A family of four allege they were kicked off JetBlue flight enroute to a birthday celebration in Las Vegas this month over a birthday cake storage tussle though the family claim they followed the instructions of the cabin crew to move the cake to the floor.
The airline confirmed the incident which occurred on 3 May aboard JetBlue Flight 611 before takeoff from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. However, the airline’s authority claim that the passengers were removed from the flight because of their "behavior demonstrated as a risk for additional escalation in air."
Cameron and Minta Burke of New Jersey, told the New York Daily News that the trip had been arranged as a surprise for Minta's 40th birthday. The plan had been to fly with their two children to Las Vegas, where they would meet up with relatives - and they had brought with them a buttercream cake from Tonnie's Minis bakery in Harlem, according to the newspaper.
Cameron Burke told the Daily News that they first put the cake in an overhead bin, but a flight attendant "nicely" asked them to remove it. So he moved it to another one, he said.
"She then asked me to move it to underneath the seat in front of me," Cameron Burke told the newspaper. "I did." At this point, he said, a second flight attendant intervened and began accosting the first flight attendant.
"She was pointing to her, '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.' When she told me I had been non-compliant, then I said 'Ma'am, had you been drinking?' Because her behavior was not normal."
JetBlue said in a statement that "the customers became agitated, cursed and yelled at the crew, and made false accusations about a crew member's fitness to fly." They also "refused to speak with a team leader about the situation," the airline said.
Port Authority Police Department was called in and the entire aircraft made to deplane, according to the JetBlue statement. Video recorded by Cameron Burke captured two Port Authority officers on the plane asking questions of the family. On one side of the aisle, Minta children are seated together; Cameron Burke is seated across the aisle from them.
Cameron Burke told the New York Daily News that his family booked a flight to Las Vegas on United Airlines the following day - and that he wants the JetBlue flight attendant fired.
"She has no business serving the public," he told the newspaper. "I hope JetBlue will retrain their staff and recreate the culture I once loved." The family's account is the latest in a string of high-profile, airline-related incidents captured on video.