Eighteen Jewish teenage girls were met by security after arriving at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol on a flight from Kiev on Thursday.
The Orthodox girls were part of a group of 56 who had been on a tour of Jewish sites in Europe, reported Hamodia.
According to a spokesperson from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the group had not complied with coronavirus measures during the flight, reported Netherlands News Live.
However, Herman Loonstein, the lawyer for the girls, said that their treatment was “disproportionate.”
KLM is claiming that the passengers took off their masks when they weren’t supposed to and also walked through isles on the plane without wearing masks. According to KLM’s spokesperson, the group did not listen to a flight attendant who asked them to comply with the rules.
They were then met by security at the gate when the plane landed in Amsterdam.
Loonstein said that because KLM does not serve kosher meals on European flights, the girls had brought their own food. This fact was confirmed by the KLM spokesperson.
When two members of the group became hungry, they decided to eat their own food.
KLM said that this was only allowed within specified times, and claimed that the group “mainly used it as an excuse not to have to wear a mask,” reported Netherlands News Live.
This is the second time the group has been accused by KLM of rowdiness.
On July 20, when taking a flight from New York to Amsterdam, KLM said in a statement that the same group of girls on multiple occasions refused to follow in-flight instructions.
“On arrival in Amsterdam, this group was again warned by the KLM security service and pointed out the possible consequences of misconduct. It was also made very clear that this was the last warning.”
The group was given an emergency visa on Friday, allowing them to leave the airport. They will reportedly fly back to the US on Sunday or Monday, according to their lawyer who said he doesn’t know if the flight will be with KLM and that the girls are “fearful” to again fly with the airline.
According to a report in Hamodia, the official cause of the girls’ troubles with KLM is being described by the airline as “unruly behavior” and “refus[ing] to comply with crew instructions” including accusations of cursing at the flight crew.
The allegations were denied by the group who said they complied with all the regulations and wore masks at all times except when eating.
A KLM official also reportedly threatened to ban them from the airline.
The brother of one of the girls alleged in an interview with Hamodia that the flight crew were “harassing the girls the entire time.”
He added that while there were no anti-Semitic comments or statements by the flight crew, he believed that “this is obviously anti-Semitism. They targeted 18 Jewish girls, in alphabetical order, and they didn’t even bother giving a reason.”
The airline, for its part, denied the allegations and said in a statement to Hamodia that the issue was one of safety.
“KLM Royal Dutch Airlines does not tolerate any form of unruly behavior towards passengers or crew. When passengers endanger flight safety and thus the safety of themselves, other passengers and the crew, we take this very seriously. This also applies to passengers not adhering to COVID-19 measures.”
However, the girl’s brother insisted that there was more to the story and that the girls were discriminated against.
“They were adhering to their rules and instructions the entire time. In fact, many of the girls had slept through most of the flight and had no interactions with the flight staff,” he maintained.
Most of the girls are from Monsey, Williamsburg and Borough Park, New York.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)