A speech pathologist from Jersey City, New Jersey, posted video showing JetBlue staff allegedly kicking him, his wife and their two kids off of a plane bound for Las Vegas — supposedly inspired by a disagreement over where to store a buttercream birthday cake.
Cameron Burke told the NY Daily News that on May 3, he and his family had planned to fly out of Kennedy Airport to Las Vegas, to celebrate his wife Minta’s 40th birthday. Included in their carry-on luggage was a buttercream cake from Tonnie’s Minis bakery in New York.
According to Burke, when the family boarded the plane, they stored the cake along with their other luggage in the overhead bin just before taking their last-row seats. Cameron Burke told the Daily News that “A flight attendant nicely asked me to remove the cake from that compartment, so I moved it to another one. She then asked me to move it to underneath the seat in front of me, I did.”
Then another flight attendant appeared, first with complaints for her colleague — and then with complaints aimed at Burke.
“She said I was being non-compliant,” Burke says. “I said, ‘Miss, have you been drinking?’ Because her behavior was irrational and she stormed off.”
At that point, according to BUrke, a third airline employee told Burke and his family to get off the plane. That’s when Burke took out his cell phone and started recording.
The video starts with a couple seconds of unintelligible speech, then a security guard asking “Has that since been resolved?”
Mrs. Burke responded “Yes! It’s right here!” and motioned toward the floor, where the cake presumably sat off-screen. Her crying little boy also motioned in the same direction and said “It’s right over there!”
After several second of silence, showing the Burke family sitting uneasily waiting for the matter to be resolved, a semi-intelligeble offscreen voice (presumably from security staff) said he couldn’t see any wrongdoing, which led to Cameron Burke saying “Thank you! Thank you! I moved the cake! It’s a birthday cake.”
At the video’s 1:35 mark, the security office is seen on the cellphone video, saying “No one did anything wrong … unfortunately, they’re going to have to rebook everyone.”
“Rebook everyone?” Burke asked incredulously.
“We’re trying to avoid that … this is JetBlue,” the security guard says.
Burke told the Daily News that the Burkes were kicked off the plane but their luggage was still flown to law Vegas, where Burke’s mother-in-law picked it up.
But JetBlue spokesman Doug McGraw said the Burkes were at fault for storing the cake in a compartment set aside for emergency safety equipment, then refusing to move the cake when asked. “The customers became agitated, cursed and yelled at the crew, and made false accusations about a crewmember’s fitness to fly,” McGraw said. (Despite McGraw’s claim that the family stashed the cake in an overhead compartment and refused to move it when asked, by the time Burke recorded his video, the actions of the family and the security guards all seemed to indicate that the cake was on the floor under a seat.)
Burke has said he intends to file a lawsuit against JetBlue.