March 9, 2012

Buckle Up For Safety!

You may have heard about an incident involving customers traveling with us from Turks & Caicos to Boston recently who were asked to deplane and catch the next flight home because they were not in compliance with our crewmembers’ instructions to fasten their seat belt while on an active taxiway.  While we won’t discuss further details of the incident out of respect for the privacy of our customers, we do want to clarify the importance of buckling your seat belt any time the plane is in motion.

The truth is that Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandates that “each passenger required by to occupy a seat or berth shall fasten his or her safety belt about him or her and keep it fastened while the ‘Fasten Seat Belt’ sign is lighted’.” The FAA also outlines that “the ‘Fasten Seat Belt’ sign shall be turned on during any movement on the surface, for each takeoff, for each landing, and at any other time considered necessary by the pilot in command.”

Even if we weren’t mandated by the FAA, though, we agree that when a plane is in motion, like any motor vehicle, seat belts should be buckled, and our inflight crewmembers need to be confident that everyone on board can comply with this safety regulation.  This is for the safety of those involved, as well as the customers and crewmembers around you.

We understand that every cross section of humankind will hop on a plane to get where they need to go, and we appreciate that they choose us! Our inflight crewmembers are well-trained to accommodate the diversity that we see. It’s when safety comes into question that we have to act quickly and boldly, in order to ensure the safest possible experience for all of our customers.

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18 Comments on “Buckle Up For Safety!”

  • Posted by Patrick Dacre on March 10, 2012 at 7:02 am how does a buckle up for safety video from an automobile convey the same message as an airplane? And if safety is so critical, how can a crew member, unless they have stickie shoes, be any more safe moving around the cabin than another person. What really happens here, after flying something like 2 mm miles in my career and personal life, is that crowd management is the issue not safety of the passengers.

    Nice try Jet Blue but this really does not cut the truth. Just refund those poor parents their money, and apologize. This is the most ridiculous dodge behind the regulations that I’ve ever heard of. There are hundreds of reasons why a plane can’t push back, and very few of them cause a pull back and deplaning of a family with young children.

  • Posted by Maria Gonzalez-prescod on March 10, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I don’t see jet blue kicking off customers as you call it getting up during taxi to get the luggage, going to bathroom etc. I don’t see the flight attendants or pilot doing anything about that. This was so wrong and unfair. As a parent of two small children, and a member of several mommy groups in Long Island I am upset about what happen. I will avoid jet blue in the future and many of my family/friends.

  • Posted by Henry Ayers on March 11, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    I am reading this blog, in response to the email you sent me to read this blog. But unfortunately it doesnt answer the question about why you have different statements about the incident. You told The Today Show that they didnt comply fast enough. So which is it? Is it they didnt comply fast enough or they didnt comply at all. It is nice to know befor ehand that you dont like children.
    And good points from the people above about people wondering around the cabin and using the restroom while the seatbelt sign is on. I have seen this myself.

  • Posted by Marion Rosenthal on March 12, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Just saw the family on The Today Show. Oddly enough, the pediatrician mom thought it a good idea to drag her toddlers from Rhode Island to New York City for a very early morning call on a TV show. They appeared in the 7:30AM time slot, i.e. they must have had to report to the studio about 2 hours or at least 90 minutes earlier. Not surprisingly, the kids acted up during the live segment with Matt Lauer. I feel sorry for children whose parents make completely age inappropriate choices whether it be for travel or to see themselves on morning TV. And I am tired as a passenger of having to deal with the fallout of bad parenting. Kudos to JetBlue to taking action!

  • Posted by Mark on March 12, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Just last week I had a parent tell me that she would prefer to have her 1 year old ON THE FLOOR during taxi and eventually takeoff because if she had him in her lap he would cry. It seems that it is more important to appease their kids than to make sure they are safe. I have seen this way too often where parents ignore safety and it seems that the above comments agree with unsafe behavior and want parents to be able to do whatever they want. Even the parents who were removed agreed that they needed to control their children. Safety is JetBlue’s #1 priority and if you don’t agree with that then you should find another way to your destination.

  • Posted by kim on March 12, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Sorry to disagree with responses here but I suspect every effort was made to tolerate the parents’ inability to calm their child. After all, the plane did try to take off. At a certain point, uncontrollable behavior of a toddler can and does hinder safety in flight for other passengers, particularly those who might be suffering from various forms of their own anxiety. I like kids, have one and his two children spent full summers with me and my husband. They have flown on Jet Blue by the way…no problems. Toddlers can behave, even when they have anxiety, etc. Parents – PARENTS – who teach the child that tantrums are generally acceptable find that in other situations in which tantrums are not acceptable, the message of acceptability is already embedded. I am sure the parents had a nice vacation – a pretty fancy one to include two toddlers who probably will not even remember it. Their $2,000 would have been better spent leaving them with a relative or sitter.

