An 18-month-old toddler girl named Riyanna and her parents were kicked off a JetBlue flight Tuesday night at Ft. Lauderdale Airport after the baby girl's name popped up on the TSA's "no-fly" list.
According to WPBF News, the girl and her family, New Jersey residents of Middle Eastern descent, had just boarded the plane. That's when a JetBlue airline employee asked them to disembark, saying a representative with the Transportation Security Agency wanted to talk to them.
According to the report, Riyanna's mother asked, "For what?"
And the airline employee responded, "Well, it's not you or your husband. Your daughter was flagged as no fly."
The shocked family waited in the terminal for about half an hour before they were eventually allowed back onto the plane. However, the parents said JetBlue offered no apology or even an explanation for the mix-up. They were so upset they refused to get back on the flight and left the airport.
But they still want to know how their 18-month-old daughter's name could have ended up on a terrorist watch list. And they are planning to speak to a lawyer about the incident.
Today, Riyanna's parents, who did not want to be identified, said they think they were racially profiled. Riyanna's mother wears a traditional Muslim headscarf.
They are American citizens, born and raised in New Jersey, just like their daughter.
"We were put on display like a circus act because my wife wears a hijab," Riyanna's father told WPBF. "It's absurd. It made no sense. Why would an 18-month-old child be on a no-fly list?"
TSA, JetBlue point fingers
JetBlue said both it and the TSA are investigating the incident.
But the TSA disagreed, telling WPBF it was an "airline issue" and therefore, it is not investigating.
The TSA maintains they did not flag the child on the No Fly list, because, had she been, she and her family would never have been issued boarding passes allowing them to get through security.
“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,” the TSA said in a statement it released to Forbes. “Individuals on the No Fly list do not get boarding passes."