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United kicks family off plane because 2-year-old won’t wear mask

Insanity: United Airlines last week removed a family from a flight heading to New York because they were unable to get their 2-year-old child to wear a mask.

In a two-minute video posted on Dec. 11, since removed for no apparent reason by Instagram and Twitter, mother and Colorado resident Eliz Orban tearfully describes the experience then inserts footage of her masked husband attempting to put a surgical mask on the little girl while seated in the plane. The girl holds her hands up to her face, cries, and buries her head in his arm to avoid the mask.

As a flight attendant advises passengers over the comms to stow their baggage. A male flight attendant arrives at the aisle and demands the couple “grab their belongings and exit the aircraft,” saying he gave the couple “every opportunity” to get a mask on the child.

“We’re over here holding this mask over her face,” the father objects as he cradles the little girl. The video clearly shows him holding a neck gaiter over his daughter’s mouth and nose with a clasped hand. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” he says quietly.

The attendant states firmly that “if there’s non-compliance,” it is United’s policy to remove passengers from the flights. “This is compliance,” the father pleads, as the mother, holding the camera, reiterates their attempts to keep their toddler’s face covered.

You must watch the video to see how crazy and irrational this is. The father is holding her with a mask covering her face, even if it isn’t on her. More important, children don’t get COVID-19. Children don’t infect others. And the child is clearly not sick. To demand a mask on her makes no sense.

And yet, this is what airlines are demanding, even though the article also outlines further the technical reasons that make this policy pointless, including the documented claim by United that the passenger areas are already far more free of any aerosols that might carry the virus than any home or normal indoor space.

It is all empty panic and feel-good nonsense. While it can be argued that used properly in the right circumstances masks can have a limited benefit, this policy, which all the airlines seem to be following, is based on fear, idiocy, and irrationality. If anything, the misuse of masks in this situation (note in the video that the father has to hold the mask with his hands, which are a prime source of infection) might actually be increasing the spread of disease.


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  • Ian C.

    Imagine other passengers filming the family with the little one not wearing a mask and then making a fuzz about it on social media and journos and activists catching up on this. Imagine people later testing positive for C19 and it’s somehow linked to this flight. The potential political, legal, insurance, and outrage implications for a company in an industry that was hurt plentiful by the C19 response is huge. There are incentives to overreact.

  • janyuary

    It is morally WRONG to make others responsible and liable when someone contracts a virus. Bass-ackwards upside down and guaranteed to lead to trouble. It leads to lazy careless people blaming others and being compensated by others for the consequences of their own stupid, ignorant, and/or lazy choices in lifestyle.

    We ignore this truth at our peril.

    It is moral and right that individuals be responsible for their own fear and their own health.
    We embrace this reality at our best.

  • Ian C.


    That might all be true, but I fear that ship has sailed. America, home of the litigation-happy. The reduction of personal responsibility and offloading risk is very profitable for some, be it legal disputes or welfare, and they will certainly push for more of it.
    Suggestions for turning it around?

  • David K

    This must depend a lot on the airline or flight crew.

    I just flew with a toddler slightly younger than two (who will not wear a mask for one second) and had no problems. I had his passport handy in case I had to prove that he was under two, but I was never asked. And I saw kids much older without masks at all or wearing them like necklaces, not covering their faces or nose.

    This was on a discount airline though, so maybe they felt that they were not paid enough to be confrontational. They don’t even give you water unless you buy it from them.

  • janyuary

    Ian C: “Suggestions for turning it around?”

    Now you’ve done it! *ducking*

    Yup, you are right, that ship took off awhile ago. Language is immensely powerful. What I suggest we do is to watch our language, simple and powerful but very very far from easy.

    For example: Moral people who believe in self-ownership over all have allowed the left to successfully demonize progress: the word “progressive” is very wrongly used to describe what is actually regression to tyranny and removal of self-ownership; citizens become livestock. We see it now when employees must submit to having a swab stuck up their nose and their temperatures taken to report to work. All because government has relieved us of responsibility for our risk, fear, and health for our own good, of course.

