Skip To Content
We’ve Taken Down the Forward Paywall: An Open Letter to Our ReadersRead Now
Fast Forward

Jewish Family Sues Spirit Airlines Over Alleged Anti-Semitic Abuse

A Jewish family from New York is suing Spirit Airlines, claiming they were harassed by flight attendants on their way to Florida in a “discriminatory campaign,” reported.

The situation began over a question about safety regulations and allegedly resulted in one flight attendant labeling the family as “retarded Jews.”

In January, Yisroel Sternberg and Chana Beck boarded a flight from Newark to Fort Lauderdale with their three infant children. They bought an extra ticket for the baby’s carriage, which converted into a car seat. Doing so is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration but became an issue at check-in — it doubled as a stroller, which is against Spirit’s policies.

A flight attendant told them they couldn’t bring the carriage aboard. After further disagreements, the couple agreed to stow the seat below deck. Tensions worsened when an attendant grew angry at Sternberg, who was assigned to a seat separated from his family, for switching seats to help with his children. When he moved back, he was told to “shut up” with a threat to call the police.

The crew did call 911, claiming that the couple was “being disruptive and cursing at the flight attendants,” according to the complaint. When the plane landed, they were escorted off by two sheriff’s deputies, their return tickets were voided and they received a lifetime ban from Spirit.

Spirit would not comment on the case but Derek Dombrowski, the media relations manager, told that the airline stands against discrimination.

“Spirit Airlines strives to maintain a welcoming environment for all of our guests, and we have zero tolerance for discrimination,” Dombrowski said.

Alyssa Fisher is a writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.