JetBlue is standing by their decision to remove a family of four from New Jersey off a recent flight to Las Vegas after they reportedly refused to move a birthday cake they brought on board when a flight attendant asked them to take it out of an overhead bin.
Cameron Burke, who was traveling with his wife Minta and their two young children for a surprise birthday trip in honor of Minta’s birthday, recorded an encounter in which his kids became increasing upset as police came onto the aircraft to confront Cameron. The father told ABC 7 that he moved the dessert from an overhead bin to under the seat in front of him when asked, but that two flight attendants still had an issue.
“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?,” Cameron said. “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.”
The airline had all passengers deplane in order to get the family off, where they were told they could not get on the flight and given a refund.
However, JetBlue spokesperson Morgan Johnston tells PEOPLE in a statement that “the video circulating does not depict the entire incident and only starts after the objectionable behavior occurred.”
According to the airline, the family stored the birthday cake as well as other items in an overhead bin reserved for safety and emergency equipment and “refused multiple requests from the crew to remove the items.”
“The customers became agitated, cursed and yelled at the crew, and made false accusations about a crewmember’s fitness to fly,” JetBlue said. “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. The Captain determined the customers’ behavior demonstrated a risk for additional escalation in air and would not be allowed to fly.”
JetBlue noted that cakes are allowed onboard as long as they are within the carry-on size limits.
“We were just so happy. Couldn’t wait to get to Las Vegas, and all of a sudden this occurred, and my two children are screaming, crying. They’re confused not knowing what’s going on — they were traumatized,” Minta told ABC 7.
The family flew to Las Vegas the next day through United Airlines, but Cameron told the New York Daily News that he intends to file a lawsuit against JetBlue.
“I want the flight attendant fired, she has no business serving the public,” he said. “I hope JetBlue will retrain their staff and recreate the culture I once loved.”