    Language is beyond my or anyone else’s control, however the dynamics of how language works on the subconscious is pretty well established, which is why the medical industry has invested billions of dollars in very aggressive marketing, more than any other industry in America, over the past 20 years. The dollars are according to what I can find online and it correlates with my professional and personal experience. People should pay attention to the media they consume and turn off negative marketing. PERIOD. When fear is the selling point, turn it off.

    So I think in terms of where that ship is going and direct it to the future. There is great value in applying lessons from the past, but the past stays where it is; we have only the future and present to deal with. Going back is futile.

    I have walked away from the Republican party and I no longer consider myself a conservative. The very title “conservative” puts the one who claims it, on permanent defense in any case; no wonder they have lost, they always play defense even now. If Americans or any other people want to live in liberty, they must own themselves separate from the medical industry and the force of government. George Washington warned that government was a dangerous servant like fire, and like fire a fearful master. In the real world we have always strictly limited fire for our own safety.

    My suggestion for “turning around,” actually for progressing into the future toward liberty and leaving tyranny in the dust, is to assume an offense position in a yet-unnamed party and movement whose reason for being is to establish that government be limited for our own safety the same way we limit fire.

    And I think that as soon as possible people should be advocating for manslaughter charges to be brought against those who have supported this Corona lockdown madness, when people die from the effects, such as the old lady waiting outside the warm waiting room because of of social distancing requirements, or folks dining in outdoor tents in the wind and rain when they should have been in the restaurant enjoying the sunset. Manslaughter, and accessories to economic and societal homicide. Those are the only words for what is going on.

    Thanks for asking …!!!!!!!

  • Ian C.


    “assume an offense position in a yet-unnamed party and movement whose reason for being is to establish that government be limited for our own safety the same way we limit fire.”

    The huge number of people (from the ruling power structure to government employees and the recipients of handouts) has incentives to oppose said party/movement. The “offense position” you mentioned might play a role though. Ideas on targets, objectives, and means?

  • janyuary

    There is only one sure way to start, and that is from a position of offense.
    Otherwise it is certain to be spinning wheels.
    I’m not a war strategist, but I do understand the subtle power of language in manipulating people to do the opposite of what they intend. People can and do earn good livings understanding it.
    It must start with a mission of advancing territory — of course there will be opposition, that’s self evident. Targets, objectives, and means are vain unless there is a purpose in how they are directed. Right now, “leaders” lead by choosing mottos such as “Anybody But ____” (insert disdained politician’s name there, mileage can vary), which is like using a map of how not to get there. Rather like voting “against,” where one takes the same action, of voting happily for an incompetent, but because the intent is to vote “against” a worse incompetent … well, same action, even if the intentions in taking that action differ … same consequence.

    But that is what happens when the brain in language skips over reality and assigns “action” qualities to intent, then creating strategy on a purely imaginary action of voting “against.” Yet trusted, respected, honored political pundits continue to mislead and fail, based on confusing intent with action, and they continue to wail how they lose even when they win. It is because basing a strategy on an imaginary action will fail; they are arrogant enough to think they can outsmart language, but they are mistaken. Those who succeed work with language and respect that it is dynamic. Alas!

    Right now, people have been conditioned to think of “progressive” as “more government” when more government is actually a regression to tyranny. It’s how they think so the way to go on offense at the present moment is to start where it counts — the decision, the choice. But as long as people agree to calling regression to tyranny “progressive,” they are using language calculated to betray them. That’s an example.

  • Ian C.


    It feels like your approach is too honest in a world that plays dirty and you want to correct a wrong first. But let’s assume it’s the way to go.

    Is it just the words and ideas that make people think in specific ways? Or do they have to be susceptible for specific words and messages (target audiences and such)? What are the audiences and influencers we should address first? Or in other words, what’s required to initiate cultural change?

    Do we have the means to spread and enforce the “medicine?” Via classical media? Social media? Educational materials? Word of mouth? See it lived in communities? Implemented in societal institutions?

