1. JetBlue kick family off plane in confrontation over their mom's birthday cake after it is 'deemed a SECURITY RISK' on flight to Las Vegas to celebrate her 40th
Cameron Burke, his wife and two children were flying to Las Vegas from JFK on May 3 to celebrate his wife's 40th birthday - and they brought a buttercream cake with them.
But after they say they received conflicting advice about where they could store it a disagreement developed and they were ordered off the flight.
The airline claims the family stored it in areas that were 'improper' - an overhead bin for safety equipment - and refused to move it. But the family say they followed all the cabin crew's instructions.
Even after Port Authority officers called to the scene deemed 'no wrongdoing' on the part of the family, as see in a video obtained by ABC 7 NY, airline staff nonetheless forced them to exit the plane.
The Burkes had boarded a Jet Blue flight out of Kennedy Airport and stored their buttercream cake in the overhead bin before taking 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,' Cameron told the New York Daily News.
'She then asked me to move it to underneath the seat in front of me, I did.'
Then, chaos unfurled.
According to Cameron, another flight attendant appeared and confronted her colleague and then Cameron.
'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?
'I had approached them, and I said everything was fine, and she said, 'sir, this does not involve you. When she told me I had been non-compliant, then I said 'ma'am, had you been drinking?' because her behavior was not normal''
When another airline employee asked Cameron and his family to leave, he refused and began recording.
Video, obtained by ABC 7 NY reporter CeFaan Kim, showed Port Authority officers questioning the family as the Burkes tell them the cake is on the floor as flight attendants has requested.
Their seven-year-old son, Cameron Jr, and nine-year-old daughter, Camille, appear scared as the officers question the family.
'I just want to know why,' Cameron's wife, Minta, says out loud. 'Exactly!' he replies. 'For a cake?'
One of the officers then tells an airline employee that he sees 'no wrongdoing' on the part of the Burkes.
Airline staff then had all passengers on the full flight exit the plane in order to remove the Burke family.
The family's tickets and reward points were refunded. Their luggage went to Las Vegas, and was collected by his mother-in-law.
According to JetBlue, the Burkes are at fault for the disruption.
The company says the cake was originally stored in an overhead bin with safety equipment, not meant for passenger carry-on and that the family 'refused several requests to move the dessert'.
'The customers became agitated, cursed and yelled at the crew, and made false accusations about a crew member'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.'
Cameron says he was able to book a United Airlines flight out of Newark for Las Vegas the following 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 Cameron.
2. Flight attendant ‘hit mum with pushchair then kicked her off plane’
One passenger, Surian Adyanthaya, caught the aftermath of the altercation on camera and posted it on Facebook with the caption: ‘OMG! AA Flight attendant violently took a stroller from a lady with her baby on my flight, hitting her and just missing the baby.’
They later added: ‘They just in-voluntarily escorted the mother and her kids off the flight and let the flight attendant back on, who tried to fight other passengers. ‘The mom asked for an apology and the AA official declined.’ The footage shows a male passenger stepping in to defend the mother and telling the attendant: ‘Hey bud, you do that to me and I’ll knock you flat.’
The attendant responds ‘you stay out of this’ as the passenger steps forward and then challenges him to a fight.
He can be heard shouting: ‘Hit me, c’mon, bring it on! C’mon, you don’t know what the story is. The passenger responds: ‘I don’t care what the story is, you don’t hurt a baby.’ The woman is eventually escorted off the flight following the altercation but the attendant is allowed back on the plane.
Since it was uploaded on Facebook, it has been shared more than 3,500 times. In a statement, American Airlines condemned the flight attendant’s behaviour and said an investigation had been launched. They said: ‘What we see on this video does not reflect our values or how we care for our customers.
‘We are deeply sorry for the pain we have caused this passenger and her family and to any other customers affected by the incident.’
The flight attendant has since been removed from duty pending the investigation while the woman and her children were put on another flight. The incident comes just a few weeks after a video surfaced showing a man being dragged off a flight in Chicago by United Airlines employees.
3. Owners of dead giant rabbit on United flight seek damages, probe
Attorneys for Simon's owners, who purchased him in hopes of winning the title of world's largest rabbit at the Iowa State Fair this summer, said they would take legal action if United failed to respond within seven days.
The lawyers say it is possible the 3-foot-long (1-meter) hare died after being placed in a freezer for 16 hours upon landing in Chicago on a flight from London. They say the airline then destroyed his remains without permission.
"United Airlines can issue any statement they like but their company's credibility is under question when they immediately cremate the giant rabbit Simon without anyone's consent," said Guy Cook, lead attorney for the three-person investment group that owned the rabbit. "They destroyed the proof."
