JetBlue Uses ‘Post-David Dao Trick’ To Kick Family Off Flight

It all began on one of JetBlue’s 15 daily Fort Lauderdale – New York flights on July 2nd when a family’s one year old began kicking the seat of the passenger in front of her.

The girl’s mother says “she apologized to the passenger, and they exchanged words before the passenger changed seats.”

However that’s not JetBlue’s version of the story. The woman had a conversation and disagreement with a flight attendant about the altercation and the plane turned around. Officers came onboard and ordered them off the plane. They refused.

According to JetBlue the family of 5 wasn’t removed because the one year old kicked a seat. Instead it’s because of the threats the family made, and profanity used, in their altercation with the other passenger.

After a verbal altercation that included physical threats and profanities against a nearby customer, the aircraft door was reopened and our airports team politely asked the customers to step off to discuss the situation.

The customers refused repeated requests and our crew members deplaned the entire aircraft. Law enforcement escorted them out of the gate area and we provided a refund.

Later discussion with the airline and security staff were filmed. The family asks a flight attendant for an explanation of why they’re being removed, and he declines to engage telling them to contact the airline.

In the video, Raanan and Ifrah repeatedly ask for an explanation, and the flight attendant tells them they need to call the airline for further information. A Sheriff’s deputy steps into the conversation shortly afterward.

The family says JetBlue said they’d be rebooked to travel the next day but would be on their own for the hotel night and their bags weren’t offloaded “leaving them without clothes and baby supplies.”

However they showed up at the airport the next day to find they were banned from the airline and weren’t allowed to fly.

Now some passengers seem to suggest in the video background that ‘nothing happened’ and the passenger they had an altercation with reportedly accepted the family’s apology. Those are the arguments the family makes to suggest JetBlue was being unreasonable.

However we don’t see the altercation that occurred which set of this chain of events. And the family was certainly confrontational with crew. It’s hard to know whether or not it was a good decision to offload them, and difficult to second guess after the fact.

What I’m most interested in here is what JetBlue did to defuse the situation. They didn’t engage in any force to pull the family off the plane when they didn’t want to go. They deplaned all passengers on the aircraft.

Two months ago — a month after United’s David Dao passenger-dragging incident — JetBlue removed a family from a flight to Las Vegas over birthday cake. They defused that situation, as well, by deplaning the whole aircraft.

Other airlines have done the same thing, indeed United did it with a Seattle – Houston flight this week when passengers didn’t want to put a bag from under their seat into the overhead bin. (There was a language barrier, things escalated, and eventually the woman traveling with her mother who was in her 80s was arrested — after leaving the aircraft.)

Offloading everyone causes more of a delay. It’s more of an inconvenience for other passengers and more costly to the airline. But when everyone’s getting off, the passengers you want to offload generally do to. And they do without physical violence.

Especially with social media and video taping airlines apparently see this as reasonably-priced insurance.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. this is what happens after a convicted felon acted in the most unprofessional manner and still get rewarded by a bunch of losers on social media cheering for him.

  2. some of these Troublemakers need to be placed on the No Fly List for Good….. it is getting out of hand. you either Comply and follow the rules or find alternate means. I am over the Entitlements of some of these people

  3. Jet Blue could have handled this in a much better way. Sounds like Armando Gonzalez, the Jet Blue employee was a little too “Trump’d up”!. But that is the world in which we now live.

  4. @henry LAX, I believe it was proven he was NOT the “felon” named and that was incorrect.

    And if you think he was entirely at fault, we have to disagree. But then again, you seem like a troll. So w/e.

  5. It’s fun to easily spot which positions are taken by the fat rednecks vs. the cool people. While all decent people were appalled by Dr. Dao’ s violent assault and jeering the jackboots along with the other passengers, the Trumpanzees were trailing on their knees slavishly licking their jackboots.

  6. Now they can make a big deal about being Muslims or whatever they are go on the airwaves and sue the airlines.

    In the Saudi Arabia they would have been beheaded in the plane itself.

  7. The comments left by the user who calls himself “Credit” are universally repellant. Why do you continue to allow him to comment here?

  8. I wonder whether airlines should consider installing always-on cameras in the body of the aircraft. The video could be stored until all passengers have left the plane and then, if not event occurred, be erased. It would provide insight into planes that are “lost” (if the video is stored in the black box or transmitted live to central servers) as well as clarifying these kinds of “they said / they said” in-flight interactions.

    Gary, I really hope you’ll considering investing some money in a superior quality of commenters for the blog. This lot is off-putting in the extreme.

  9. I would assume if everyone is off then someone staying behind would technically be trespassing.

  10. @Eric W:
    If you send Gary a detailed , 25-page matrix of acceptable and unacceptable comments, I’m certain he will take it under advisement, along with the 1000 other acceptable standards of various readers.
    You don’t have a right to not be offended.

    I find Credit to be funny, in his own way.
    Perhaps that’s why I’m a losing trader, though.

  11. I apologize to everyone I offended. I need to remember to be a good American. I love cheap oil too. I love the saudis for that, whatever else theyou night do. I hate people with opposing views though. I will however give you a hard time if you say anything about my beloved first amendment. That’s my security blanket, making me feel morally superior to others.

    I will take the ban now.

  12. It hate people who come on the plane feeling entitled. There seems to be a lot of this here. If one wants special treatment (because they’re traveling with small children, for example), buy a premium cabin ticket. Just my opinion.

    The lady that told them to tie the kid’s feet just should have asked to be reseated. My guess is that the airline would have stepped in to rectify the situation at that point. Telling another passenger to do something is a recipe for problems.

