15, May 2017
An African American family has been kicked off a JetBlue flight for carrying a birthday cake that flight crew said posed a “safety risk.” The incident took place at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on May 3, when Cameron Burke, his wife and their two children tried to board a Las Vegas-bound flight en route to a birthday party for the mother.
The flight crew gave the Burkes conflicting advice on where to store their birthday cake and ended up forcing them off the plane although they were fully compliant, said the family. A video clip from the incident shows that the Burkes were forced off the plane even after Port Authority officers showed up at the scene and saw “no wrongdoing” on their part.
JetBlue confirmed Sunday that the family was asked to leave the airplane after they insisted on storing the cake in “improper” places and refused to move it. “The customers became agitated, cursed and yelled at the crew, and made false accusations about a crew member’s fitness to fly,” JetBlue spokesman Doug McGraw said.
Apparently, one of the crew first asked the family to move the cake from their overhead bin to another one and then told them to store it under a seat. However, another flight attendant appeared and asked the family to leave.
“I just want to know why,” Cameron’s wife, Minta, is heard shouting on the video. “Exactly!” Cameron replies. “For a cake?” McGraw said that all passengers were deplaned and rebooked as a result. The plane then took off with the family’s luggage.
The Burkes flew to Las Vegas on a United Airlines flight the next day. However, Cameron said he was going to file a lawsuit against JetBlue.