JetBlue Refuses Boarding To YouTube Semi-Celebrity After He Unleashes Twitter Followers

One of the Tweets that ultimately led to JetBlue refusing to allow the passenger to board.

One of the Tweets that ultimately led to JetBlue refusing to allow the passenger to board.

For better or worse, we live in an age where a new breed of Internet sorta-celebrity can threaten to unleash the power of their social media following on any person or business they don’t like. That’s what happened last week when a YouTube personality with several hundred thousand fans got upset about a fee for changing his JetBlue ticket. But after using his Twitter followers to hassle the airline, he found himself blocked from boarding his flight home.

According to Yahoo Travel, when the passenger asked for a refund of his non-refundable JetBlue ticket because he’d found a cheaper fare elsewhere, he was originally told he’d have to pay a $150 change fee and that the balance would remain as JetBlue credit, as per the airline’s policy for non-refundable tickets.

This apparently didn’t sit well with the man, who didn’t see why his non-refundable airfare couldn’t be refunded in full. JetBlue says it offered to reduce the fee to $100, but that this was not acceptable to the passenger. This is also when he allegedly threatened to unleash his 154,000 Twitter followers on the airline.

And he made good on that ultimatum, not only Tweeting about the airline, but singling out one employee and her employee number in multiple Tweets referencing the inexplicably still-popular Lindsay Lohan film Mean Girls.

Because the Internet loves to pile on, his followers then created their own Mean Girls-themed Tweets, also including the employee’s name and number.

JetBlue claims that some of these Tweets bordered on the threatening, and decided that the passenger should be interviewed when he arrived at the gate for his flight.

“We would never ban someone for their tweets,” a rep for the airline tells Yahoo. “But they wanted to assess if this situation had the potential to escalate in altitude.”

After speaking with him, the airline determined that he should not be allowed to board and was turned away from the gate and given a full refund.

“The decision to remove any customer from a flight is made after careful and informed decision by local airport officials and flight crew,” said the airline rep. “It’s based on an individual’s actions and our assessment whether further actions during the flight would lead to further disruption or non-compliance with crew member instructions which could lead to diversion and delays for all customers.”

As you might expect, this didn’t go over too well.

“I felt like JetBlue was beating me, you know why, because they could,” said the passenger, who ranted about the incident on, where else, YouTube:

“Nowhere did I physically threaten her at all,” he explains in the video. “I would never physically threaten anyone. They were fun tweets, I was upset with JetBlue, I was upset with Regina, and that’s all.”

As for allegations that the airline’s actions had anything to do with the passenger’s sexual orientation, JetBlue says that its “customers and crew members reflect an incredible spectrum of cultures, backgrounds, orientations, and beliefs,” and that it “would not discriminate against any protected class.”

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