Family Kicked Off Plane Because Flight Attendant Was Having a Bad Day


seatsTraveling with one kid can be challenging enough, so I can only imagine how hard it is to take a plane somewhere as a family of nine -- especially if there's an extremely family-unfriendly flight attendant on board. Unfortunately, that's what members of one New York family say they had to deal with when they were kicked off a flight bound for Punta Cana on Wednesday before it even departed.


Tal Kimchy of Palisades, New York, was supposed to fly JetBlue from New York’s JFK airport to Punta Cana with his wife, mother, brother, sister-in-law, and four children. They made it on board okay, but Kimchy says they ran into trouble when they started loading their bags into the overhead compartment. According to Yahoo Travel, a flight attendant asked Kimchy's brother to step inside the aisle so others could pass. When Kimchy's brother said that he would as soon as his pregnant wife could take her seat, the attendant snapped at him, asking if he was saying "no." 

"He said, 'I’m not saying no, just give me a minute,'" Kimchy told Yahoo Travel. "At that time she said, 'It’s my plane, and if you don’t like it, I can make sure you get off of it right now.' He said, 'Why, what did I do?' She said, 'You’re being a hostile passenger.'"

After that, everybody sat down and the incident seemed to be over, but Kimchy says the flight attendant came back for no reason, asking if his brother was "going to be good now." 

"He looked at her and said, 'I’m okay.' She said, 'Are you good?' He said, 'Isn’t okay and good the same thing?' She said, 'I need to know if I need to throw you off the plane.'"

At that point, he says, another flight attendant approached and the first flight attendant went to talk to the pilot. Kimchy's brother was then told that he had to leave the plane and take a later flight. At first it seemed as if the rest of the family would be allowed to fly, but after JetBlue officials talked to airport police, it was decided that the entire family had to leave the plane because they posed a "security risk." 

More from The Stir: Flight Attendant Humiliates Breastfeeding Mom for Pumping in Airplane Bathroom 

Sounds like an incredibly insulting inconvenience, especially since the family didn't do anything wrong (at least not as far as I can tell), but that's not even the worst part. The worst part is that Kimchy says as they were leaving the plane, a flight attendant went on the loudspeaker and said, "Now that the animals have left, we can continue the flight.”

It's worth noting that no one outside the Kimchy family has verified the "animals" comment claim, but another, unrelated passenger (who wishes to remain anonymous) did file a complaint to JetBlue about the flight attendant and told Yahoo Travel that she was rude to Kimchy and his relatives.

So clearly this family was treated unfairly -- but why? Was the flight attendant just having a bad day? JetBlue says she will not be punished, and they issued the following statement regarding the incident:

“We love welcoming families on JetBlue, and we do so for thousands of families every day without incident. The decision to remove someone from a flight is never taken lightly and happens only if it is clear that the customer poses a risk to the safe and comfortable operation of the flight.”

Sure, but what else are they gonna say? Just because JetBlue is issuing a blanket statement of non-responsibility doesn't mean the flight attendant is innocent here. The Kimchy family was at least allowed to travel the next day, but I'm sure this was a horrible experience for them, and probably screwed up their travel plans big-time, too. They deserve to be compensated in some way for being treated like this, if their story is indeed true, and it sounds like it is (why else would a witness file a complaint?). Ugh. Of course an entire company can't be blamed for the actions of one employee, but I'm betting this is the last time the Kimchy family will fly JetBlue!


Image via Christopher Doyle/Flickr

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