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Former U.S. Senator Removed From Long-Delayed JetBlue Flight

Sen. Alfonse D'Amato Encouraged Passengers To Protest Delay

Former U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY) was removed from a JetBlue flight in Florida Monday after encouraging other passengers to protest an hours-long delay on the tarmac.

D'Amato (pictured), who retired from the Senate in 1999, was reportedly in Florida visiting an ill friend and was returning to New York when the incident occurred, according to The Wall Street Journal. The plane was scheduled to depart Fort Lauderdale at 1342 EST, but was delayed until 2009, according to a spokesman for JetBlue.

Another passenger, Layla Delarmelina, captured a video of the incident. She said that the flight had already been delayed multiple times when the captain asked passengers in the front of the aircraft to move to the back because of weight issues. When few people moved, D'Amato reportedly stood up and confronted the passengers in the front of the plane. "No one was moving, so he flipped out on them," she said. In the video, D'Amato can be seen being escorted off the plane saying "They’re throwing me off the plane because I complained about what they were doing. I’m making an appeal to all you people. Stand up for what’s right and walk out with me. That’s the only thing they’ll know.”

A spokesperson for D'Amato said the former Senator was suffering from sleep deprivation from his visit.

JetBlue has reportedly apologized to D'Amato for removing him from the plane, and the Senator has apologized for losing his patience during the delay.

In a statement, JetBlue said: “The decision to remove a customer from a flight is not taken lightly. If a customer is causing a conflict on the aircraft, it is standard procedure to ask the customer to deplane, especially if the crew feels the situation runs a risk of escalation in-flight.”

(Image from file)

FMI: www.jetblue.com

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