Roughly 100 Orthodox Jews say they were booted from German flight after dispute

'We apologize to all the passengers unable to travel on this flight, not only for the inconvenience, but also for the offense caused and personal impact,' Lufthansa says

About 100 Orthodox Jews from New York making their way to Europe for a religious pilgrimage said they were banned from a flight in Germany because just a few were not wearing masks. 

"Due to operational reasons coming from the flight from New York, for all passengers here we have to cancel you on this flight," Lufthansa agents reportedly told the Jewish passengers, according to Jewish news outlet Hamodia.

Roughly 100 Orthodox Jews departed from JFK in New York City on May 3 to Frankfurt, Germany, for a layover before heading to Hungary for a pilgrimage. Several different groups of Jews making their way to Europe were on the flight, according to Mamodia.


Masks are not required on U.S. flights, but Germany still has a law on the books mandating masks for travel. When the passengers from the New York City flight tried to board a flight to Budapest from Frankfurt, they were all denied permission to board, according to the passengers. 


A Lufthansa aircraft starts at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, Saturday, March 7, 2020. Germany's biggest airline, Lufthansa, said it would cut up to 50% of its flights in the next few weeks, depending on how the virus outbreak develops. It said i (ASSOCIATED PRESS  / AP Images)

Some of the passengers who were masked reportedly objected to the decision but to no avail, according to witnesses. 

"They explicitly said that nobody who is dressed alike on that [JFK] plane is going to board the Lufthansa plane to Budapest," a group member, Nachman Kahana, told Hamodia.

Kahana said that "one or two people" did not wear masks on the flight to Germany, and noted there had also been an issue with "one of the stewards." Other witnesses, including a police officer, also reported that there were only two passengers who did not wear masks, Hamodia reported. 


A video on social media showed a man questioning a Lufthansa agent about the decision and noted that he was not with the group, but that all Jews were denied boarding for the next leg of their trip. 

"Is this a Lufthansa decision that all Jewish people on that flight, we can’t go on any other flight today?" the man asked in the video. "Because this is 2022, and this is a Western country. So this is to go to upper management because this is an [anti-Semitic act]."

Fox News Digital reached out to Lufthansa on the matter but did not immediately receive a response. 

The Germany-based airline addressed the matter in a statement shared on social media. Lufthansa acknowledged the incident saying, "On May 4, a large number of booked passengers were denied boarding on their onward flight with LH 1334 from Frankfurt to Budapest. Lufthansa regrets the circumstances surrounding the decision to exclude the affected passengers from the flight, for which Lufthansa sincerely apologizes."


Planes stand on the tarmac during a pilots strike of German airline Lufthansa at Frankfurt airport, Germany, November 23, 2016. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski (REUTERS / Reuters)

The company went on to say it is still reviewing the facts and circumstances of the day, and that it regrets that the large group was denied boarding rather than just the non-compliant guests.

"We apologize to all the passengers unable to travel on this flight, not only for the inconvenience, but also for the offense caused and personal impact," the company said.

The company added that what happened is not consistent with Lufthansa's policies and that it has zero tolerance for racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination of any type.


The groups ultimately were able to make it to Budapest after booking other flights, the New York Post reported.