Here's how the whole bizarre incident went down: Cameron Burke, his wife Minta—decked out in an 'It's My Birthday' tiara—and their two kids were flying from Kennedy Airport to Sin City to meet family and celebrate Minta's 40th. Hence the cake, which Cameron carried onto the plane and stowed in an overhead bin. I have probably done this about a half-dozen times myself when flying home from New Orleans, only with Camellia Grill's banana creme pie.
Anyway, a JetBlue employee was apparently not down with the cake placement. "A flight attendant nicely asked me to remove the cake from that compartment, so I moved it to another one," Cameron explained to the New York Daily News. "She then asked me to move it to underneath the seat in front of me."
Fair enough. Though IMHO, the floor is not an ideal locale for a cake since it could easily be crushed by a wayward foot. But Cameron is apparently nicer than me because the dude complied anyway. Which makes it all the more curious that another flight attendant then approached and began berating both her colleague and the accommodating father.
"She said I was being non-compliant," Cameron explained. "I said, 'Miss, have you been drinking?' Because her behavior was irrational, and she stormed off."
Apparently questioning an attendant's state of mind is all it takes to get kicked off a plane these days, since a THIRD employee then asked the family to leave the flight, reportedly on captain's orders. Port Authority officers were even brought on board to get a handle on the sitch. And that, of course, is when Cameron busted out his phone and started recording the incident.
— CeFaan Kim (@CeFaanKim) May 14, 2017
It's a pretty sad clip to watch, with Minta in her celebratory light-up crown and Cameron's son crying as the cops question his parents. And while JetBlue released a statement to the NYDN claiming that the customers were "agitated and a security risk," they all seem pretty calm to me. Nevertheless, the Burkes were kicked off the flight, after JetBlue deplaned the entire aircraft. But hey, at least the family's tickets and reward points were refunded.
Does anyone else feel like something just doesn't add up here? Getting booted over a cake? Deplaning an entire flight? Sure looks like much ado about nothing from where I sit. (Especially because it is, in fact, legal to bring a cake on a flight, according to the TSA website.) And in fact, Cameron has reached out to civil rights organization the National Action Network and plans to file a lawsuit against JetBlue.
"I want the flight attendant fired; she has no business serving the public," he told the Daily News. "I hope JetBlue will retrain their staff and recreate the culture I once loved."
In the meantime, the family took a United Airlines flight to Vegas the next day. And judging by a recent Facebook update, it looks like Minta was able to have a happy birthday despite the whole awful experience. Happy 40th, Mama Burke! Here's hoping that cake made it there in one piece!