Okay, so admittedly the way he handled the situation may not have been ideal, though he had the right idea.
Former New York Senator Al D’Amato was on a JetBlue flight on Monday from Fort Lauderdale to New York, which already had a delay of over six hours. Understandably people were agitated, and once the flight was boarded, the captain announced that 10 passengers seated at the front of the cabin needed to move to the back of the cabin for weight and balance.
At the front of the JetBlue cabin are the “Even More Space” seats, which presumably many people paid extra to sit in. Many people weren’t happy about moving. That’s when the former Senator took the situation into his own hands. Per CNN:
Passenger Layla Delarmelina said six passengers refused and “the captain wasn’t doing anything.”
Delarmelina said the former senator got up and confronted the people that refused, and then told the captain to just pick people to move.
“He called them idiots and said, ‘The captain needs to grow some balls,'” said Delarmelina. “So they kicked him off the plane.”
Okay, so based on this story I certainly see where the Senator is coming from. I understand people are unhappy about moving, but if that’s what’s needed to safely operate the aircraft, the crew needs to get them to move, or otherwise kick them off.
Once the police boarded to remove the ex-Senator from the flight, he tried to get people to rally behind him and walk off the plane with him, as he said “stand up for what’s right and walk out with me. If you don’t, then what do you stand up for?”
While many people screamed in support of him, I don’t think the movement picked up the momentum he had hoped for, as only a couple of people walked off the plane with him. Here’s the video of him being removed from the plane:
— ☆ L A Y L A ☆ (@laylafd31) January 10, 2017
You can hear one passenger saying “I thought we had freedom of speech.” While I get the sentiment, “freedom of speech” doesn’t apply in the context of interactions between private citizens, and certainly not on a plane.
According to D’Amato’s reps, he apologized for “speaking his mind at a time when he clearly left his patience at the gate,” while JetBlue apologized for “overreacting” (though JetBlue didn’t confirm that they apologized).
What do you guys think — was JetBlue right to kick the ex-Senator off the plane for trying to take matters into his own hands?
(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)