Did a jetBlue Flight Get Landing Priority Because Someone Claimed to Know Ryan Seacrest?

On the same day and at the same airport last year three pilots faked fuel emergencies in order to get priority for landing. But that was Kolkata, India, and the airlines in question were IndiGo, Air India, and SpiceJet.

You certainly don’t expect anything like that to happen in the U.S., although some pilots have a sense of humor that might lead certain passengers to think something like that is happening.

The pilot of JetBlue flight 424 from Los Angeles to New York JFK reportedly announced to passengers halfway through the flight that they’d be given priority to land in New York “because a competition winner, who was expected to meet [Ryan] Seacrest in [New York City] ahead of his New Year’s Eve event, was on board.”

Turns out a Katie Roberts, who had won an invitation to Seacrest’s “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” show, was on the flight and air-traffic control had given the Airbus A321 “priority handling.” Fellow fliers even gave Roberts a round of applause.

Because that’s (not) how it works, and separately Seacrest’s team says that “No one involved with [“New Year’s Rockin’ Eve”] that we checked with is aware of this person or any related promotion.”

In China commercial flights with VIP passengers get air traffic control priority. Those sorts of things are far more limited in the United States, and when they happen it’s not because of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon from Ryan Seacrest. Someone wishing to disprove me could, of course, pull up air traffic control conversations…

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 »

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  1. You can’t write one single post these days without a disparaging reference to India, can you? I’ve lost all respect for you. How about you stick to the topic at hand and leave your racist agenda at home. Then again, Drumpf has enabled people like you.

  2. Stu – I had to read the article again because I had no idea what you were talking about. I still have no idea what you are talking about. An analogy about a similar factual situation in India is “disparaging”? That is insane.

    I have never seen anything but fantastic advice to help me pay for my adventures on this blog.

    Gary please keep up the good work and Happy New Years to you and your family!

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