Yisroel Sternberg, 28, and Chana Beck, 25, a Brooklyn Orthodox Jewish couple, are suing Spirit Airlines for compensatory and punitive damages for the “personal humiliation, loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life, mental anguish, and embarrassment.” The couple claims that on January 8, the company’s crew discriminated against them and their three children—whose tickets had all been paid for—because of their religion, the Miami Herald reported.
The firm of Rodal Law, representing the couple, says a Spirit Airlines gate agent initially refused to let the couple in with a car seat for the youngest of their children — a month and a half old baby girl. A supervisor later allowed the use of the seat, which complied with FAA regulations.
According to the lawsuit, after the couple and their children boarded the plane, a female flight attendant demanded they stow away the car seat. The couple sought help from a Spirit ground official, who ordered the flight attendant to let them use the car seat. But as soon as the company official was gone, the flight attendant once again ordered the couple to stow away the seat. The couple obeyed and held their little daughter on their arms for the duration of the flight.
But the flight attendants remained on their case, criticizing their every move, such as when Sternberg sat in an empty seat to help his wife attend to their children. Sternberg asked for the flight attendant’s name, but the latter refused and said he was calling police to escort them off the plane in Fort Lauderdale.
According to the lawsuit, a passenger told the couple that they overheard a crew member calling them “retarded Jews.” And, as promised, Fort Lauderdale police was there to escort the couple and their children off the plane.
“The flight crew was discriminating against them because the Sternbergs were Jewish,” the lawsuit says, noting that the couple was “forever-banned” from flying with Spirit Airlines again.
Which is just as good a spot as any to ask: were they planning to?