    What would be a useful timeline? What needs to be accomplished to have it turned around by 2030? Or what could we accomplish by 2030?

    I’m asking many questions here. No expectation that you spoon-feed me a complete plan. Perhaps one or two question serve as a starter to make it more concrete. I like actionable stuff.

  • Edward

    Ian C. asked: “Suggestions for turning it around?

    Bill Whittle has started up a new video series on just this topic.
    “Moving Back To America,” Episode 0: (47 minutes)

  • janyuary

    Ian, you’re much mistaken that I want to “correct a wrong.” There is no “wrong” to correct, it is why repetitive marketing succeeds. There is a reason companies withhold vast amounts of money from research or improvement or reducing costs, and spend it instead on plain pure creative marketing. It returns the investment, and that’s virtually guaranteed if it is persistently used, hour after hour, day after day, year after year, decade after decade. Pay attention to what you think you’re ignoring — your subconscious hears every word.

    Language is the single most actionable choice we make on a daily basis. I am bluntly saying that language is where each individual who wants to know the score, starts and soon if we want to do help shine the light on the path to liberty. It is actionable right now to respect the power of language and to use it and receive it carefully.

    I refuse to call regression to tyranny “progressive.” I think that when people go along with it, they sabotage their future. I refuse to call government mandates for health insurance, “care.” It is a deception.
    We must all be wary in our own interests especially regarding one of the most actionable items in our daily lives, language. Because as you note, the world plays dirty. Life is not fair, it never has been and no one ever said it would be.

    We can only look out for ourselves. Presuming to right a wrong is for God or the courts. Which is why I think it is a legitimate use of the courts to bring manslaughter charges against those who have insisted on lockdown measures that have ended up causing people to die because they couldn’t live normally. It is normal to gather together inside and break bread.

  • Chris

    I left United on a multi-delayed business trip in Chicago O’Hare (left that airport too). This was one of many “Delayed” or “Cancelled” experiences with United that didn’t seem to happen with near the same frequency on other airlines.

    United consistently underperformed after over promising. When speaking to my peers, I was not alone. We all started to avoid United and the crossroads of O’Hare.

    When the users of a company consistently underperform the market reacts – marketing can try to turn this around. However, after losing hours of our life’s multiple times users learn. United will need to go through bankruptcy for me to consider using it again or to stop my advice to others to avoid it.

  • John C.

    The next “pandemic” will be the pandemic of liability and lawyers. Now that we are all apparently liable for the health of every person we come into contact with. Viewing our fellow humans as nothing more than transmitters of disease and virus is a sick turn of events. It dehumanizes us, along with the masks. We live in a sick society, in more ways than one.

  • Lee Stevenson

    I don’t comment on these posts so much these days, due to apathy mostly, but you guys really need a boots on the ground report.
    My position on the wutang flu has changed dramatically. Our sales manager has been admitted to intensive care, and 5 other workmates are home genuinely very sick, another 10 have flu symptoms. 7 have tested positive for Corona, the rest are waiting for results. This is in a company of 55ish employees.
    The management are crapping their pants… Fortunately for the day to day running of the company the website stays up and the Wearhouse crew remain healthy. Business continues.
    The Swedish government has today announced that bars will close at 10pm, groups sharing the same table in bars and restaurants will be reduced from 6 to 4, and commuters are strongly advised to wear masks during communal travel during rush hour. ( We in Sweden have been a hold out regarding masks. But I do see the value on a crowded train or bus)
    Seeing the effects first hand in real life, I reverse my opinion. This virus is more dangerous than any flu. It’s currently ripping thru the office guys… I’ve never even heard of a 38 year old admitted to intensive for the flu, and apparently it’s touch and go.. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
    While Bob’s story sounds crazy, and I understand it hits you freedom loving guys in the throat, the other side of the coin is that in your litigation based system, can any business afford to take a chance? A kid don’t have a mask, and 10 people on the flight get sick… Payday for the sick, and payout from the airline, what’s cheaper? I’m not saying it’s right, I’m saying it’s what any company that looks only at the bottom line for the shareholders would do.
    It’s not leftists running wild, it’s an artifact of the capitalist system that causes situations like this… No doubt if a socialist system was in place the same kind of crap would crop up, but we pays our entry and takes our chances.
    Throw the kid off the flight if it saves the airline a huge payout! I guarantee there was no moral or reasonable reasons there, only financial.

