- uploaded: May 11, 2012
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What is she, the diaper bomber?
This adorable, chubby-cheeked New Jersey tot was pulled from a JetBlue flight because her name popped up on the federal no-fly list â€” normally intended for al Qaeda thugs and other terror suspects. The parents of 18-month-old Riyanna, who are of Middle Eastern descent but were born in the United States, said they were humiliated at the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., airport when they were told to get off the Newark-bound plane so TSA agents could chat with them about their curly-haired cutie.
Riyannaâ€™s mother, who wears a traditional Muslim head scarf, said she was told by a JetBlue employee, â€śItâ€™s not you or your husband. Itâ€™s your daughter. She was flagged as being on the no-fly list.â€ť
Once off the plane, the couple said they were accosted by nearly a dozen airport personnel, including officers from the Broward County Sheriffâ€™s Office, TSA agents and JetBlue workers.
â€śThey put us on display,â€ť the girlâ€™s father said. â€śThey told us not to move.â€ť
â€śLuckily for us, we are American-born, English-speaking, educated people aware of their rights. What would this have looked like if we were two people who didnâ€™t understand their rights and how to handle this situation?â€ť
The couple, who asked to remain anonymous, said Riyanna is a JetBlue frequent flier. They used her US passport to check her in before Tuesdayâ€™s flight.
â€śWe were completely shocked at how absurd it is that an 18-month-old would be on a no-fly list,â€ť her mother told The Post.
Transportation Security Administration officials blamed JetBlue, saying the â€śTSA was called to the gate by the airline [and] determined the airline had mistakenly indicated the child was on a government watch list.â€ť She is not, the agency said.
JetBlue chalked the blunder up to a â€ścomputer glitch,â€ť but said its workers were simply doing their job.
â€śWhen uncertainty arises, we err on the side of caution, follow protocol and do not assume,â€ť JetBlue spokeswoman Tamara Young said.
The girlâ€™s mother, who is pregnant, said they were too embarrassed to get back on the flight after hearing passengersâ€™ snide remarks as they de-planed, such as, â€śOh, look, they caught them.â€ť
The airline said it apologized to the family, but the parents said nobody from the airline had done so. â€śThey didnâ€™t want to say anything to us,â€ť the dad said.
The family flew down to Florida on JetBlue a couple of weeks ago to visit relatives â€” their third trip there in as many months â€” but now they plan on driving back home.
Will they every fly JetBlue again?
â€śHell no,â€ť the husband and wife said in unison.