A JetBlue flight attendant confronted a passenger in coach and confiscated their eye mask because they weren’t flying business class – and JetBlue eye masks are for business class customers only.
The passenger asked about an eye mask when they boarded, and they were told no – there’s only one amenity kit boarded for each passenger in business class. A woman seated up front offered hers to the man. JetBlue gave it to her – and she gave it to him. But a member of the cabin crew would have none of it. And there’s video of Eye Mask Karen policing the transaction.
Here’s how the conversation went down:
Crewmember: “Sir, I need to take that mask please.”
Person in steerage: “Uh, sorry?”
Crewmember: “You didn’t buy a Mint seat, so you can’t use the Mint products.”
Person in steerage: “Do you have snooze kits available for sale?”
Crewmember: “Those kits are not available for sale. You can buy them online, but you cannot buy them on the airplane. You can’t even buy them online right now.”
Person in steerage: “Well I think it’s a little ridiculous.”
Crewmember: “But I don’t have 143 other masks to give everybody else on the airplane a mask. That’s not fair. Why can you get one but they can’t have one?”
Person in steerage: “You didn’t give me a mask, though. You did your job.”
Crewmember: “Yes but you got it from the customer sitting in Mint.”
Person in steerage: “You gave a customer sitting there a Mint product.”
Crewmember: “Yes, not for you, for him to use.”
Person in steerage: “It wasn’t a sir that gave it to me.”
Crewmember: “What’s to keep people from bringing all of their food and blankets back here to their friends? They can’t do that either.”
Here’s the video, as shared on TikTok. And here’s his full narration of the story.
JetBlue Backs Up Eye Mask Karen
JetBlue’s position seems to be that amenity kits are like software licenses – the kit belongs to the passenger, but it comes with an adhesion contract that limits what the passenger can do with the contents.
According to the airline, the flight attendant was right although the attention they’re getting for it isn’t what they’re after. Business class passengers aren’t permitted to share “meals, alcohol, pillows, blankets, and other amenities” with passengers in the self-loading cargo cabin. However they are “revisiting” the wording of their policy for “clarity.”
The policy does not specifically mention eye masks that are provided as part of the amenity kit, and after reviewing the customer’s video and speaking to him directly, we understand the frustration he felt,” he said. “We are sorry we were not able to provide him with an eye mask as requested and that the thoughtful gesture from another customer caused him issues.
Why Wouldn’t An Airline Let Passengers Gift Their Amenity Kit To Someone In Coach?
Back in the mid-1990s when I was a United Premier member I used to go to extreme lengths to get upgraded. I’d fly Washington Dulles to San Francisco – but take a noon connecting flight through Denver on a Wednesday. There were fewer passengers to compete with and Boeing 777s had plenty of premium seats.
In those days United operated flights to LA and San Francisco with widebodies, a mix of Boeing 777s and 747s. So I’d fly to Phoenix via Los Angeles figuring I’d never clear an upgrade on a non-stop Boeing 757.
One day at check-in a gate agent (this was before online check-in!) took pity on me and moved me from widebody business class through LA to the non-stop in first. It was my first time in ‘first class’ on a meal flight, and I was excited. Sure I wouldn’t get cradle-style business class seats, but I’d get… an ice cream sundae.
It turns out I was now on a flight with a colleague from work. They trudged to the back of coach, and I felt guilty. So I brought my ice cream sundae back to coach. That got looks from other passengers.
You can imagine that an airline wouldn’t want (1) passengers who didn’t pay for a service taking advantage of the amenities, that’s revenue leakage (since passengers might not buy up) in addition to driving costs, and (2) passengers to ostentatiously benefit from something that surrounding passengers couldn’t have, a recipe for class warfare within coach and inflight altercations.
But gifting an item from an amenity kit, that a passenger could just as easily have brought on themselves? There’s no additional cost to JetBlue here and it’s not likely to set off a riot in the coach cabin either.
And I’m not sure how they’d treat a passenger who took pajamas off of one of their new London flights and used them on a future trip in coach? I use airline pajamas all the time when flying business class on carriers that do not offer them.
(HT: One Mile at a Time)