A planeful of traumatised passengers pleaded with cabin crew to let them off the aircraft when they touched down after three aborted landing attempts – only to be told they would be taking off again.
On JetBlue flight 1852 from Cancun, multiple customers were captured on video shouting “Arrest me!” and saying, “I don’t want to go back up in the air” after the troubled landing amid stormy conditions at Newark Liberty International in New York.
“I was scared up there – the weather wasn’t good,” one man can be heard saying on a video captured by a fellow passenger, while another says, “You can arrest me – I don’t want to go back up in the air.”
One bearded passenger then makes a forceful speech on behalf of his fellow passengers, in which he claims that people have been “fainting” and “throwing up” and pleads with flight crew to have “respect for human beings”.
“My kids are panicking – people are sick back there. We gotta get off this plane,” says the masked man.
“It’s dangerous. We tried to land four times already. We’re scared to fly… I don’t wanna go to jail, but it’s not right. We’re six hours into a three-hour flight.”
Gesturing at crew and pilots, he adds: “It’s not your fault, it’s not their fault – we’re just trying to get off. I don’t care about JFK, it’s our lives! People are sick back there, people are fainting, people are throwing up. A little respect for human beings!”
As he makes his speech, several passengers call out to back him up, saying “Take me to jail!” and “I don’t wanna go back up!”
The plane, which had arrived from Cancun, reportedly sat at Newark airport for over an hour as the passengers debated with crew.
Cabin crew can be seen trying to calm and reassure the passengers from the front of the cabin. Several people get up out of their seats to reinforce the point.
“It’s not just one person -” a cabin crew member is heard saying, before the bearded man interjects, “Everybody wants to get the hell off.”
At this, many of the passengers shout their agreement.
Despite the fervent requests to disembark, JetBlue reported that the plane stayed on the tarmac for an hour while the weather cleared before taking off for JFK.
“Without proper customs processing available for the flight at Newark, the aircraft remained on the ground for 60 minutes and once the weather cleared departed again for JFK where it safely landed,” a spokesperson for the airline told the Daily Mail.
One unnamed passenger told reporters that JetBlue had blamed a customs issue for the take-two take-off, and said they’d been given flight credits as compensation.
“They told us that we would have to wait hours for customs at Newark or 20 minutes to go back to JFK – where we still had to wait hours anyway. JetBlue gave us $50 flight credits for our troubles,” said the customer.
A JetBlue spokesperson said: “The safety of our customers and crewmembers is our first priority, and our pilots are well trained to manage severe weather.
“On April 7, flight 1852 with service from Cancun to JFK diverted to Newark due to severe weather over JFK. The aircraft remained on the ground for 60 minutes and once it was safe to do so, departed again for JFK where it landed and customers on this international flight could properly clear U.S. Customs and Immigration.
“No injuries were reported, and we apologize for the inconvenience this weather-related diversion created.”