I’d like to think I don’t negotiate with terrorists, but I have a preschooler, so I am in a constant state of negotiations. There are no exceptions when we travel; I am armed with negotiation tactics (read: candy and crayons) on plane rides in order to avoid any kind of a tense standoff.
Most people with small children probably feel at some time like they, too, are hostage to the demands of their offspring, particularly when trapped on a plane. However, one family was actually accused of harboring a terrorist on a recent Jet Blue flight.
That is, a couple was actually kicked off a Jet Blue flight after their 18-month-old daughter’s name was allegedly said to appear on a “no fly” list, according to CBS News.
After being removed from the flight they were questioned by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents. The New Jersey born and bred family, who is of Middle Eastern descent, said they were put “on display” in the airline terminal while officials discussed their situation.
Regarding the situation, the TSA said in a statement to CBS:
Upon boarding Flight 510 at Fort Lauderdale International Airport last evening, several customers were flagged in our system as being on the TSA’s No Fly list. There are layers of security checkpoints in place — from booking a flight to checking-in, clearing security and boarding an aircraft – that are enforced by the airline in collaboration with airport authorities and the Transportation Security Administration to ensure all customers enjoy a safe and secure travel experience. TSA did not flag this child as being on the No Fly list. TSA was called to the gate by the airline and after talking to the parents and confirming through our vetting system, TSA determined the airline had mistakenly indicated the child was on a government watch list.
I can only imagine the experience was traumatic, frustrating and humiliating for the New Jersey family, and it’s seriously unfortunate if part of the issue was the little girl being targeted for the color of her skin.
For my part, however, there are times when my older daughter was a bit younger that I wouldn’t have minded if she had been put on a government watch list/no fly list. It would have made many, many trips much, much more pleasant.