United Airlines spokesman Charles Hobart denied Simon died in a freezer. He said in a written statement the company was reviewing a letter outlining the claims, was saddened by Simon's death and takes its responsibilities for transporting pets seriously. The statement did not say how much the owners were seeking in damages.
Hobart said the hare arrived in Chicago in apparent good condition and was seen moving around his kennel some 35 minutes later.
"Shortly thereafter, a kennel representative noticed Simon was motionless and that he had passed away," Hobart said. He did not address the cremation allegations.
Cook said it would be difficult to establish a cause of death because the rabbit's remains had been destroyed but, in the letter, demanded that United turn over all records of its investigation, including closed-circuit television footage.
The attorney also requested an independent investigation as well as compensatory and economic and punitive damages.
Cook said that Simon, a Continental rabbit whose father is considered the world's largest hare, was expected to exceed his father's size to claim that title and that his owners should be compensated for their potential economic losses from exhibiting him.
The investment group purchased Simon from a breeder in England and was flying him to the United States, where he would have been displayed at the Iowa State Fair in August and ultimately crowned world's largest rabbit, Cook said.
4. Scorpion Spotted on United Flight For Second Time in a Month
Following the incident, a new aircraft was arranged for the flight from George Bush Airport in Houston, to Quito, Ecuador, a spokesperson from United told Fortune. According to the airline, paramedics at the gate examined the customer and determined he had not been stung. “We provided all passengers with a meal voucher due to the delay and the flight, with the customer aboard, has departed for Quito,” United’s statement continued.
A passenger on the flight told local news channel KHOU that a man sitting at the back of the plane was asleep when the critter emerged from his clothing. It is unclear whether or not the scorpion was ever discovered by the airline.
Thursday’s incident is the second time this month that United has been hit by scorpion-related issues. On April 12, the same day a man was dragged off an overbooked United flight, a customer was stung by a scorpion. “Our flight attendants helped a customer who was stung by what appeared to be a scorpion,” United (UAL, +0.50%) told Fortune. The airline added that a physician assured the crew it was not a life-threatening matter and medical personnel met the aircraft when it arrived in Calgary.
5. Boy, 10, has dream holiday ruined after Air Canada boots him off flight with his family because plane was overbooked
Cole Doyle's parents found out the day before a family holiday that he would not be able to travel.
And when mum Shanna asked if either she or dad Brett could give up their seat for him they were told there were no guarantees — as a more frequent flyer could still take his spot.
Little Cole said: "I was crying... I don't know if I'm going to make it with my family".
The family's trauma is revealed after a video showing passenger Dr David Dao, 69, being violently dragged from an oversold United Airlines flight went viral.
The scandal saw share prices in the US carrier tumble and prompted a series of hamfisted apologies from CEO Oscar Munoz.
Cole's dad Brett had booked four tickets from Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island to Costa Rica for a family getaway in August last year.
But on the eve of the trip Brett found that he couldn't reserve a seat for his son.
After two hours on the phone mum Shanna was told that Cole would not be able to travel on the flight as it had been oversold, CBC reported.
They were forced to drive two hours to another airport in New Brunswick to catch a different flight.
It was then cancelled, leading to another gruelling two-and-a-half hour journey to Halifax, Nova Scotia were they forked out for an overnight hotel stay.
Shanna blasted: "We're spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars on airline tickets and we're not guarunteed a seat — so my question is what in reality are we paying for?"
Air Canada agreed to pay compensation to the family and vowed to clean up its act on overbooked flights.
Spokesman Isabelle Arthur told the Vancouver Sun: "We are currently following up to understand what went wrong and have apologised to Mr Doyle and his family as well as offered a very generous compensation to the family for their inconvenience.”
6. California family booted from Delta flight because toddler wasn’t allowed his own seat
Delta Air Lines booted the Schear family of Huntington Beach from a flight leaving Hawaii after they objected when Delta staff told them their 2-year-old son couldn’t sit in a car seat on an airplane seat.
The Schears posted an eight-minute video Wednesday of the late-April incident on YouTube, showing dad Brian Schear engaging with airport security and Delta staff.
The video is the latest of several recordings showing incidents in which airline staff tussled with passengers. The first involved a Kentucky doctor who was forcibly dragged off an overbooked United Airlines flight in Chicago.
As the Schears were set to leave Hawaii for home around midnight on April 23, they were told to give up a seat in which their 2-year-old son was sitting in a child-safety seat.
When they refused, airline staff said the only other option was jail.
Schear, speaking with local ABC affiliate KABC, said he was told: “You have to give up the seat or you’re going to jail; your wife is going to jail, and they’ll take your kids from you.”
