[Edit: JetBlue Response added to bottom. Discussion encouraged on any forum- our forums, G+, Facebook, Etc.]
Author notes: I am not TheSeize. My internet handle is Kiashien, although in a rare few cases, it has been taken by others, I am mostly that on the internet.
I have been “The Not Boyfriend” in the past, but I am angry enough about this issue to write about it. I’m currently “The Very Much Boyfriend, Thank You.” Or “The guy you can’t ignore around TheSeize because he’ll chime in even if he’s not wanted.” But whatever- I’m That Guy Noted A Bunch, and TheSeize asked to post this here, and I don’t have my own active blog, so I said sure.
My writing background is Pure Journalism (Not BS mainstream journalism- actual facts) so please forgive the stunt style- I am trying to convey actual viewed facts. I am trying very hard not to twist this. I honestly believe it does not need twisting.
Please read to the end- much of the beginning is just clarifying earlier experiences with the man, in question. I am going to be as fact-based and limiting my own opinion from the raw text as possible. I will differentiate at the end when I am giving my opinion.
Mcallen international airport
May 6, 2013
8:30 AM PST
TheSeize: “I really do need breakfast.”
Me: “Well, this pub serves breakfast. How about here?”
TheSeize: “If we have to wait much longer, we should just leave.”
Me: “We could just sit at the bar. They’re serving breakfast there.”
Me: “I’ll take a Morning Glory [Ed: Grapefruit, Gran Marnier, Vodka, Triple Sec. Sue me, I was on vacation.]
TheSeize: “I’ll have a [Ed: Fancy coffee thing.]
Bartender returns shortly with drinks.
Bartender: “Did you decide on what to eat?”
TheSeize: “I’d like Eggs Benedict, but he doesn’t usually eat breakfast. Just some fruit would be good for him, is that possible?”
Bartender: “Oh yes, all of our items are Al a Carte.”
Me: “Thank you very much, that would be perfect.”
Food is served, with drinks.
9:00 AM PST (roughly)
A young looking man, I’d guess around 25 or younger, comes in. He is wearing a modern superman T-shirt, and a very small pack with the strap showing a brass band that states he is a US Navy Seal Veteran with a Honorable Discharge.
He orders a Budweiser- I only remember due to the bartender reading it back as “The King of Beers” (Yes, I know. I’m a beer snob too- but it is a memory cue.)
The Bartender thereafter refers to him as Superman. He never smiles from it, but he seems to take it as a term of respect.
He is obviously suffering from some form of mental issues- at the barest, PTSD. I and TheSeize talk normally to each other, and leave him be- he is next to us at the bar. He sometimes talks to the air, threatening the Evil to back off. He never makes a violent action whatsoever. He never even glares at another human being.
He is unfailingly polite to the server, and thanks him for being accommodating when he asks for fries, and can only get home fries, since it is too early for their kitchen to make fries.
We sat next to him for roughly 30 minutes. He had obvious mental issues, but never bothered anyone around him directly. He talked to himself sometimes, and was notably disturbed by his own mind, but he never tried to bother those around him, and went out of his way to be nice to the server.
When we leave, at about 9:30 to make our flight, once we are far enough away I comment to TheSeize: “I wonder if he was actually a navy seal, or just has a delusion due to mental issues.”
TheSeize: “Does it matter?”
Me: “I suppose not. Either way, I hope he’s treated well.”
Fast forward 20 minutes:
9:50 AM PST
May 6, 2013
Flight 368 from Las Vegas to Boston
TheSeize and I are already seated.
We notice Superman getting on, and TheSeize comments to that effect to me.
I say something along the lines of “Oh, yea.” and go back to what I was reading.
I hear “Back Off!” snapped. TheSeize told me afterward that he was looking straight up when he said it- Much afterward.
What happened next is where my horror began.
Superman (I never got his name) went to sit down, and the man who was supposed to be sitting in the window seat (Superman was supposed to be the middle seat) asked to get by. Superman lets him by. As Superman sit down, the window seat man went to speak to the Captain and Flight Attendants.
After a moment, the Captain approached Superman. He started to speak to him, and Superman asked if he needed to produce his paperwork that stated he was safe to fly, or to verify that he was a veteran navy seal on honorable discharge. The Captain stated clearly that it would not be necessary.
Superman then asked if he had done anything wrong. The Captain clearly stated that no, he had not.
This is where things went horribly wrong. The Captain asked Superman to accompany him (the Captain). Superman broke into tears, begging to know what he did wrong.
The Captain forced him off the plane. To be clear, no violence was used, and Superman complied in every single way. He never argued, never fought, and never acted in any way violent. He just did what he was asked to to do.
After a few minutes, after expressing how angry I was to TheSeize, I called for a Flight Attendant.
I did not ask TheSeize if it was okay, but when the Flight Attendant arrived, I immediately, and angrily, asked her if they had just removed a man from the plane for the sole reason of being mentally disabled, and told her in no uncertain terms that if whoever he was assigned to sit next to was not willing to sit next to him, I and my girlfriend (TheSeize) would do so.
