Did JetBlue Kick Passenger Off For Tweeting?

There’s a story getting quite a bit of media attention about a lady that was kicked off a JetBlue flight between Philadelphia and Boston on Tuesday night.

Apparently someone joked about the aircraft’s alcohol supply, which made the pilot think they were accusing him of being drunk. Via CNN:

An hour after JetBlue Flight 760 was scheduled to depart Philadelphia for Boston, a fellow passenger joked about the aircraft’s alcohol supply.

Another passenger joked about wishing for a fully stocked bar on the flight, Carter-Knight told CNN affiliate WPVI. The pilot misunderstood the joke and took it to be an accusation that he had been drinking.

“The pilot ran out and said, ‘That’s it; everyone back up at the gate; I’ve been accused of being intoxicated,’ ” Carter-Knight said.

Well that’s really odd to begin with, though that’s not even what caused the problem here. From there, the passenger in question Tweeted about the situation, and claims she was kicked off the flight because of her social media coverage of the event.

Here’s what a JetBlue spokesperson had to say:

“The customer was not kicked off because of her tweets,” JetBlue spokeswoman Tamara Young wrote in an email. “There were other customers that also tweeted and boarded the plane. As we shared, it is not our practice to remove a customer for expressing criticism of their experience in any medium. This customer however was denied boarding due to unruly behavior and creating a disturbance by the gate area.”

Her Twitter handle is @drinkwaterevent, so take a look at the 30+ Tweets she made about the flight. I think it paints a clearer picture of what actually may have happened.

She starts by (more or less) Tweeting the same thing a handful of times:

JetBlue-Tweets-1

From there she Tweets a handful of media outlets pictures of the boarding area:

JetBlue-Tweets-3

And then she claims she was denied boarding, and tells the media where to contact her:

JetBlue-Tweets-2

Ultimately we have no clue what happened, though I certainly wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that JetBlue kicked her off for her Tweets. I think a much more likely scenario is that she was telling the ground crew about her Tweets, and at some point they interpreted it as threatening or abusive. After all, how else would they have known that she was Tweeting?

More than anything I’m curious about how the pilot situation happened. Either someone else needed to be kicked off the plane, or a mental health check is in order for someone…

What do you make of the JetBlue Tweet situation?

Comments

  1. Yeah I saw this last night and my first reaction was that there is probably something more to this story than what she suggested.

    I mean there have certainly been instances of airlines / gate agents / flight attendants abusing their power, but generally speaking, I haven’t found that to be the case.

  2. People need to calm the eff down. Same as the Etihad story from last night. There is a very high propensity for a flight to go wrong – weather, MX, crowds, bad moods, screaming kids, etc.

    Stop tweeting. Stop joking. Stop whining. Stop using words you don’t really understand. (Self-inflicted?!?)

    Just get on the plane, buckle up, and read a book or watch some TV on your favorite device. No one cares that you were joking. No one cares how important you are. (I suppose people do care if the pilot’s drunk…)

    We all NEED to get home. Or to our meeting. Or to the start of our vacation. Most of us aren’t on the plane because we had nothing else to do on a Thursday so we thought it’d be cool to buy a ticket and fly somewhere.

    And as you correctly say, you get so much further with kindness. Almost comically so. How many times have I gone up to the counter after some jerk yells at the agent and received a better seat, an upgrade, or a voucher with a simple “Wow – so sorry you had to listen to that guy…”

    Treat people like humans. Easy AND fun.

  3. So confusing. How would the passengers even question the alcohol supply while on the ground? I could see this being a joking comment to a flight attendant once you got up in the air, ordered a drink and found that they had already ran out of what you wanted. If this happened on the ground, something is definitely missing from the story. I wonder if someone called 911 from the plane and accused the pilot of being drunk and the social media person got the finger pointed at her.

  4. Airline employees were given too much power after 9/11. A pilot, gate agent, FA, anyone can make your life miserable if they do not like you for some reason. There has been several cases of a simple complain about a seat not working, bloggers taking pictures inside the cabin, complain about delays, passengers wearing what a FA considered to be an offensive T-shirt, etc… It is getting out of control and now you need to be quiet otherwise they place you in the “non fly list” and your life is basically destroyed by someone that just decided to cause you trouble. I agree that if a passenger is a real threat, it is violent, offensive, etc… that should be taken care of but someone has to tell airline employees that they should concentrate in doing their job.

  5. I cannot believe that an airline would kick someone off a flight simply for tweeting about something. That would be mind-bogglingly stupid, given the adverse publicity that would result. There is most definitely more to this story.

  6. This is why I would rather drive. Overly defensive pilot and gate agents with way too much authority. I’m almost afraid to say the airlines are abusing their power in fear I’ll be placed on the no fly list. I’m sure that they legitimately felt threatened by this woman….. sarcastically speaking of course.

  7. As none of her fellow passengers have come forward stating that she was “unruly” or otherwise “disruptive” I’m inclined to believe that one or more of the FA was on a power trip, noticed her taking pics, found out she was tweeting re: the delay and retaliated. If she was really being disruptive and unruly the airport police would have been involved.

  8. I love this sentence from the full story:

    “In this instance, the customer received a refund and chose to fly on another carrier.”

    I guess if I was kicked off a flight and denied reboarding, I too would “choose” to fly on another carrier. As opposed to just staying in Philadelphia for the rest of my life.

    If the passenger was actually unruly, why weren’t the airport police called to at least question her?

    Seems pretty clear they were pissed she gave their messed up flight more media attention than they wanted. Which ironically resulted in the story getting tons more publicity that it otherwise would have gotten. As frequently happens, a botched cover up just makes a bad situation worse.

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