A family on its way to celebrate a birthday in Las Vegas earlier this month said it was kicked off a JetBlue flight due to where they could store the birthday cake they brought aboard the flight, even after; the family said they complied with crew member instructions to have the cake put on the floor.
The airline did confirm that the incident took place May 3 on Flight 611 that was bound for Las Vegas from JFK International Airport in New York.
However, the airline disputes the passengers’ account by saying the family’s removal had been justified due to their behavior that had demonstrated a risk for more escalation once the flight was airborne.
The incident hit the news on Saturday after the family’s video had been published.
The couple was identified as being from New Jersey and told a local newspaper there that the trip was arranged as a 40th birthday surprise for the wife. The plan was to fly with their children into Las Vegas to meet relatives.
They first had put the cake into the overhead bin. However, one of the flight attendants told them nicely to remove it, so they put it into another overhead bin.
They were then asked to put it underneath the seat in front of them and they obliged.
However, at that time another flight attendant appeared and started to speak harshly to the first attendant.
The couple approached the attendants and said all was fine but the second attendant said what the two were discussing did not have anything to do with them.
JetBlue’s version is that the passengers were agitated, yelled and cursed at crew members while making false accusations about the fitness of one of the attendants to fly.
The airline also said the two passengers would not speak with the crew members’ team leader regarding the situation.
Port Authority police were called to the scene and the entire plane was emptied.
Video that the couple recorded captured the two police officers asking questions about the family. The couple’s two children appeared visibly upset with the daughter at one point telling her father she was scared.
The police officers finally tell the couple no one is in trouble but they need to make a report and leave the plane.
JetBlue through a spokesperson said the video that was published did not depict the full incident and starts only after the objectionable behavior had occurred.
JetBlue said the flight’s captain made the final decision that the family could not fly.