  • Edward

    Lee Stevenson,
    I’m sorry to hear that Sweden has chosen to go the wrong way. The science here in America shows that the spread happens far more in those who are in lockdown, 74%, than in those who are not. Restaurants were shown to not be a source of spread, having one 1-1/2% of the spread traced back to them. It is counterintuitive, but that is the science. We here in America are told to follow the science, but our fearful leaders impose non-scientific, emotional requirements — then they disobey their own orders. They know the truth but preach something else.

    Your leaders are starting to lean in that same flawed direction.

    If masks worked then California would have beat this disease last summer, and our fearful leaders would wear them when they think the public is not watching. If lockdowns worked, we would have beat this disease last April, and our fearful leaders would not keep being caught inside restaurants or otherwise breaking lockdown and social distancing rules.

  • janyuary

    “If lockdowns worked, we would have beat this disease last April …”

    Considering that after a year, more than 99.9 percent of Americans have either gotten this virus and are now fine or still remain free from the virus, I would say it is obviously proven now that we have beaten this disease.

    Isn’t a 99.9+ percent rate of wellness good enough? If it’s not, then a lot of people holding degrees are brazen incompetents, being given degrees when certainly the got much less than 99.9+ percent of test questions right.

    Or are mad scientists and doctors, given power of government, going to destroy their own future credibility by continuing to foist a 21st century bogeyman crafted to scaring his victims into ignoring down to earth arithmetic? Because credulous and careless media consumers so stupid as to ignore arithmetic, will pay a heavy consequence regardless of politics, science, or desire.

  • Ian C.


    Thanks for the link. I’m a couple minutes in and it looks like going in the right direction. Though I’ve to delay listening to it and the succeeding episodes until Christmas holidays. If it’s “fundamentally American” I guess I’ll like it. And when it comes from you, it has a high value to check it out.


    “Language is the single most actionable choice we make on a daily basis.”

    I don’t know whether that is true. What I care about is pushing the “medicine.” You seem to make it into a personal choice. But that’s not where we are. We don’t have decades to turn things around. The Free World is taken from us right now. We need successes by next Tuesday, so to speak.

    “Because as you note, the world plays dirty.”

    And that’s why I love playing dirty–if it’s inevitable you better learn to enjoy it. History judges us for one thing only, “were we successful?” History doesn’t ask whether we were “moral” or “nice.” History is only about the winners. And I want Liberty to triumph.

    Lee S.,

    “I don’t comment on these posts so much these days”

    Next to space and freedom, this website is good for reading about Bob’s radical counter-opinions to the mainstream in general. I adjusted my views a couple times thanks to it. And that is how we can profit from it, seeing two extremes–the mainstream and the radical objection to it. As it should be. Think one idea through into the extreme and then try to contradict it. That’s why I love reading all the stuff here, it’s the healthy antidote that enables you to make up your own mind.

  • Edward

    Ian C.,
    Thanks for the link.

    You’re welcome. Whittle blames himself, and by extension the rest of us, for the mess we are now in. I don’t think he phrased it this way, but the saying is that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and we were not vigilant enough. His point is that we all have to admit responsibility for losing our freedom and liberty and take responsibility for getting them back.

    California is lost. It slowly boiled the frog, and now the election laws virtually guarantee that only one party will appear on the ballot in all future November elections. It is now practicing tyranny and probing its ability to practice totalitarianism. The rest of the country is going the same way. Obey our rulers or else. In this case: get off the plane.

    The rest of America sent the Republicans to Washington to clean up the mess, and even gave them a president to lead the way, but the Republicans forgot why they were sent there and let us down. It is clear that a political solution is not longer possible, and Whittle is trying to figure out next steps. He may be thinking out loud, but hopefully between him, those he listens to, and other patriots, we will figure out another method to return freedom and liberty to this country, our states, and our businesses.

