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JetBlue Faces Antisemitism Lawsuit From Jewish Man Who Was Booted Off Flight Because He Didn’t Want to Sit Next to a Woman

JetBlue Faces Antisemitism Lawsuit From Jewish Man Who Was Booted Off Flight Because He Didn’t Want to Sit Next to a Woman

a jet plane in the sky

JetBlue is facing an antisemitism lawsuit brought by an orthodox Jewish man from New York who claims the airline booted him from a recent flight because he didn’t want to sit next to a woman and had arranged to switch seats with another passenger.

The incident happened on New Year’s Eve when Abraham Lunger, an Orthodox Jew who was easily identifiable from the black coat and hat he wore, as well as his distinctive Payos sidelocks, tried to fly with JetBlue from Palm Springs to New York JFK.

Lunger was flying with two female companions, but their seat assignments had been separated, and they weren’t sitting together. The check-in agent wasn’t able to alter the seating assignments but, after being advised of Lunger’s request not to be sat next to a female, suggested he ask to swap seats once on the airplane.

Orthodox Jewish men are rarely happy to sit next to female travelers who aren’t blood relatives and will often ask to switch seats if they end up sitting next to a woman.

This religious requirement is generally accepted by most airlines, but it has caused a great deal of controversy in the past, not least in Israel, where national flag carrier El Al Israel Airlines was banned from asking female passengers to switch seats in order to accommodate the needs of Orthodox Jewish men, following a landmark legal ruling in 2017.

Lunger says he didn’t ask or expect JetBlue to force a woman to switch seats, but when he realized a woman was going to be sitting next to him, he simply stood up in the aisle and asked fellow passengers if they would mind swapping with him.

Despite finding another male passenger who was happy to switch seats, the lawsuit claims a flight attendant “yelled” at him to return to his original seat.

“At no time while Mr. Lunger was trying to observe his religious beliefs, did he force, become loud, or use a stern voice to intimidate any other passengers into changing seats with him,” the lawsuit, recently filed in a New York district court, claims.

The flight attendant then reportedly called the pilot to the back of the plane, who in turn told Lunger that he couldn’t switch seats because it would cause a weight and balance issue.

When Lunger refused, the pilot ordered him off the plane.

JetBlue left Lunger and his travel companions in Palm Springs without assistance and even refused to return their luggage from the plane so the flight wasn’t further delayed.

Lunger is suing JetBlue for a slew of discrimination and civil rights offenses and is asking the court to award him compensatory and punitive damages.

In 2022, JetBlue was sued by one of the biggest Kosher food certification companies in the United States over allegations that the airline sold food that it claimed was Kosher using a ‘spurious’ and ‘unauthorized’ Kosher trademark.

The company behind the lawsuit, New Jersey-based Kof-K, says it has no record of ever certifying the food product in question as Kosher – raising the possibility that JetBlue was selling food marked as Kosher when it wasn’t Kosher at all.

View Comments (6)
  • Jetblue is terrible in all aspects these days

    The man didn’t cause a problem (even though he had a strange request)

    He simply asked his fellow passenger to change seats with him. Which the fellow agreed to. The flight attendants love to get nasty and show control.

    Airline experiences have gone down the drain. Jetblue leads the way. Honestly their merger with sprit made sense. Both are against normal customer service.

    I hope he wins

  • If the facts are true, a slam-dunk case. Clearly the airline let’s passengers voluntarily swap seats. If they deny religious Jews the same option, that is illegal . . . and not that difficult to believe this could be true based upon my own experiences on JetBlue and some of the unprofessional misfit FAs I’ve encountered on their planes (and on the ground).

  • This feels like a “big, if true” scenario, in that once the airline’s side of the story comes out, the situation painted by the passenger will probably be quite different than what’s in the initial lawsuit.

  • sounds like passenger didn’t pay to pre-assign seating together with related females, then causes trouble with a special request.

  • What???!!! Orthodox jews causing issues on airplanes? Shocking and unexpected.

    OJ’s rank only slightly behind another certain ethnic group (that likes to fly and make trouble on Spirit) when it comes to causing issues on airplanes. Don’t get me wrong, I love my fellow circumsized brothers, but that bunch are another story. Israel got the situation handled right when its courts told those yahoos to pack sand on their airplane seat requests.

    Comments from pasty, white midwestern goyim on this subject will not be entertained as they are simply clueless.

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