Social Media Alert: In The Past We've Posted How Your Postings Can Enhance Your Travel Experiences, This Is How A Social Media Post Can Have The Opposite Effect: Flight Crew Boots Mom Of 3 Over Tweets; JetBlue Issues Refund
BY MORGAN ZALOT, Daily News Staff Writerzalotm@phillynews.com
POSTED: October 08, 2014
IT'S BEEN a rough week for Lisa Carter-Knight.
The 47-year-old mother of three flew to Philadelphia, her hometown, from her home in Boston last Thursday to take care of her mother, who recently was diagnosed with breast cancer and had surgery. By Tuesday night, Carter-Knight just wanted to make it home for her 7-year-old's birthday.
But thanks to a JetBlue flight crew who ejected her for posting about her flight delay on Twitter, Carter-Knight said, that almost didn't happen.
"I was rushing home after taking care of my mom for six days and trying to take care of my babies," Carter-Knight told the Daily News last night, after she finally arrived back in Boston.
The bizarre chain of events kicked off with three delays to Carter-Knight's flight, originally set to depart Philly at 8:25 p.m. Tuesday.
When passengers finally were allowed to board about 10:30 p.m. after the first two delays, the flight was delayed again for a third time, Carter-Knight said, when the pilot apparently misinterpreted a passenger's joke about the plane having a fully stocked bar as an accusation that he was intoxicated - meaning that, under federal law, the pilot needed a sobriety test.
"The pilot explained again, 'I have been accused of being intoxicated and I need a sobriety test,' " Carter-Knight recounted. "The passenger [who made the alleged comment] . . . stepped forward and said, 'I made a comment about a fully stocked bar, because we had a long night here, and never accused him of anything.' "
With that, Carter-Knight took to her cellphone to update friends and family on the delay via Twitter.
At 10:26 p.m. she wrote, in part: "Major debacle on flight 760 in Philly - pilot accuses passengers of accusing him of being intoxicated." At 11:11 p.m., she tweeted a photo of the plane, writing: "Philyflight760. Still grounded as authorities board plane for pilot sobriety test."
Just after midnight yesterday , when the plane was cleared for takeoff, Carter-Knight's real problems started: The pilot and flight crew informed her that she was denied access to the airline because of her tweets.
"I was told the pilot did not want me on the flight," she said.
"I walked over to the crew member at the desk and he said, 'Actually, ma'am, we're denying you service on JetBlue Airways,' " she continued. "I said, 'I was articulate, I communicated any problems I had with the delays, I checked in with you. Why am I being denied service?' "
JetBlue yesterday refunded Carter-Knight's airfare and issued a statement saying: "It is not our practice to remove a customer for expressing criticism of their experience in any medium. We will remove a customer if they are disruptive and the crew evaluates that there is a risk of escalation which could lead to an unsafe environment."
The airline did not explain exactly why the flight crew had denied her access to the flight. An airport spokeswoman said police there were not notified of any issues.
Carter-Knight said her mother, who had just undergone surgery, was forced to pick her up at the airport in the middle of the night so she could wait for a different flight yesterday.
Last night, she had made it home safely and was celebrating her 7-year-old's birthday.
"It was nothing special. I was doing what everybody else was doing in that gate - connecting with loved ones to let them know about the delay," she said. "I overheard people calling their kids just like I was. I was doing nothing different than anyone else."