Former Sen. Al D’Amato (R-NY) caused a stir Monday night when he was escorted off a flight for apparently trying to incite passengers into a chant and march against the flight crew, The New York Post reported.
D’Amato was on JetBlue flight 1002 from Ft. Lauderdale to JFK, which had been scheduled to depart at 1:40 p.m. but didn’t take off until 8 p.m. due to extensive delays. An unnamed passenger told the Post that D’Amato and other passengers, already incensed by the delays, grew even more angry when the flight crew asked those who’d paid extra for legroom to switch seats because of “weight and balance issues.”
The former senator then began chanting “make them move,” and walking up and down the aisles as several other passengers joined his cause, according to the report. The unnamed passenger said D’Amato refused to leave when the flight crew asked him to do so.
“They’re throwing me off the plane because I complained about what they were doing,” D’Amato can be heard saying in a video of the incident.
After he refused, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office was called and the former senator was escorted off of the plane.
“We can still speak in this country,” D’Amato says in the video. “I’m making an appeal to all you people — you want to know what? Stand up for what’s right and walk out with me. That’s the only thing they’ll know.”
The Post reported that as D’Amato left, he urged others to come with him and one passenger did follow him. Other passengers can be heard booing and jeering the former senator in videos of the dustup.
A spokeswoman from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office initially denied to the newspaper that any incident took place. But on Tuesday, a different spokesperson acknowledged there’d been an incident that was “not a law enforcement issue.”
A spokesman for D’Amato told the Post that he apologized for the incident, and that JetBlue had already apologized to him for “overreacting.”
— Layla D (@laylafd31) January 10, 2017