What began as a celebratory trip for a family taking a birthday trip to Las Vegas ended in disaster last week – all because of a cake.
On May 13, Minta Burke, her two children, and her husband were headed to Las Vegas to celebrate her 40th birthday on a JetBlue flight from New York.
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As they were settling into their seats, a flight attendant approached the family.
She asked Minta’s husband, Cameron, to move the birthday cake they had brought with them from one overhead compartment to another. From there, they began to receive conflicting information about where the cake should be stored.
“She then asked me to move it to underneath the seat in front of me, I did,” Cameron told the New York Daily News.
By then, another flight attendant arrived, who allegedly told Cameron that he was being “non-complaint.”
“I said, ‘Miss, have you been drinking?’ Because her behavior was irrational,” Burke recounted.
That comment seemed to inflame the situation further, as they were soon asked to leave the flight. But the family refused, at which point the crew decided to call the police.
In a video taken of the incident, the Burke’s children can be seen crying in the background as their parents negotiate with police. In the recording police can also be heard attempting to reason with the flight crew, telling them “I don’t see any wrongdoing here.”
The officer on the scene calms the family, but the incident only continued to escalate from there.
“No one did anything wrong, everything is going to be ok, and unfortunately they're going to have to rebook everyone. We’re trying to avoid that but this is JetBlue,” he says.
Despite the police officer’s insistence that the family didn’t do anything wrong, the captain decided to eject the Burkes, requiring that all the other passengers also disembark the plane at the same time. Their tickets were refunded by the airline.
In a statement, Jetblue tried to justify their reaction, claiming that the Burkes had initially stored the cake in a compartment meant for emergency equipment, and had refused to move it.
“The customers became agitated, cursed and yelled at the crew, and made false accusations about a crewmember’s fitness to fly,” they wrote.
However, the recording seems to show Minta Burke calming talking on the phone for much of the incident.
The Burke family did make it to Las Vegas the next day – this time flying with United Airlines.