  • Posted by Angie Haddock on March 12, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Thanks for answering my email, but this still does not explain how the heck a crying 2 yearold is unsafe. From what the stories said. The child did not want to be buckled in, so the flight attendant told the parents they couldn’t take of untill she was buckled in. From what I undestood, the mother forces the screaming child to put the seatbelt on. and begged them to get on with the show. But somehow that was not enough and they were asked to get off. What truly happened was that they couldn’t stand the tantrum anymore, in thier minds the parents couldn’t control thier daughter . So as a punishment for thier faulty parenting, they were taught a lesson by being kicked off. That’s the truth, but you guys don’t have the valor or courage to admit it, making the whole company look cowardly . Personally, i have given my children dramamine o benadry to avoid these situations, but that’s a personal choice. For parents who have never flown with small kids, there are situations that you have to live through experience to learn. I have 4 , but with my first I went through hell on a flight going to see her grandma. She got an earache and cried untilll the medicine kicked in. i wanted to cry, I felt nervous and didn’t know what to do. I cannot imagine being kicked off. Poor people.
    I know some people support what was done,but mostly because it’s because they hate traveling with whinny kids. I hate traveling by people who snore or smell, but that’s my problem. if I want distinction and luxury , well i guess I’d better rent a private plane. No, a crying baby is not unsafe or any justifyable reason to be so heartless!!!

  • Posted by Tommie on March 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Great work Jet Blue! I fly all the time and I get very upset when I spend my hard earned money and have to listen to a screaming child the whole trip. I am a retired teacher and have five children of my own. We are a very close family but I was always respectful of others and my children were disciplined and well behaved. Whether your an advocate of child disclipline isn’t the issue I am trying to address here although I am sure its a huge part of the problem many of these children’s behavior. Its simple, if your kid can’t keep it down and remain mostly calm and quiet or stay in their seat you should be removed. It is unfair to everyone else to deal with those parents lack of parenting. Its no different than the policy most airlines have for overweight passengers who cramp their neighbors. They are now requiring them to buy two seats. Its not fair for someone to pay and be uncomfortable. Keep it up Jet Blue. Personally I would like to see adult only flight options available.

  • Posted by Brittany Harris on March 12, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    JetBlue – know this. There are children with Autism (for which this might be one) that act the way they act due to sensory issues. Under the American with Disabilities Act, you are required to make accommodations for disabilities just like the “nice” old lady in the wheel chair that needs help on the plane and into an appropriate seat.

    All you would need to do is provide a small cube with a chair for the child and parent (not much bigger than your worthless toilets) so the child can come down from their overload and it only took a little hassle to build out. This would also account for children of this age who by virtue of their age would likely do the same thing even without a developmental disorder.

  • Posted by Kevin on March 12, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    If you ask me this is the same as getting flipped off in your car when you accelerate 4 seconds after a light turns green, or being tailgated because you are actually driving the speed limit: people are in too big of a hurry to tolerate what they perceive to be human errors. The family payed good money to take a family vacation, the kid had a problem, they solved it but in the process they wasted someones time and our society values this more than human decency.

    I’m betting the kids will turn out just fine and have great memories of their family vacations long after Jet Blue joins the list of de-funked profit-comes-first airlines.

  • Posted by Alex on March 12, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Good job Jet Blue! It’s a simple proposition. If the airline cannot be assured that a passenger, whether aged 2 or 102, will stay buckled in their seat, they have to remove that passenger. This is for the passenger’s own safety, obviously. It’s also for the safety of the others on the plane. At best, an unrestrained child will become an airborne missile during severe turbulence. At best, parents who can’t keep a two-year old in their seat on the runway, can’t be assured to keep the two year old from wandering the aisles or disturbing other passengers during a flight. More airlines should take measures like this to keep air travel safe and sane.

