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In-flight Issue
COMPLAINT: Thrown Off The Plane With An Infant!

 
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 3:45 PM
zr1313 zr1313 is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
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It is with great distress, disappointment and difficulty that I writing to you in order to inform you of the recent events that transpired during a flight that my family and I was attempting to take on the above referenced date and location. As I begin to take myself back on this extremely emotional day, I cannot begin to express the level of emotion that I am forced to relive once again.
On September 3, 2011, my husband, our 16 months old daughter, her grandmother and myself arrived at the Newark Airport in order to fly to Florida for a highly anticipated and long overdue family vacation. After going through all of the security procedures and waiting to be called to board our flight (flight number 505) I never could have anticipated and fathomed the turn of events that were awaiting us. Upon being called to board by aircraft, we proceeded to take all of our carryon belongings and our infant daughters stroller and upon leaving the stroller at the designated spot, we began to board the aircraft. Once we entered the aircraft, we proceeded to head to our row number 13. While my husband, Yan, began to place our carryon luggage in the overhead compartment, he was approached by a gentlemen flight attendant, who suddenly and with negative tone advised my husband that he placed the luggage in the wrong way and that the luggage must be wheels out. My husband immediately took out the luggage and reversed it in the manner so that the wheels would be facing outward. However, he was once again told by the same flight attendant that the wheels were not in the proper spot and that he would just do it himself. At that time, we proceeded to take our seats as I began to calm my infant daughter down, in that she was ready for her nap and was beginning to cry. My husband took his window seat, I took my middle seat and an elderly woman set next to me in the aisle seat. Prior to buckling my seatbelt, I proceeded to place my daughters’ diaper bag under the seat in front of me and began to rock my daughter to sleep as she was hysterically crying. As a side note, we specifically and with intent booked this flight during our daughters’ nap time so that she would be able to sleep during the flight. While bucked and seated and attempting to calm our daughter down, the same male flight attendant that previously addressed my husband, came up to us and with great attitude and rude tone told me that the bag I had placed under the seat in front of me must be placed in the overhead compartment. As my 16 months old child was screaming, I told the flight attendant that the bag was a diaper bag that had food and other necessary items for my infant and that I needed to have it readily available for her. I further told him that if he still required me to move the bag that I would need his assistance in that I was sitting in the middle seat and was attempting to calm my infant down. He told me, and I quote: “Put your baby down, get the bag and put it up there”. At that moment, while in shock, I proceeded to ask for the male flight attendant’s full name. He then asked me if I was “threatening him”? I advised him that I was not threatening him and that I wanted his full name and would deal with the manner in which the situation was being handled upon our arrival. He then proceeded to tell me: “You will not be flying with us today”, and proceeded to leave.
As I sat in my seat, finally getting my daughter calm and slowly falling asleep, I never could have imagined the events that would be taking place in the next few minutes. We were approached by a gentlemen, whose identification is unknown, and told that we needed to take our belongings and exit the aircraft. Shocked, we proceeded to take our infant daughter, our belongings and exit the aircraft. We then told my husbands’ mother to also get up from her seat and exit with us. Our 16 months daughter, who was almost asleep, was hysterical at this point, in that she was awoken by these events. While walking toward the door of the airplane, the male flight attendant in question stood in the cockpit with a grin on his face full with satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment and power. The captain, who is reflected in the Police Incident report to be Captain Pecile at that time told us that perhaps next time we will “not be so belligerent”. While exiting the aircraft, we were awaited by four (4) armed police officers, Officer Long, Officer Davidson, Officer Gorman and Officer Veneziano. We were awaited for and escorted not like human beings, but like criminals and like animals with an infant screaming child. Perhaps the only thing that was missing from making the events complete was our family being dragged out in handcuffs.
At no point in time did either the captain or anyone else on the flight ever approach us or inquired as to the real events that transpired in the aircraft. With no due diligence or investigation, my family and I were thrown off the plane for no reason other than the male flight attendant having a bad day and a foul mood. From the moment that we stepped foot into the plane, he was unprofessional and rude toward us and his sole actions or inactions were the only reason that my infant daughter and myself had to go through the level of emotional stress, hysteria and humiliation. At no point in time did the diaper bag, that was properly placed under the seat in front of me ever block the means of egress for the purposes of an emergency for either takeoff or landing. It was a simple excuse for this flight attendant to abuse his power and arbitrarily have my entire family thrown off in an inhumane and cruel manner. The actions of the flight attendant in question and the inaction of the Captain that day were outrageous. We were treated like animals and criminals. Both my husband and I are respected members of our community and among our colleagues and our character in the community speaks for itself. It has always been and continues to be our rule of thumb to treat all people with the upmost respect and in the manner in which we would want to be treated. The level of disrespect, cruelty and inhumane treatment that we received on that day will live with me forever.
Upon being escorted to the lobby of the airport, the officers proceeded to take a statement from my husband in that I was having a massive panic attack and was hysterical, while at the same time attempting to calm down my screaming and hyperventilating 16 months old daughter. My hands and my entire body was shacking so intensely that my mother in law had to take over in attempting to place my infant daughter in the stroller. It took several hours for my body to stop shaking and it took all three of us over an hour to finally calm my daughter. To this day I cannot forget the sounds of my daughter screaming from the top of her lungs from the disruption and stress that she felt. I will furthermore always remember the shocked looks on the faces of the police officers who I am could also not believe what has transpired that day and why they were called to the scene in the first place. After taking our statement, we began to attempt to obtain the identification of the male flight attendant and the captain, however, the information was refused by all parties. We requested that a supervisor come to the scene, at which time Janice White arrived. She did not give us any of our requested information and we were told that we could request a copy of the Police Report and all of the necessary information would be on the report. After a couple of weeks, upon receipt of the report, unfortunately and to my surprise no identification of the male flight attendant was provided. Ms. White booked my family and I on the next flight and advised us to contact customer service with any complaints.
The next flight (flight 509) was completely to opposite then the one we attempted to take previously. The flight crew was incredible! They were helpful, courteous, professional and friendly. Those flight attendants are the only reason why my family and I would ever consider flying Jet Blue again. However, the rest of the family vacation was very much ruined. My nerved was shot down. I was unable to sleep for most of the trip. I was anxious and distraught. I found myself crying without warning at the smallest thought of playing back in my mind what my family and I and more importantly our infant daughter went through that day. I will never forget how we were treated by the members of flight 505. To this day, I continue to have nightmares of the shocking events that took place that day.
To that end, notice is hereby given that I am prepared to file a formal Complaint naming JetBlue Airlines as a direct defendant, together with the Captain and John Doe male flight attendant and will amend said Complaint upon obtaining his identification. The arbitrary and warrantless actions/inactions taken that day were outrageous and need to be dealt with accordingly. It is my great hope that through the actions that I am prepared to take, that no individual in the future, specifically ones with child, will ever be treated even a fracture of how my family and I were treated. Customers of Airlines must have some rights and protections against unilateral, arbitrarily and cruel behaviors against members of the airline staff. Please be guided accordingly.

