(Photo by Greg Bishop/Flickr)
It’s become the new danger that could delay your flight: Tweeting While Flying.
For the second time in recent months, an air passenger is claiming to have been removed from a flight after posting on Twitter.
Lisa Carter-Knight saying she was denied entry to JetBlue Flight 760 from Philadelphia to Boston because she’d tweeted about a strange incident at the airport. According to various reports, a passenger — not Carter-Knight — made a remark that called the sobriety of the plane’s pilot into question.
That reportedly led to the plane being grounded so that the pilot could take a sobriety test. Carter-Knight tweeted about the incident:
After the pilot passed the sobriety test, Carter-Knight says passengers got back on the plane — all except one.
JetBlue denies Carter-Knight’s claim that she got booted because of her tweet. In a statement to Yahoo Travel, JetBlue says:
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 decision to remove a customer from a flight is not taken lightly. If we feel a customer is not complying with safety instructions, exhibits objectionable behavior or causes conflict at the gate or on the aircraft, the customer will be asked to deplane or will be denied boarding especially if the crew feels the situation runs the risk of accelerating in the air. In this instance, the customer received a refund and chose to fly on another carrier.
But JetBlue still is not saying exactly why it removed Carter-Knight from the flight.
Back in July, Southwest Airlines removed passenger Duff Watson and his kids from a flight in Denver after he complained about a gate agent. He says he was allowed back on only after he deleted the offending tweet.
Watson had a cheeky response to the latest Tweeting While Flying incident in Philly.
It’s a safe bet that after this summer’s ordeal, Watson wasn’t in an airport when he tweeted that.
But it appears between Watson’s incident and the latest incident in Philly, airline employees — be they (allegedly) surly gate agents or pilots ticked at having their sobriety question — appear especially sensitive when it comes to Twitter.
"Pilots are people, too," says licensed therapist and former airline pilot Tom Bunn, who helps people cope with stress about flying with his SOAR program. Even though we can’t say for sure why Carter-Knight was not allowed back on the plane, he finds it plausible that there may have been an overreaction on the part of the pilot. “I can say with some authority that the very same pilots passengers can rely on for good judgments when getting a plane from point A to point B can be very odd ducks when it comes to people,” Bunn says. “It’s one thing to be cool, calm, and collected with dealing with a flying machine, and another thing to be that way with people.”
So that means we’ll probably see more airline employees getting twitchy about passengers posting on social media. Maybe as its next business venture, Twitter should launch an airline that caters to people who get kicked off planes for tweeting.