  • Posted by Shefali Gandhi on March 13, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    As for the alleged safety issue ~ why is it fine for a 23 month old child to sit on a parents lap and not a 28 month old? Also great comments above on the people getting their luggage out or going to the bathroom while the seat belt sign in on. Its so sad that airlines are allowed to show this type of prejudice to their youngest customers. For all those that are quick to congratulate Jet Blue, yes it is annoying when children don’t behave and parents do nothing to stop it, but let’s remember this was a 2 year old whose parents were desperately trying and did after 5 minutes strap their child down. They were NOT ignoring the issue they were trying to deal with it as best they could. As an airline and as human beings shouldn’t we try our best to help someone struggling. There were many ways to deal with this issue but this was not the way to make people feel safe. We fly frequently with our children who fortunately have done well on their flights to date but what if one of them by chance was sick or had an ear issue and was struggling, would we booted off a Jet Blue flight too? I can not in good conscious spend any of our money on an airline that practices prejudice and does not try to work with their customers (sounds like they just needed 5 minutes). Its not easy to fly for lots of members of our society (young and old) and if everyone practiced some more tolerance and helped in some way it would make it easier on everyone. Just as I always offer to help an older couple putting their luggage up or pulling bags off the carousel. Its just the right thing to do. Jet Blue thinks they sent a message on safety but what they really have done is scared people with children from flying with them. Perhaps that was their intention.

  • Posted by Mary Fletcher Jones on March 14, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    I think Jet Blue made the right decision, and I do see the safety implications. Safety must come first. A two year old does not have judgment but parents do. As a parent, I would have taken the option to leave voluntarily, if that had been my situation. The world does not end if you miss a flight; your kids come first. As for the autism question, I would like to say that many children with autism handle things better than some of their typical peers. Acccomodations are great when you need them, but they are not invariably needed. I did fly with my 3 year old son with autism a few times and he had sensory issues. He was prepared for what would happen on the plane with picture cards and stories and we practiced the week before. He knew what was going to happen every step of the way. We asked to board ahead to have time to settle him in (a great accommodation for any very young child). I brought snacks and water and my focus was on him and having a good time and he did not so much as whimper. There are definitely ways to prepare very young children (with or without special needs) to handle travel, when needed.

  • Posted by Kim on March 15, 2012 at 7:57 am

    So the comments above make no indication that the PARENTS of the child berated the flight attendant for trying to do his/her job for assuring safety compliance. THAT is the reason they were asked to take another flight. Children are uncontrollable at times, but it’s the uncontrollable parents/adults who are the problems. If there is any indication that ANY person on a flight poses compliance problems on the ground, ANY person will be asked to take another flight. As the safety information at the beginning of any flight clearly states, FEDERAL AVIATION REGULATIONS require your compliance with all instructional signs (including fasten seat belt indicator), posted placards and CREWMEMBER INSTRUCTIONS.

  • Posted by Kim on March 15, 2012 at 8:00 am

  • Posted by Angie on March 16, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    People say that it took the parents 5 minutes to get her seatbelt on, however, before the cabin door is close an announcement is made telling customers that they need to have their seatbelt on, the door is close and compliance is mad, then the safety demao, more complaince, do you really think all this is done in 5 minutes? Well no, I am sure it was way more than 5 minutes. Look at the time fram everything that happened between the announcement telling customers to make sure the seatbelt was on and the time they went back to the gat. People take this very emotional, they think is because of the tantrum, however they dont see the safety part, if a person of any age can not follow instructions on a simple matter as putting a seatbelt on what can you go thru on a more complicated situation? You need to think about everything, it is nothing personal. Just like adulys that don’t turn their cell phones off, they will either have to follow instructions in a timely matter or get off the plane. People just think they get on a plane and can do whatever they want. Parents know kids have to be on a carseat while in the car, so a cop pulls you over the kid is not in the carseat you will get compation from the cop because the kid is crying? No it is your Job as a parent to make sure your kids comply with laws, rules and regulations. You need to teach them well. We need to teach our kids so we dont have to Reprimand adults. Be respectful. You are getting a service from point A to B, you did pay to get there but it doesnt mean there are no rules to be follow. I support jetblue’s decision, and I also think it should happen more often maybe that way people will learn not to play around. It they tell you to turn off your cell phone, turn it off not in airplane mode, if the tell you yo buckle your seatbelt do it, dont wait for them to tell you 5 times.

  • Posted by Angie on March 16, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    This are the type of people that will go crazy on an emergency and wont respect those attendents trying to do their job, getting everybody out. The just dont listen, imagine on a crisis, they wont follow rules. If they tell hem to be in their sit, they will probably start running driving all of us other passangers crazy. Not letting us listen or follow what to do

  • Posted by autumn on March 18, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    WHEN an a/craft is sitting on the runway it’s an
    “active” runway – many accidents occur at the time. Other aircraft taxing to a gate, leaviing a gate, taking off a wing or part of the tail of the sitting aircraft. Come on people…safety is an airlines first priority. You can sit here and blame the airline, but you’re the first to blame the airline if someone gets hurt or something happens to someone else. if it ever happens to you, and i hope it doesn’t, lets see who you’re quick to blame. It’s always the other guy. Not the parent who CAN’T control the situation. The Captain and Inflight have the right to deny ANY customer to fly. And for me – that gives me some peace

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