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Toddler On No-Fly List? TSA, JetBlue Immediately Put On The Defensive

Middle Eastern Family's Ordeal Prior To Flight To Newark A Security Nightmare
Baby Riyanna

Baby Riyanna and her family were pulled off a JetBlue flight at Ft. Lauderdale Airport as they headed home to New Jersey. (credit: WPBF.com)

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — An 18-month-old girl from New Jersey was recently at the center of an unbelievable ordeal at the airport. An airline employee allegedly told her parents she was on a no-fly list.

The shocking news came after they boarded, and before they knew what hit them, they were actually pulled off the plane, CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.

We’ve heard of the terrible 2s, but suspecting 2-year-old Riyanna of being a terrorist was crossing the line as far as her parents were concerned.

“It was completely bizarre. It made absolutely no sense!” her mother told a Florida station.

On Tuesday night Riyanna and her parents boarded a JetBlue flight at Ft. Lauderdale Airport and headed home to New Jersey. Before take off a JetBlue employee told them the Transportation Security Administration needed to speak with them, so they needed to get off the plane.

“And I said, for what? And he said, ‘well, it’s not you or your husband. Your daughter was flagged as no-fly. I said ‘excuse me’?”

“It’s absurd,” the husband said.

“It made no sense,” the wife added.

The couple, who asked not to be identified for fear of a possible backlash, said they were humiliated by the TSA and JetBlue, forced to stand in the terminal with no explanation for their detainment.

“We were put on display like a circus act because my wife wears a hijab,” the husband said, referring to the traditional head dress worn by women from the Middle East.

The TSA said Riyanna was never on the no-fly list, and wouldn’t have been issued a boarding pass if she was.

JetBlue is investigating the problem and released a statement saying: “We believe this was a computer glitch. Our crewmembers followed the appropriate protocols, and we apologize to the family involved in this unfortunate circumstance.”

Riyanna’s parents are convinced they were targeted because they’re of Middle Eastern descent. They said they chose not to get back on the plane when they were cleared to re-board.

“We were humiliated. We were embarrassed. We were picked on,” the husband added.

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