A New Jersey family was on their way to Las Vegas to celebrate a birthday when JetBlue crew members kicked them off of their flight over a harmless birthday cake.
Cameron Burke, his wife and their two kids were flying on May 3 from Kennedy Airport to Sin City, with plans to meet family there for his spouse Minta’s 40th birthday party.
The cake from the renowned Tonnie’s Minis bakery was included as part of their carry-on luggage — and placed in an overhead bin aboard the plane when the family took their seats in the last row.
“A flight attendant nicely asked me to remove the cake from that compartment, so I moved it to another one,” said Cameron, a speech pathologist from Jersey City.
“She then asked me to move it to underneath the seat in front of me, I did.”
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.
Two Port Authority police officers were called to the plane. Burke claims they did an investigation where they found he did nothing wrong.
“The officers took down my information and left the plane,” said Burke.
Burke’s 7-year-old son Cameron Jr. began crying and his 9-year-old daughter Camille was scared, he said.
JetBlue reps then asked the everyone on the full flight to exit in order to get the Burke family off. The family’s tickets and reward points were refunded, and Burke says his family was ordered out of the JetBlue space.
Their luggage went to Las Vegas, and was collected by his mother-in-law.
JetBlue insists the Burkes were at fault — not for bringing the cake on board, but after storing it in a compartment designated for emergency and safety equipment. The family refused several requests to move the dessert, according to the airline.
“The customers became agitated, cursed and yelled at the crew, and made false accusations about a crewmember’s fitness to fly,” said JetBlue spokesman Doug McGraw.
“After the customers refused to speak with a team leader about the situation, the Port Authority Police Department was called and the entire aircraft deplaned.”
The flight’s captain made the call to boot the family, and all the other passenger reboarded for the flight to Vegas.
Burke managed to book a United Airlines flight out of Newark for Las Vegas the next day. He has since reached out to the National Action Network, and intends to file a lawsuit against JetBlue.
“I want the flight attendant fired, she has no business serving the public,” said Burke. “I hope JetBlue will retrain their staff and recreate the culture I once loved.”
If they made it through TSA, past the gate agents, and onto the plane — the cake really shouldn’t have been an issue.
— CeFaan Kim (@CeFaanKim) May 14, 2017