Cameron and Minta Burke were flying with two children to Las Vegas where they would meet with relatives to celebrate Minta's 40th birthday. They never expected they would be ejected from their JetBlue flight and forced to purchase tickets a day later to attend the celebration.
The problem? They brought a birthday cake aboard the flight.
It all started when Cameron Burke stowed the boxed cake in an overhead bin. A flight attendant politely asked him to move the cake, so he put it in a different bin. Then, he says, the flight attendant instructed him to put the cake on the floor under the seat in front of him. "I did," Burke says.
That's when a second flight attendant got involved and things went sideways, Burke says.
The second flight attendant began arguing with the first over the placement of the cake. When Cameron tried to intervene, saying that everything had been resolved, tensions rose.
What happened next depends on who you listen to. JetBlue says "the customers became agitated, cursed and yelled at the crew, and made false accusations about a crewmember's fitness to fly."
Burke says he tried to defuse the situation, though he admits he asked the second flight attendant if she had been drinking, because he didn't think her behavior made sense.
JetBlue called the police to resolve the dispute, and everyone aboard the aircraft was evacuated to the boarding lounge.
Cameron Burke posted a video on social media in which police officers question the family. The children are visibly upset. One cries.
"Dad, I feel scared," said Cameron's daughter.
"I know, I know," he replied.
Cameron Burke seems to find it hard to believe the brouhaha over a simple birthday cake. "For a cake?" she asks. "A cake? I moved the cake. It's a birthday cake."
A police officer is heard on the posted video saying that it appears everything is fine, but that he still needs to file a report. "No one's in any trouble," the officer says. "Unfortunately, it got reported to us. No one did anything wrong, OK? Everyone's going to be OK. Unfortunately, they're going to have to rebook everyone."
JetBlue says the captain of the flight decided the family should not be allowed to fly. The rest of the passengers reboarded the plane, while the Burkes received a refund.
Cameron Burke said the JetBlue flight attendant who caused the altercation should be fired. "She has no business serving the public," he said.
The family purchased tickets on United Airlines and celebrated Minta's birthday in Las Vegas a day later than planned.