The Attendant had come from the opposite end of the plane and immediately said she would go and see what was going on.
A different Attendant comes down the aisle 5 or so minutes later. She politely explains the situation- that a mentally damaged ex-navy seal is supposed to be on this plane. A woman says she will not stay on this plane if he is on it. [Ed: At this point, I’m unbelievably angry.] The flight attendant explains that he he will be seated up front, next to a registered nurse who has volunteered to sit next to him for the flight. The woman reiterates that if he is on the plane, she will not be.
He is not allowed to return to the plane, and she is allowed to fly. With no penalty to her whatsoever.
The original flight attendant who had spoken to me came back and asked me if I understood the explanation. I said yes, I understand the situation, and asked why that one woman’s rights override the rights of Superman. (Wording simplified- TheSeize can confirm that I was reasonably polite given how angry I was… and still am.) She told me it was the Captain’s decision, and tried hard to get me to come with her to talk to him. It was obvious from a logic perspective that I had lost, so I chose not to speak to the Captain.
Superman was not allowed to return to the plane. His only crime was having a damaged brain- likely from serving the USA.
—————- End Journalistic Writing. Begin Opinions.
[Author’s note: I asked TheSeize afterward if she was upset that I offered for us to sit beside the man without asking her. She said absolutely not, and wondered why I asked. I said it was wrong for me to make that decision for her, even if I was sure she would be okay with it. We’re all good as far as that goes. We disagree often, but not about basic human rights.]
JetBlue- I used you exclusively since I am six and a half feet tall- and those inches matter a whole lot more to me. The extra money was nothing when you consider having to sit curled around your knees for six hours.
I will curl around my damned knees for six hours, and I will gladly take four hour layovers, if I never have to see a human being treated with such disrespect. He had a ticket, just like everyone else on that plane. He even had an Even More ticket- which means he Paid Extra to fly having a little more space. I’ve paid it before myself- it’s nice.
But to be blunt- you took advantage of the fact that he wouldn’t stand up and go “No. I have been screened already, and found a safe traveller by my doctors. I will sit here, and I will go where I am going.”
If it was me, I would have raised hell. It wasn’t me, and I raised as much hell as I could.
JetBlue- I am attaching my full flight info, and I am filing a formal complaint at the same time this Blog post goes live.
No, I will not remove it, but I will append it with your (JetBlue) responses.
It will take a whole lot to convince me that you (JetBlue) are taking this seriously- and offering me money, points, or discounts won’t do it. I actually need to see the problem fixed in policy That affects Pilots and Captains or you just lost a multi-thousand yearly customer. I’d estimate my yearly plane purchases to be about 5,000 a year, including what I buy for others (and therefore doesn’t show in my trueblue account, so don’t try tracing it through that- it won’t work.)
And whatever gods anyone worship, I hope that poor man got home. If I didn’t have work the next day, I would have gotten off with him. I almost did regardless. … And if it was a normal day of work I would have, but things I can not discuss were going on, and I had to be there.
I am angry, disgusted, and altogether unhappy with how a fellow human being was treated. It was wrong- and worse still, the man was taken advantage of. I could have fought it if it was me- he did not have the capacity to fight it, and was abused for that reason.
[Edit: Response Added]
Prefix: My complaint directly linked this blog. It did not say much else, other than my personal information, to make sure they knew I was a actual person in their system.
I am not amused.
Sorry Jetblue, your response is inadequate.]
Re: email received Saturday,05/11/13 6:39 PM, Speak Up 3491317
Dear XXXXXXX [ed: Real name removed.],
[Ed: Absolutely no formatting has been applied to this email. Yes, it’s awful, but I didn’t do it.]
Thank you for your email regarding your recent JetBlue experience. We appreciate your feedback and
the opportunity to respond.
We regret any concerns you may have had in regard to the experience you described in your blog. We
share your respect and love for those who have served and/or are now serving our country.
At JetBlue Airways, our first and foremost concern has been and always will be the safety of our
customers, crewmembers, and aircraft. Our Captains are charged with making appropriate decisions
based on providing a comfortable and safe environment for everyone onboard, and we trust their
As with all correspondence we receive regarding an Inflight experience, we will share your email
with our Chief Pilots for review and follow-up with the Captain of your flight.
Mr. XXXXXX, we recognize you have many options available to you when choosing an airline for your
travel plans. We hope you will continue to consider JetBlue Airways for those times our flight
schedules meet your needs.
Customer Commitment Crew
There is absolutely no reason that Jetblue couldn’t have actually addressed this.
JetBlue, until I know otherwise, I am telling both of my veteran parents to fly with someone else.
I am telling my multi-term veteran friend, who’s wedding I am attending in two weeks, and am likely selecting his airline, that I won’t pay for JetBlue tickets.
I am making sure my Air Force Major friend, and multiple ex-marines get this too.
And then, Internet… I waited for them to respond for this.. But this is wrong. Do your thing. Please.