JetBlue’s New York Flypast Draws Criticism

There’s always someone ready to criticize, especially when you’re trying to do something nice. Poor old JetBlue found this out firsthand this week, when New Yorkers and politicians slammed the airline for its low altitude flypast in honor of the city’s first responders.

JetBlue’s flypast salute has drawn some negativity. Photo: Getty Images

A flypast salute by JetBlue

Last night, US low-cost airline JetBlue undertook a unique aerial display, using three usually liveried aircraft to fly low over the city of New York. The timing of the display was planned to coincide with the city’s nightly round of applause celebrating its key frontline workers.

The airline seconded ‘I Heart Blue York,’ ‘Blue Finest,’ and ‘Blue Bravest’ for the flypast, aircraft that have been painted to honor the city, the police force and the fire department respectively. The salute took place between 19:00 and 20:00, with a route spanning from JFK, round Brooklyn, over the Bronx and down the coast of Manhattan.

The flight was operated at no cost to JetBlue, and at no profit to the airline either. The Air Line Pilots Association donated the pilot time, a jet fuel provider donated the fuel and offset all the carbon emissions. In addition to all this, the airline used the flypast to jump-start its offer of 100,000 free pairs of round-trip tickets for deserving ‘Healthcare Heroes.’

A super gesture you might think, but not according to some New Yorkers.

Massive backlash from New Yorkers

Despite the airline’s best intentions, it seems its choice of conducting a low flypast was, in the opinions of many, gravely misjudged. Some were concerned about the environmental impact, but the vast majority were more concerned about the lack of consideration for New Yorker’s feelings.

While many years may have passed, for many, the events of 2001 have left a deep scar. As such, a series of very low flying passenger planes could stir up some negativity, as fast became apparent on Twitter.


Politicians join in too

If it wasn’t enough that half of New York was up in arms over the stunt, the city’s politicians soon weighed in too. Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed the airline for dirtying the air in a city fighting a respiratory disease:

Fellow democrat Qasim Rashid added fuel to the fire, with a tweet also focused on the pollution caused:

Thankfully some politicians saw sense, with New York governor Andrew Cuomo thanking JetBlue for donating flights for healthcare workers.

The JetBlue flyover was clearly a polarizing campaign and didn’t go down half as well as the airline likely thought it would. We’re guessing it’s the last time JetBlue will be undertaking such a stunt.

Did you see the JetBlue flypast? Do you see it as done in the best of intentions, or do you agree it was in poor taste? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.