Schear repeatedly told airline staff and security, “I paid for that seat.”
Their response was that it was illegal for the tot to sit in it. Either the toddler had to sit on someone’s lap, officials explained, or the family would have to get off the flight.
An official told Schear it’s against FAA regulations for a child that young to sit in a car seat or a regular seat on the plane. But Delta’s own website says: “For kids under the age of 2, we recommend you purchase a seat on the aircraft and use an approved child safety seat.”
Schear eventually agreed to hold his son for the duration of the flight so the plane could take off.
An airline rep returned moments later, however, to tell him the family would have to leave the flight — either voluntarily or be escorted by police. Asked if the family would be reimbursed, the Delta employee told him, “At this point, you guys are on your own.”
The parents were left at the airport with their two young children and had to find a hotel room, KABC reported. They shelled out $2,000 the following day to return home on a United flight.
"We are sorry for the unfortunate experience our customers had with Delta, and we’ve reached out to them to refund their travel and provide additional compensation," Delta said in a statement. "Delta's goal is to always work with customers in an attempt to find solutions to their travel issues. That did not happen in this case and we apologize.
7. Milwaukee man kicked off Delta flight for using bathroom as plane waited on tarmac
A man was booted from a Delta Air Lines flight earlier this month after he insisted on going to the bathroom as the plane awaited takeoff.
Video emerged of the April 18 incident aboard a Milwaukee-bound flight from Atlanta in which passenger Kima Hamilton was asked to leave.
The nine-minute cellphone recording by a fellow passenger shows a more cordial exchange than past incidents aboard United Airlines and American Airlines flights.
Hamilton told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he had to pee as the plane sat on the tarmac waiting to take off.
He went back to the bathroom, where a flight attendant told him the plane would lose its takeoff spot if he relieved himself.
"I don't normally pee right before I get on the plane, and I've never had a problem like this before,” he told the newspaper. “I don't remember drinking an abnormal amount of water.”
But the wait became so intense that he couldn’t hold it anymore.
“The pilot came on and said, 'Ladies and gentlemen, I'm sorry for the inconvenience but we have to return to the gate and remove a passenger,'" Hamilton said. "It escalated to that point that fast.”
Two Delta agents boarded the flight and tried to get Hamilton off the flight. He’s seen on the video refusing to give up his seat and discusses the matter at length with one of the agents.
His main concern was getting back to Milwaukee — where he’s an artist in residence at a school and was due to go on a fieldtrip the next morning, according to the Journal Sentinel.
“I’m not going to leave you stranded here in Atlanta,” the agent tells Hamilton at one point.
FBI agents were waiting for him when he got off the flight, he told the Journal-Sentinel.
Delta refunded his flight, and Hamilton said he paid three times the returned amount for a Southwest Airlines trip back to Milwaukee.
The airline said in a statement to the Journal Sentinel that crew members’ instructions have to be taken seriously.
“Our flight crews are extensively trained to ensure the safety and security of all customers,” the airline said. It is imperative that passengers comply with crew instructions during all phases of flight, especially at the critical points of takeoff and landing.”
Hamilton told the newspaper it was a misunderstanding blown out of proportion.
Fellow passenger Krista Rosolino, who was on the flight with her husband, recorded a video of the exchange and posted a lengthy blog post about it.
“My take-away from this experience is that I will not be flying Delta again,” wrote Rosolino, a Milwaukee attorney. “Who treats a person like this? Have you forgotten that the people that pay to fill the seats are actually human beings who sometimes have emergencies (like having to use the bathroom when you have been waiting on the plane for an hour)?”
The incident comes as other airlines come under scrutiny for removing passengers from planes.
On April 9 David Dao, a Kentucky doctor, was forcibly removed from a United flight, dragged down the aisle by aviation security officers. The incident sparked uproar against the airline, which ordered a review of the incident.
And on Saturday, video surfaced of an American Airlines flight attendant ripping a stroller out of a woman’s hands as she held her baby.
The flight attendant, who got into a scuffle match with another passenger, was subsequently suspended.
8. The doctor who was dragged from a United Airlines flight and sparked global outrage
Dao was forcibly removed and dragged from the plane before takeoff at Chicago O'Hare Airport. The flight wasn't initially overbooked until the airline realized it would need seats for crew members deadheading to Louisville, Kentucky.
Following standard procedure, United asked for volunteers to give up their seats. When no one came forward, the airline randomly selected four passengers on board to be bumped. One of them—Dao, a doctor, was due to see patients the following morning and refused to give up his seat. This resulted in his forcible removal at the hands of security, as several nearby passengers filmed it all on their phones.
