Canada WestJet cancels flight after row ‘over child not wearing mask’
Written by Taiwo Adediran on September 10, 2020
Safwan Choudhry says WestJet wanted his 19-month-old to wear a mask, but the baby girl would not stop crying.
The airline says the issue was not with the infant, who is below the age required to wear a mask, but with Mr Choudhry’s three-year-old.
Tuesday morning’s Flight 652 from Calgary to Toronto was stopped, and all passengers were ordered to disembark.
“It’s unlike anything I have ever witnessed, let alone experienced,” Mr Choudhry told the BBC.
According to the BBC, Mr Choudhry said his oldest daughter, who is three, was eating a snack before take-off when flight attendants approached them asking that both their children wear a mask. He said he and his wife were masked.
He said he asked if his daughter could finish her snack, but that they said they had a “zero tolerance policy” and would not close the airplane door without her wearing a mask. Mr Choudhry said he agreed to put one on immediately.
“Most children you have to kind of ease them into it, which is a code word for let me get the iPad out,” he told the BBC.
He says the three-year-old did put on a mask, after some fussing.
“But my younger one had a very difficult time, she was basically hysterical.”
Mr Choudhry says she was so upset she vomited.
He says WestJet was aggressive, and told them that because his youngest daughter was not wearing a mask, and was too upset to wear a mask, the whole family would have to leave.
He says they told them that if they did not leave, they could be arrested, charged and receive prison time.
Mr Choudhry says he and his wife were respectful. They ultimately agreed to leave.
He later learned that according to Canadian transportation policy, only children over two are required to wear a mask, and thus his 19-month-old did not have to put one on.