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Here’s another asinine story of an airline kicking someone off a plane. But this one, like most of the others, has us scratching our collective heads.
The Burke family from New Jersey says they were kicked off a JetBlue flight to Las Vegas over a birthday cake they brought onto the plane. However, as we’re sure you’re not surprised to find out, the airline is telling a different story.
“We were just so happy. Couldn’t wait to get to Las Vegas, and all of a sudden this occurred, and my two children are screaming, crying. They’re confused not knowing what’s going on – they were traumatized,” says (mom and wife) Minta Burke.
As has become a necessary custom and practical practice, video of the incident is available where we see and hear Burke’s son crying, saying they followed directions and did nothing wrong.
So just what was the violation that JetBlue claimed caused a security risk? A birthday cake, initially stored in the overhead bin. A flight attendant told (dad and husband) Cameron Burke he had to move it. He moved the cake, and placed it under the seat. They say the situation escalated when a second flight attendant confronted the first flight attendant, and whatever was going on between them, he says, wasn’t pretty.
“You know, you could see the gestures – then she was pointing to her, did you tell him he couldn’t put anything in the overhead compartment? I had approached them, and I said everything was fine, and she said, ‘sir, this does not involve you. When she told me I had been non-compliant, then I said ‘ma’am, had you been drinking?’ because her behavior was not normal,” Cameron Burke told ABC7.
Here’s the actual video of the incident on the plane:
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Eventually police at JFK Airport were brought on board. Then, an announcement was made saying everyone had to get off. Passengers were clearly seen taking the Burke family’s side.
According to People.com, the video does not show the full context of what occurred.
However, JetBlue spokesperson Morgan Johnston tells PEOPLE in a statement that “the video circulating does not depict the entire incident and only starts after the objectionable behavior occurred.”
According to the airline, the family stored the birthday cake as well as other items in an overhead bin reserved for safety and emergency equipment and “refused multiple requests from the crew to remove the items.”
“The customers became agitated, cursed and yelled at the crew, and made false accusations about a crewmember’s fitness to fly,” JetBlue said. “After the customers refused to speak with a team leader about the situation, the Port Authority Police Department was called and the entire aircraft deplaned. The Captain determined the customers’ behavior demonstrated a risk for additional escalation in air and would not be allowed to fly.”
But Cameron says the plane’s other passengers were on their side.
“The passengers were very understanding. They knew that this was a strange situation,” Cameron says.
“It’s just crazy. I’m surprised. I’m surprised. I thought highly of JetBlue before,” adds Minta.
Cameron Burke says he never cursed or raised his voice. He says at no point was his family told why they were being kicked off the plane. In fact, they were immediately refunded at the terminal, no questions asked, so they say it all doesn’t seem to add up.
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