JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes went on “CBS This Morning” on Tuesday and addressed an incident on his airline’s incident that made headlines, in which a family was kicked off a flight after a dispute that started with a birthday cake.
Here’s the video that was shared showing part of the incident:
And here is Hayes explaining what happened:
According to Hayes:
“What happened here was a customer stored two items. One was a cake, another was a bag, in a part of the airplane reserved for safety equipment, and we train our crew that those lockers have to be kept only for safety equipment.
“And the family concerned ignored repeated requests to move it. Our crew even moved it at one point for them, and they moved it back, and then they ... made some sort of allegations against the crew, and it got to a point where the captain felt, balancing the interests of all the other customers on the airplane and the crew, the right thing to do was to ask that family to leave the airplane.
“It was not about the birthday cake.”
Hayes’ explanation echoes a statement that JetBlue released on the incident. “(The customer) refused multiple requests from the crew to remove the items … became agitated, cursed and yelled at the crew, and made false accusations about a crew member’s fitness to fly,” the statement read.
It contradicts the family’s side of the story, as told by Cameron Burke, one of the passengers who was asked to leave the airplane.
“A flight attendant nicely asked me to remove the cake from that compartment, so I moved it to another one,” Burke told the New York Daily News. “She then asked me to move it to underneath the seat in front of me. I did.”
At that point, he said, another flight attendant showed up and started to scold the first attendant.
“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?'” Burke told WABC-TV.
Burke said he decided to intervene.
“I had approached them, and I said everything was fine,” he said. “And she said, ‘Sir, this does not involve you.’
“She said I was being non-compliant,” Burke told the New York Daily News. “I said, ‘Miss, have you been drinking?’ Because her behavior was irrational, and she stormed off.”
Burke and his family were kicked off the plane shortly afterward.
Burke told WABC-TV that he didn’t yell or curse during the incident.
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