Another day, and yet another story of airline customers claiming they were treated poorly while traveling: This time it’s a New Jersey family who says they were kicked off a recent JetBlue flight after a mixup about where to stow a birthday cake.
The family of four had booked tickets to fly out of John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City on May 3 to Las Vegas with plans to celebrate the mom’s 40th birthday with their family, reports The New York Daily News.
They brought a buttercream cake from a well-known bakery along, and had stowed it in an overhead bin near their seats in the last row.
“A flight attendant nicely asked me to remove the cake from that compartment, so I moved it to another one,” the man told the NYDN. “She then asked me to move it to underneath the seat in front of me, I did.”
But when another flight attendant got involved and asked her colleague why she had told the man he couldn’t put the cake in the overhead bin, the situation suddenly escalated.
“She said I was being non-compliant,” he says. “I said, ‘Miss, have you been drinking?’ Because her behavior was irrational and she stormed off.”
That’s when another airline employee told him that he, his wife, their 9-year-old daughter, and 7-year-old would have to leave the plane. He refused, and started recording instead.
Port Authority police officers were called, but as seen in the man’s video, they told him he and his family hadn’t done anything wrong, but that JetBlue policy required them to rebook.
“They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, huh?” the man says in his video. “It’s in New york — we didn’t even get there.”
JetBlue had everyone on the flight deplane so the family could get off the plane. Their tickets and reward points were refunded, and the family managed to book a flight for the next day to Las Vegas out of Newark.
The airline says the family was at fault for storing the cake in a compartment meant for emergency and safety equipment, and claims they refused several requests to move the item.
“The customers became agitated, cursed and yelled at the crew, and made false accusations about a crewmember’s fitness to fly,” a JetBlue spokesman said in a statement. “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 man says he never cursed or raised his voice, ABC-7 reports. He’s now planning to file a lawsuit against JetBlue.
“I hope JetBlue will retrain their staff and recreate the culture I once loved,” he told the NYDN.