Dao lost teeth and suffered a concussion as a result of being dragged off the flight. United Airlines has quickly and “amicably” settled a lawsuit brought against them by Dao, who received an undisclosed, but we believe hefty, sum.
9. American Is Charged in Tokyo After Fistfight on Los Angeles-Bound Flight
Video of the fight, taken by a passenger, has been widely circulated online. In it, a man wearing a red Hawaiian-style shirt punches a man in a black T-shirt, who fights back and then shouts: “Go to hell. This guy is crazy!”
Later, the man in the red shirt returns, more punches are exchanged, and a passenger can be heard pleading: “Hey guys, stop it. Get off this plane!”
A flight attendant tried to break up the fight as passengers looked on aghast or moved out of the way.
The fight occurred on Monday on All Nippon Airways Flight 6, or NH6, aboard a Boeing 777 that was about to embark on an 11-hour journey to Los Angeles International Airport from Narita International Airport outside Tokyo.
Michihiko Aoi, a police official at Narita, said Wednesday evening that “a man of American nationality in his 40s was taken off NH6, as he had flown into a rage and caused trouble on the plane.” The man was drunk, he added.
Mr. Aoi’s statement continued: “Today, we received several phone inquiries from the news media asking about the video taken inside the plane. The man was not charged over the incident recorded inside the plane, but because of the violence he inflicted on the ANA official, causing scratches on his forehead.”
“We can’t comment on the video as we don’t know who took it, and also there are other people appearing in it,” Mr. Aoi added. “He was seen in the video, but we cannot confirm which one he is, or which color shirt he wore.”
The passenger who recorded the video, Corey Hour, an Arizona-based photographer and cinematographer, has told CNN, The Washington Post and other news organizations that the man in the red shirt had started the fight.
“He literally just flipped,” Mr. Hour told The Post, adding that the man in the red shirt had threatened to kill the other man. “Nobody knows why.”
Mr. Hour told CNN: “The flight attendants actually got caught up in the mix, and that’s when the video ends, as I put my phone down and I actually got in the middle of everyone and confronted him.”
Violence on planes has drawn more attention since last month, when police officers dragged a passenger off an overbooked flight in the United States after he refused to surrender his seat. The airline, United, faced a public relations crisis but eventually apologized and reached a settlement with the passenger, Dr. David Dao.
Since then, American Airlines suspended a flight attendant after an altercation over a passenger’s baby stroller, and a video appeared to show a Delta Air Lines pilot slapping a passenger in an effort to break up a fight.
10. United Airlines boots asthmatic customer from flight because of a cat
Donna Wiegel had a March 4 ticket out of Baltimore with the beleaguered airline, but while she waited in the gate area for her Chicago-bound flight, she spotted another passenger travelling with a cat.
“I have a lot of respiratory problems and asthma,” she told NBC Chicago. “And cats are a trigger that I have to avoid at all costs.”
Wiegel said she immediately notified an agent about her health issues, telling him she needed to be seated as far away from the feline as possible. But once she got settled in her seat, she realized the cat was a mere few rows away.
When airline staff told her she would have to swap seats with another passenger, Wiegel “balked.”
“Why can’t they move the cat?” she asked officials, who responded by telling her they were unable to do so.
She soon found a new seat, but was almost immediately confronted by three crew members, who booted her from the flight.
“I was definitely thrown off the plane. I had no option. I was perp-walked down the aisle,” Wiegel told the news station, noting the crew busted the handle of her suitcase when they pulled it from the overhead bin.
While airline staff said they feared a medical incident if they allowed her to remain onboard, Wiegel said it was their treatment that actually exacerbated her health woes.
“You know, I’m hyperventilating at this point. Almost a full-blown panic attack,” said Wiegel, who had never been removed from a flight before.
Wiegel was eventually driven to Washington Dulles Airport, where she was put on a United flight five hours after her original plane was scheduled to take off.
“The cat got to Chicago in plenty of time,” she told NBC. “He could have gone out for dinner!”
United, in a statement obtained by the news station said it was “disappointed” Wiegel had a negative experience and that they were looking into the incident.
It’s not exactly clear why the feline took priority over Wiegel, though in cases involving service animals, allergic passengers have little choice but to leave their scheduled flights.
News of Wiegel’s distressing experience came on the heels of a legal settlement between the airline and Kentucky doctor David Dao, who made national headlines after recordings of his forcible removal from a United flight made their way to social media.
Prior to that, United in March faced extreme backlash for barring two teenage girls in leggings from boarding their plane. Somewhere between the two, Simon the giant bunny died en route to his new owner. Earlier this month, it was reported that the 3-foot-long rabbit died while in the cargo hold of a United Airline plane, but a spokesman has since said Simon passed in a pet-holding facility at the airport.