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  #2  
Old Sep 27, 2011, 5:38 AM
Ombudsman Ombudsman is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 136

Your complaint is well written and hope this is exactly what you sent to the management of Jet Blue. I'm so sorry you and your family had such a terrible experience due to this flight attendant who not only exerts his "authority" in a misguided and arbitrary fashion buut also targeted you and your child for such treatment from the moment you stepped on the plane. These complaint boards are full of such examples of abuse of power and hhopefully something will be done about this individual.

What I most likes about your complaint is that you ended with praise for the crew who finally flew you to your destination and that even though it did not make up for your poor treatment on your original flight shows that you did nothing wrong and that you are appreciative of good serice as it should be on every flight. Hopefully you will receive some form of compensation for your experience and if it is in the form of free or discounted travel on Jet Blue I hope you don't have the misfortune of encountering this individual again.
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Old Sep 27, 2011, 8:55 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

Sadly, the more likely outcome is that JetBlue will accept the word of their FA who will claim that you were disruptive and should not be allowed to fly. They are likely to not want to admit any liability for the abuse of power of their employee.

My best friend has just retired as a captain for a british airline, after 30 years. He adopted a policy of never excluding anyone from a flight, until he had personally spoken to the passenger and if required, issued a warning. This was often seen by the flight attendants as "undermining" them and if they wanted someone removed, they felt the captain should do so. He took his responsibilities as commander seriously and never did so, unless he had the opportunity to assess the situation directly. Of course, this can only be done before departure.

It is interesting to note that on a number of occasions he was not convinced that the problem was the fault of the passenger and indeed on one occasion, he had the FA taken off the flight and replaced as he felt that she was not in the right frame of mind to manage the flight.
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