Engine of plane
Engine of planeiStock

Three haredi passengers were removed from a flight earlier this week en route from California to New York, after they changed seats for religious reasons.

The incident began when an elderly haredi man who was on the flight from Palm Springs, California, to JFK, New York, sat down in an empty seat.

When the flight attendant asked him why he moved and asked him to return to his seat, two Jewish women on the flight explained that it was a religious matter and he refused to sit next to a woman.

The women offered to switch places with him and another passenger, Ron Pesaro, also offered the elderly man his seat in order to settle the matter.

In an interview with Forward that reported on the incident, Pesaro said that at this point the flight captain and a security guard showed up and told the haredi passengers that they had to get off the plane.

The security guard was quoted as saying that, "The captain and crew have made this decision. You are getting off this plane," adding that, "changing seats is a violation regarding weight imbalance. You have to sit in the places assigned to you."

Rachel Sklar, who was also on the flight, posted about the incident on X. "They said it was blatant antisemitism. I said, 'That's for sure. The whole thing was really upsetting. It seemed very unnecessary and quite confusing ... Why is Jetblue ejecting orthodox Jewish passengers for asking to change seats? I’ve been sitting here the whole time and it was fine..'"

Sklar claimed that flight attendants have wide discretion when it comes to changing seats. According to her, changing seats is a common phenomenon and happens for various reasons, such as sitting together with family members, or for other reasons.