  13. Eric W., “credit”, to his credit, does not use the same tired ad hominem attacks as “Greg”. Selective outrage much?

  14. FA have to stay on the plane until all pax are off. This is for safety in case of evacuation is needed.

  15. @Credit, not only are you a hateful person, especially to Muslims it appears, you are also a fool. That’s because these people aren’t Muslim, you idiot!

  16. I also laugh at “Credits” obvious misunderstanding of the 1st amendment.

    Sorry, but your right to free speech is from government law or censorship. And doesn’t apply to this or any other website. It also doesn’t protect you from consequences based on what you say. Ban away!

  17. I have a toddler and will not travel on a plane until she is at least 4. Just because of things like this, even my daughter is well behaved in public you cannot fully control their actions at this age.

    These people who do travel with little ones need to understand that other people are not there to watch or to be inconvienced because they are not smart enough to stay home with their child until it is at an age to where it’s behavior can be controlled in a confined environment.

    JetBlue did right and I would ban them permanently as well. People need to.realize a business is not required to service you

  18. I just came off a flight last month – ORD – LAX where the 5 yr old seated behind me kicked the back of my seat for 4 solid hours. I asked the father, in a polite tone, if he could have his son stop kicking. The father responded “what do you expect, he’s five; he gets antsy”. After the first hour, I spoke with a flight attendant who said “there’s nothing I can do about that”. Hour 2, the passenger next to me (who was also obviously bothered by the kicking) turned around and told the 5 yr old “stop kicking the seat”. The kid’s father then told that passenger “don’t yell at my kid”. It was ridiculous and a nightmare of a flight. I have flown a ton of times with a small child, and I know it can be frustrating, but I also know that my kid is not entitled to intentionally disrupt another passenger by kicking their seat. I have no sympathy for the family and their children who can’t seem to abide by rules of common decency.

  19. These always seem to be presented as if the airline has somehow just picked an innocent family out of the crowd to toss off. I do realize that a rogue flight attendant could get ticked off at a comment or rolling of the eyes and try to retaliate by making up a story. But, how about holding off on these stories until the investigation is complete? Of course, that wouldn’t serve your click-bait posting, would it?

  20. @ A – Well, that’s the problem, isn’t it? So many passengers lack even the most basic level of common decency. If the parents had made a real effort to control their toddler instead of taking a resentful “how dare you” attitude, nothing would have happened. Instead, they made a big stink on the plane over someone saying “you should tie your daughter’s feet” (a ridiculous thing to say but hardly a threat) without any thought to the consequences for themselves.

  21. @ Chris – There’s nothing in this post to suggest that Jetblue kicked off an innocent family out of the blue (no pun intended). In fact, the videos Gary posted (which you probably skipped in rushing to your click-bait judgment) make the parents look quite awful and help justify the family’s removal.

  22. As upset and quarrelsome as they were I don’t think anyone would want them on the flight.

    If someone kicks your seatback let the airline deal with it. Just keep persisting that you simply cannot suffer it any longer. As long as you are polite and calm there’s no reason to alarm the staff. They should accomodate you. If not then press it as a complaint as high as you can go. When I do this I usually get more compensation than I even expected. The key is being polite and appreciative for their help. Anyone who doesn’t know this by now hasn’t flown far or learned how to get what they want from airlines.

    A little civility can go a long way with the airlines. Trumpanzees are another matter because they live it a purposefully cruel alternative world of their own making.

  23. I would give 10-1 odds this is another example of an FA who decided they didn’t like the family and unnecessarily escalated the situation. It is too bad there was no video (yet) of the earlier altercation. Certainly you cannot have one passenger threatening another. But in this case it sounds like everyone was calmed down except for the FAs and pilot who made the decision to deboard the plane.

    Given what we’ve seen the benefit I will not be giving the benefit of the doubt to any airline employee without video proof. Whenever there is a passenger fight or misbehavior it is almost always caught on somebody’s phone. So when it is not my presumption is that the FA was at fault and other passengers were probably intimidated (they don’t want to get kicked off for filming). The whole “he disobeyed my order and used profanity” refrain is pretty discredited, absent video proof because so many FAs make up lies to justify their indefensible actions.

    And please – we all have our horror stories about kids on planes – but this plane hadn’t even taken off. If in fact the kid kept kicking, the passenger complained to the FA, the family did nothing to address the behavior, and then everyone was deplaned, then I’ll eat crow. But that doesn’t appear to be the sequence here, at least according to B6.

  24. The deplane everybody trick will not work for long. Sooner or later folks will just refuse to deplane and we will see Dr. Dao II and III and IV.

    Even if — and without actual proof, it’s a BIG if — the lady and her husband were pricks, the other participant, who may as well have been a prick, too, was assigned a different seat so things would have gone smoothly on the simple 2-hour flight.

    It is pretty crappy how JetBlue handled their luggage. I bet if we see requirements that when a passenger is deplaned their luggage must also recovered at the same time the airlines will think twice about removing passengers from a flight.

  25. The child was 1 technically, but could have actually been 23 months. I’m assuming a lap infant without his/her own seat.
    Did he/she have their own seat or was he/she on a parent’s lap while kicking?
    There is a big difference between a 1 year old and a 23 month old.

  26. They are getting a black eye over this. Since they’re more agile than Big 3 they should retrain supervisors to make real time attempts to defuse these. Example: “I’m a parent too so.i know its not an easy age to control, but we cannot fly if hes going to kick the seat back. Can you prevent this for the rest of the flight? And obviously tying the feet is a bad attempt at humour but we all have those. We want everyone to get where theyre going so this needs to be resolved with certainty now,”

    THEN if separating them and defusing doesn’t suffice go to DefTransCon2 and remove. They were given every chance.

  27. The kid kicking the seat was not the problem – – it was the threats that the parents (allegedly) made to the other passengers after the fact.

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