlier post, we don’t have 100% mask compliance requirements for very young children, and we try to access the situation as case by case. If we become too rigid and people will suffer.

  80. I love how having a 2 year old here is considered by many as an excuse to act like arses. The people needed to be banned based on the adults behavior. Yes, I had a child, that didn’t give me freedom to be a jerk. When my child acted out we left stores or wherever we were. I didn’t start ignorant conversations with clerks why MY privilege would override others shopping experience. This isn’t about the child, it is an action based on the parents behavior.

    And you anti-maskers are as ignorant as the pig in the White House and the idiots still supporting him. America really is showing the world how stupid they are.

  81. I am in the same situation as this family, but I know the policies at each airline. I, too, am premier with United but know I can’t fly the airline with my newly turned two-year-old. My son was one when the pandemic started and it was against ALL recommendations for a child his age to wear one. Now, two is here and he needs to wear one anywhere we go (which isn’t a lot of places). We have done everything from practicing, to buying his favorite character masks, to calling his pediatrician for advice. Practice doesn’t make perfect in this situation for us. We are booked for a ski trip in February and will fly on Delta. We’re making multiple connections to do so (even when United has a nonstop flight) but this is also a first world problem and we need to comply with the policy of the airline and keep those around us safe.

  82. This is why I’m trying to figure out the airlines to fly. I can’t fathom anything more selfish, absurd, and nearsighted than a flight full of adults being terrified of an unmasked 2-year old. KIDS ARE VERY LOW RISK AS COVID SPREADERS. How selfish is it for adults to put this kind of thing on toddlers. I would literally lose it. My 2 year old is not a danger, she’s not in danger, and I am never making her wear a mask. Adults who would require her to wear one are pathetic human beings with zero empathy.

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