My name is Robert Rose. I’m the producer and host of “Raw Travel TV,” a syndicated travel show. For the last two decades I have been a frequent air flyer of various airlines, domestic and international. I am a tireless travel enthusiasts and proponent of respectful travel.
I wish to make you aware of two disturbing incidents aboard two recent flights on your airline.
The first relates to Jetblue Flight #2404 on July 29th, 2021, from SJU (San Juan, Puerto Rico) to JFK (New York, NY). After a filming trip in Puerto Rico, I was initially impressed by the professionalism of the staff and the cooperation and respect of the passengers following masking mandates and safety protocols.
However, that good feeling evaporated when the plane was in descent to land at JFK. A female passenger and her small child defied instructions to remain seated (there was turbulence, and we were mere minutes from landing) and advanced to the rear of the plane to, I assume, use the restroom.
There, an argument ensued with one of the male Jetblue attendants that, for a not so brief period, as voices rose, seemed as if it would spiral out of control and lead to a violent confrontation, the kind we’ve all seen on the evening news or viral video too often these days. I was seated a few rows from this and could not fully hear everything. Still, I believe it would have led to a physical confrontation between rather large and intimidating female passenger and a male flight attendant. However, thankfully, a female attendant, seemingly in authority, took control and stepped in the middle of the two, not unlike a schoolyard confrontation.
I was surprised upon landing when Jetblue took no further action, and everyone deplaned as if nothing had happened. I’ve seen airport security summoned to a plane for considerably less. I’m not sure why the authorities were not alerted, and I certainly was not looking forward to delays deplaning, but I feel this was a disregard for passenger safety. This disrespectful behavior should not be condoned, and this passenger should not have been allowed to deplane without repercussions for her out of control behavior.
Had this incident been isolated, I likely would not have taken the time to write to you. Unfortunately, on August 10th, 2021, on flight #1073 from JFK (New York, NY) to BNA (Nashville, TN), I witnessed a second apparent health protocol and professionalism breach.
The plane from JFK to BNA was small, four seats across, two per row. I was in seat #23C, an aisle seat. The gentleman directly across the aisle (23B?) seated next to me was wearing what appeared to be a bandana (or “gator”?) around his face, which I believe does not represent the TSA’s guidance on safe and approved masks. Alas, it didn’t ultimately matter because once the aircraft was airborne, the gentleman proceeded to take the face-covering off while he ate food he brought on board. However, for the remainder of the two-hour flight, he never put his face-covering back on again, except for a brief moment when he went to the bathroom and when we landed and were deplaning.
The airline attendant on duty had many opportunities to ask the gentleman to comply, and she never did. There were no announcements that I heard reminding passengers of the mask mandate. I was exceedingly uncomfortable on this flight, as I assume were other passengers.
I did not, and do not feel it is any passenger’s place to ask a fellow passenger to put on a mask, lest it leads to an incident that could spin out of control.
When I purchased the ticket and “signed” the agreement, to abide by TSA regulations regarding safety protocols, I assumed Jetblue would enforce this policy. I did not expect Jetblue to be so lax in enforcement as not to request a non-compliant passenger to comply. I did not read any disclaimers that stated there were exceptions to this rule.
I’ve traveled to over 60 countries, flown thousands of hours, lived abroad, volunteered in some of the world’s most poverty-stricken and violence-plagued areas. I assure you that I am not a fearful person. I am a rational person who believes in science and the safety and well-being of others. I have a live and let live mentality, until the behavior of an individual threatens the health, safety and well-being of others. This man’s behavior and Jetblue’s lack of enforcement clearly threatened the safety and well-being of the entire plane.
While I empathize and understand the enormous pressure airline staff have endured the past 18 or so months, this does not abdicate Jetblue from its responsibility to passengers who cooperate and comply with federal guidelines and wish to fly as safely as possible. Since the pandemic began last year, I have flown Delta, United, and Southwest Airlines without incident. Why two back-to-back incidents with Jetblue?
If you cannot train your staff to handle their duties related to the safety of passengers properly, then perhaps you should not be authorized to fly?
I am reporting this incident to the Federal Aviation Authority, Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Transportation. I do not know harbor expectations of action from them or you. But just as I would be derelict in my moral duty if I saw a drunk driver speeding dangerously down the highway, I feel I must make this blatant lapse of public safety known. I hope you will use this information provided to please, train your staff to DO BETTER.