    There are signs around the country that we are mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore. Small businesses are disobeying shutdown orders, because to stay shut down means the end of the business. There is nothing to lose by protesting by remaining open. As I write this, the report is that Oregonians are in active protest that the public is banned from a public legislature session that they are legally allowed to watch. The Oregon State Police are not on the side of the law but on the side of the tyranny.

    Something is starting to happen, and it looks like government is doubling down on being the antiAmerican bad guy.

  • Ian C.


    “we will figure out another method to return freedom and liberty to this country, our states, and our businesses.”

    Yes, I’m curious to listen to his arguments and than add my thoughts as well. The more peaceful and constructive the better.

    “Something is starting to happen”

    I find that feeling not only in America but the entire West, generally speaking. We’re forced to come up with something or potentially doomed to oppressive rule.

  • Edward

    Ian C.,
    Ianto Watt has the idea that we should act locally. At least at first.

    His thought is that we lost the four E’s, and that these are now the enemy:
    But back then, they were our E’s. And lo and behold, when our editors, educators, experts and elites were hounded, we didn’t show up in their defense. We were too busy defending the Imperial front, far away from the home front. And they took our local ground. Which laid the foundation of their national network of like-minded ilk. We learn too late. What happens in our own county is always more important than what happens half a world away.

    Once again, we failed to vigilant. When our four E’s came under attack, we weren’t there for them. They were taken by the enemy, and now they are the enemy.

    So, the answer I give, when asked ‘what should we do’ about the obvious theft of our nation is this — take back your neighborhood first. And then your city and county. And free yourself from the Corona hypnosis. That is the very first step. Fearful people never win.

  • Edward

    Sorry. I messed up the blockquotes:

    But back then, they were our E’s. And lo and behold, when our editors, educators, experts and elites were hounded, we didn’t show up in their defense. We were too busy defending the Imperial front, far away from the home front. And they took our local ground. Which laid the foundation of their national network of like-minded ilk. We learn too late. What happens in our own county is always more important than what happens half a world away.



    So, the answer I give, when asked ‘what should we do’ about the obvious theft of our nation is this — take back your neighborhood first. And then your city and county. And free yourself from the Corona hypnosis. That is the very first step. Fearful people never win.

  • Ian C.


    Added to my holiday reading list.
    And yes, I agree. Act locally and go from there. The established societal institutions are taken over to large degrees, so start building new ones in parallel — essentially repeat the bottom-up approach the enemies used. Where appropriate connect to the old ones, see what one can do with them, but don’t rely on them or let them hold you back building the new ones. And I’d throw in networks to connect the local hubs, build a new grid for exchange, protection, and growth. It’s a global problem, it requires global thinking and distributed local action.
    Anyway, let me first go through your links in the next couple days.

  • Edward

    Ian C.
    Taking back our country could be difficult. Tyrannies prevent such action by making it hard to do as Watt suggests. The Soviet Union fell only after much of the military realized that their rulers were unable to adequately feed their, the military men’s, families. When the revolution came, too much of the military defected t the side of the revolutionary populace (or refused to fight) for the rest to put up an adequate defense.

    Other tyrannies succeed, because they keep their militaries happy enough to not defect or revolt.

    As tyranny tightens its grip on this country, we are running out of peaceful solutions. The political solution has been lost, since elections are no longer free of fraud. Government has taken sides in our elections, from the IRS, FBI, the National Intelligence Community, and even the Post Office. We have seen that there are many state governments no longer interested in free and fair elections, but that is hardly new for states like California, which legalized voter fraud a few years ago. The political solution is gone.

    What each of us can do may also be limited, but maybe if we all do it, then we can overwhelm the system. We might start with:
    Ignore The Rules & Restrictions Like They Do

  • Edward: I will begin to believe we can regain our freedom when I begin to see people not wearing masks. Right now, all I see is people muzzled wherever I go.

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