Grandmother arrested after refusing to delete JetBlue fight video

Marilyn Parver filmed an altercation between two passengers on a recent JetBlue flight. When she refused to delete the footage from her video camera, she says the airline threatened to blacklist her and accused her of interfering with a flight crew, which is a federal crime.

You can read the account of Parver’s flight and subsequent arrest here. And look for Parver on ABC’s Good Morning America, along with the incriminating footage.

Parver contacted me yesterday to, as she put it, “get the word out.”

I am a 56-year-old grandmother who has never had so much as a speeding ticket. But on July 26th, I was taken by armed officers, in handcuffs, off JetBlue flight 195 for refusing to delete a video I had taken of a minor altercation between passengers over a screaming kid.

The flight crew made up a charge of interfering with the crew. My recording proves I did nothing wrong. I never even stood up. I was left with the threat that I will never be able to fly on JetBlue, that I will go on the no-fly list, and have a report written about me filed with the FAA.

I only refused to delete a legal short video. This is a complete misuse of power and what happened to me could happen to anyone.

I’m not a lawyer, but I can’t find any rules that would prohibit a paying passenger from filming the interior of a JetBlue aircraft or of any commercial plane. Parver said she phoned JetBlue later, and that a representative told her she could tape whatever she wanted.

My reading of the law — and again, I’m no expert — suggests the JetBlue flight crew overstepped its boundaries. In a big way.

I asked Parver if she would consider posting her footage to the Web so that we could see what the fuss was about. She said the JetBlue crew specifically told her they didn’t want the material posted on YouTube, which is why they were so insistent that she delete the videotape.

Instead, Parver is taking her case to ABC News, where its legal department can fend off any attack from JetBlue. I think that’s probably a smart move. YouTube might delete the footage, anyway.

This case underscores the travel industry’s sensitivity to the growing influence of social media, and particularly to viral videos. Makes me wonder how many other passengers have been asked to delete images that were not flattering to an airline.

Update (12/2/10): Parver has sued JetBlue.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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    I agree with you bob!


  • Azuaralamb

    on September 30 2011 I was flying to Michigan for my brothers funeral and a 3 hour flight was turning into a 7 hour ordeal resulting in me being threatened with arrest in Cleveland Ohio airport.  I too was falsely accused  intimidated ridiculed  pulled from my flight I was totally humiliated for asking for alternative routes  I will admit  I was not at my best this day  But the treatment I received was both a overkill and waste of security as well.  the first flight  was delayed  due to no  crew then the second flight delayed due to no pilot after 2 hours they called for another pilot because the first one didn’t show  then pulled from  my flight after i asked the stewardess for a list of names  and told taking pictures on a plane is a federal offense..they went so far as to tell me if I didn’t do what I was told they would make sure I would not see a judge until Monday morning. This is just a very sketchy outline of what happened and I am not sure who to contact to help me . I have written it out in full and am having anxiety issues being alone  after the treatment  I received from these people  and really don’t want to see this happen to anyone else .

  • factseeker2

    The lady is not a busybody.  The people imposed their conflict on her.  She is as entitled to privacy as they may want for themselves.  Did the crew do anything to end the conflict to allow her to enjoy privacy and the flight in peace?  If not, she may have been recording the incident to later complain to the company.  Perhaps the crew did not want that to happen and to reflect on their failure to end the conflict.