Family Gets Kicked Off JetBlue Flight to Vegas Over Birthday Cake

A family flying JetBlue from New York JFK to Las Vegas for a 40th birthday on May 3 brought along a cake from Tonnie’s Minis bakery for the celebration and that cake became a flash point that led to their removal from the plane.

Another flight attendant appeared moments later to first berate her colleague — then Cameron Burke.

“She said I was being non-compliant,” Burke recalled. “I said, ‘Miss, have you been drinking?’ Because her behavior was irrational and she stormed off.”

Another airline employee approached Burke and asked him to leave the flight, along with his family. He instead refused, pulled out his cell phone and started recording.

Instead of having the passengers removed the airline offloaded the whole aircraft. The family’s tickets were refunded (apparently at least some were TrueBlue redemptions) and the “family was ordered out of the JetBlue space.”

Their checked bags, however, flew to Vegas.

JetBlue’s version of the story:

  1. The cake was stored in an overhead bin with safety equipment, not meant for passenger carry ons

  2. They “refused several requests to move the dessert”

  3. The passengers then “became agitated, cursed and yelled at the crew”

  4. And they had the audacity to ask whether the crew member had been drinking (or, in JetBlue’s words, “made false accusations about a crewmember’s fitness to fly”)

The family flew United from Newark to Las Vegas the next day. They’ve been in touch with Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and plan to sue the airline.

(HT: Ken A.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Pingbacks

Comments

  1. You had me at Al Sharpton. He’s a ‘flash point’ for anyone that went to high school with him. Yeah yeah. I know. I’m not happy about it either.

  2. Open minded until “Sharpton”. Would I be over reaching to ask if these nice passengers were BLACK? Oh the oppression.what is this world coming to? SMH.

  3. You left out they called the cops and they arrived and said peace out Jetblue your on your own

  4. Who flies with cake in tow. I’m sorry but who did not think the cake would be ruined when they arrived in vegas. No more common sense. Have the cane made in vegans able waiting when you arrive. This frivolous law suit will get laughed out of court. And I hope they have to pay attorney fees to jet blue. Please to let alone sharpton show up. Sad indeed.

  5. Either the family is totally lying or the airline is. The airline claims he refused to move the cake but in the video we see the cake moved. The family really screwed themselves by contacting Al Sharpton though. Someone like that really hurts their credibility. We just need to hear from other passengers. If this guy was really flipping out or cursing out staff etc then there should be at least one other passenger that heard it. If nobody heard him do any of that then likely it didn’t happen and we have another example of flight crew members lying to save their job.

  6. Typical trump deplorable style comments…

    Black guys don’t have any legitimacy as advocates (or as president), just like “Mexican” judges are not fit for the job.

  7. It’s a country overrun with fat disgusting rednecks bloated with privilege. The rest of the world is aghast that people who never redeemed themselves on the greatest sin in human history instead doubled down on racism and think they’re going to get away with it having plush lives while everyone else lives in poverty and slave labor hell. The U.S. is not a sustainable democracy until substantial leveling is done, and any decent smart people would have taken the lead to see that this happens instead of continuiing to begrudge and now try to yank back 24 million poor people’s health care. You want a revolution? Remember that you are hanging one on at the same time you’re grinding your boot into people’s backs. You will deserve what you get, and people like me will be there recording it and making sure history gets it right.: Fat privileged socially piggish rednecks getting what they deserve from people they think they can still grind down farther.

  8. The crew was in the right to order the cake out of an emergency equipment storage area….if you don’t comply with removal…then hitch hike to Vegas!

  9. Asking flight crew (including attendants) is a touch point equivalent to joking about bombs in TSA security. Don’t be stupid.

    Also, I flew 175K miles last year, and I can tell you the only time that I have seen a second flight attendant appear is when a passenger is really belligerent. Just my personal experience.

  10. It’s really time to stop promoting these things. Seriously. 10 people get murdered every warm weekend in Chicago and it doesn’t even make the news. But give a moron a plane ticket and a few drinks and they make headlines. Enough.

  11. @CJ Don’t ever compare Sharpton to Obama. Sharpton has a documented history that shows why his credibility should be questioned and it has ZERO to do with the color of his skin.

  12. 1. How did the cake make it thru security. You are not allowed to bring food items thru security unless they are packaged.
    2. Why hassle with a cake? I know they have stores in Vegas. What was so important about this cake?
    3. Did they go back and make another cake to take on their United flight?
    3. Of course they are going to call Al Sharpton.

  13. There is a difference between asking and ORDERING. Airlines will always have problems when they rely on ORDERING. The cabin staff could have, checked the overhead bins, then approached the passengers and said, “Unfortunately we are not able to have anything in the overhead that has our emergence health equipment. I found a spot 6 rows down in an overhead, would you mind moving the cake there?”
    See, this is what works. Courtesy, courtesy works. The staff needs to be courteous to the passengers, offer them alternatives and ASK don’t order. When you ASK, not ORDER, people will cooperate.

  14. This is why United should have never settled with ano unruly passenger. Everyone is now looking for $$$$$ once they get on a flight.

  15. Tonnie Minis has some seriously good cupcakes. Almost worthy of some Dao-style rough stuff…

    Just ask Marcus Lemonis

  16. Per TSA… “Pies and Cakes” are allowed:

    https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/items/pies-and-cakes

    Why pie, but not Gatorade… or water? Beats me. JetBlue, prepare to eat some humble pie. Your flight attendants fell for a probable set up, but they should have known better. Wise up. Don’t go for the confrontation just because you think you can win.

    You even called the police given the bad rep that Delta, American, and United gained from their similar actions. Unless it is an explosive or a weapon, don’t overreact. For all you knew, they bought the cake on the safe side of the checkpoint. The point is, you didn’t know, and you let your flight attendants decide to handle a probable set up with a confrontation.

    But lets say it wasn’t a set up.
    One question: how was a passenger able to store something in a safety equipment zone? I mean, it wasn’t like the passenger wandered into the cockpit. Hopefully the equivalent of “do not enter or use this space” is well posted in the area they used. If so, you will want to post your side of the story quickly.
    But, like AA with the wheelchair incident, the passenger brought the cake all the way into the plane. They weren’t stopped at the gate or at the door of the plane. And when you confronted them, because they didn’t react quickly enough, because you wanted to leave on time, you called the police. Next time, take the late departure penalty, don’t call the police, and most importantly, don’t turn your problem into everyone else’s problem. NOT OUR PROBLEM. We just want to get on the plane, take off, enjoy the view, land, and be on our way. We don’t want to be in the middle of every rule enforcement or passenger situation that comes along just because you want to make a point.

  17. Jetblue: If you’re listening, you have a reputation for better customer service than would ever allow an FA to confront a passenger like this with anything less than friendly helpfulness. If you’re going to start ordering passengers around and then daring them to talk back, then you have forfeited that reputation worth tens of millions of dollars in good will and are now in the barrel with Delta, United and American. Beware that we are at the ready with cellphones to document these abuses which will make your belligerent FA’s famous wherever they go for life, and will keep running up the cost of letting them behave this way to your airline into the hundreds of millions until it reaches United’s record of one billion dollars of their airline’s entire market value in just a few days reached after Dr. Dao was confronted in this same adversarial way. Your choice. We are NOT going to tolerate, no matter how many authoritarian bootlickers from the idiot Trump ranks toady up to defend you.

  18. When are people going to realize that safety is first; shame on you for mouthing off and causing your family shame and the humiliation of being kicked off; kids scarred for life big mouth!!
    and yes I AM Black

  19. Ahh, more to the story. I like this website, since I’m white I learn a lot about the experiences many people who are black experience in the United States.

    “As a part of their carry-on luggage, the family brought on a cake from the renowned Tonnie’s Minis bakery in Harlem, which they stored in an overhead cabin on the plane.

    Cameron Burke said one of the flight attendants “nicely” asked that he remove the cake from that compartment, so he placed it in another one.

    “She then asked me to move it to underneath the seat in front of me, I did,” he told the newspaper.

    The situation soon escalated, however, after a second flight attendant appeared and began berating her colleague about what she’d told Cameron Burke about where he could store the cake.

    “She was pointing to her, [asking] ‘Did you tell him he couldn’t put anything in the overhead compartment?’” Cameron Burke told ABC7 News. “I had approached them, and I said everything was fine, and she said, ‘Sir, this does not involve you.’”

    Cameron Burke said the second flight attendant then told him he was being noncompliant, after which he asked if she had been drinking “because her behavior wasn’t normal.” Yet another JetBlue employee approached the New Jersey man and asked that he and his family leave the plane, the New York Daily News reported. That’s when he pulled out his phone and began recording.

    http://atlantablackstar.com/2017/05/15/jetblue-kicks-black-nj-family-off-flight-birthday-cake-says-video-doesnt-show-whole-incident/

    He moved the cake 3 times, into two different overhead bins and finally on the floor under the seat in front of him. Each time he was asked to move the cake he did. Doesn’t sound non compliant to me. Sounds like a bad arrogant flight attendant.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *