JetBlue Flyover. Nonstop Gratitude, or nonstop stress?

JetBlue NYC Flyover Panned By Some New Yorkers, Claim Evoked 911 Trauma

The Navy’s Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds put on an air show last week in recognition of front line workers that everyone raved about.

But Jetblue’s own flyover tribute last night, involving three passenger jets festooned with NYPD, FDNY, and “I Love New York” motifs received a far less warm reception.

New Yorkers pounded their keyboards and swiped away on Twitter, and other social media platforms, letting the world know the flyover was not cool, evoking memories of September 11th, 2001.

Certainly, JetBlue was hoping for a bit of positive public relations, but by all accounts, this backfired miserably.

An hour ago, JetBlue announced that it would give free flights to 100,000 health care workers, a move that should be considered positive by everyone, even those not quite enthused by the flyover. Perhaps this was a way of demonstrating sincerity after the backlash over the flyover.

JetBlue Flyover. Nonstop Gratitude, or nonstop stress?

JetBlue Flyover. Nonstop Gratitude, or nonstop stress?

Last night, the jets flew in low and slow over the Hudson River, and circled around the city. There’s no wonder so many NYC residents were scared, confused, even incensed.

Seeing an aircraft roaring toward the site of the former Twin Towers might certainly be unnerving for those unaware of the planned tribute.

Staten Islanders often get nervous when Newark Airport uses the East-West runway, as planes head over the island in a pattern that seems to match the trajectory at least one jet flew on 9-11, when heading toward Lower Manhattan.

And, while some publicly commented that the flyover was an admirable tribute, it seems that the sentiment was far from universal. Many were upset about evoking memories of 9-11. Others just thought it was wasteful, even anticlimactic after the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds flyover.

JetBlue Tribute Flyover Passing Williamsburg Bank Building In Brooklyn. Image Credit- David Slotnick

JetBlue Tribute Flyover Passing Williamsburg Bank Building In Brooklyn. Image Credit- David Slotnick

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted out her disapproval, adding that burning jet fuel over vulnerable communities suffering from COVID-19 was an ill-conceived corporate PR stunt:

“Nothing like a corporate PR campaign that burns jet fuel at low altitudes over vulnerable communities dying from a respiratory virus that compounds on our preexisting and disproportionate exposure to air pollution to show healthcare workers we care ”

Other Twitter users had their own criticisms of the flyover, expressing a range of negative sentiments. Some were about 9-11-2001 PTSD, others were criticisms based on other criteria.

Sequituriat (@davidgg1919) tweeted out: “What a colossally stupid idea, @JetBlue.”

Jack Veritas (@jack_veritas) tweeted: “Does anyone at Jet Blue realize that low flying commercial jet aircraft over NYC reminds New Yorkers of September 11th”

Bless the Lake Effect Snow Over Lake Ontario (@sooky_tsujimoto) tweeted: “Low flying commerical airliners over the NYC metro area. Wow…tone deaf, insensitive, and an environmentally irresponsible act.”

ScarlettAhmed (@ScarlettAhmed) tweeted: “Are they airdropping care packages, PPE, and cash? No? Then who cares.”

agtmadcat (@agtmadcat) tweeted: “”Let’s make New Yorkers feel less anxious by buzzing their skyscrapers with commercial airliners” is a weird marketing decision tbh.”

Austin Goodman (@applesaucetin) tweeted: “How about you guys skip the PR stunt and do something that’s actually helpful?”

Föndle (@FondlePunch) tweeted: “Oh yeah, because low flying planes are sure to not trigger 19 year old PSTD in some New Yorkers. Seriously, put the money wasted on jet fuel into funding for hospitals.”

Mike Surabian (@DubTheMike) tweeted: “9/11 was almost 20 years ago. But we NYers remember it like it was yesterday. Appreciate the thought, but please NO MORE LOW FLY-OVERS. We’re on edge enough. @JetBlue”

mattvm (@mattv) tweeted out: “A good excuse to burn fuel to help a glutted oil market…”

Matt Powers (@RealMattPowers) “This is like trying to follow up a Metallica concert with the winner of a middle school battle of the bands”

Eric Mehlenbeck (@eric_mehlenbeck) tweeted: “thanks for all that you have done during this crisis. But this isn’t helpful. Please urge @jetblue to donate food, clothing, masks instead.”

Yolande (@Yoli2642) tweeted: “NOBODY in NYC wants to see passenger planes flying low over the city unless they’re approaching an airport for landing.”

Colleen McGrath (@collywood) added her own tweet: “What a wasteful thing to do! Donate that money. Low flying planes, still freak me out! I was there and I will never forget.”

The negative response on social media was far from unanimous, though. There were many New Yorkers expressing gratitude for the show of solidarity by JetBlue.

Police Commissioner Shea tweeted his appreciation today:

Commissioner Shea (@NYPDShea) tweeted: “Thank you to @JetBlue for last night’s visual reminder to everyone that our great city truly is #NYStrong. And it can’t be said enough: Thank you to EVERY essential worker who is standing on the front line in this unprecedented war against #COVID.”

SKane (@SKane60882405) tweeted this afternoon: “Thanks, @JetBlue for saluting our front line workers. Great follow on to the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels flyovers.”

Chris A (@BaccalaCatcher) tweeted: “Born and raised in downtown NYC and witnessed the towers fall in person that day. Love what #jetblue is doing and have no issue with this flyover. Keep up the good work @JetBlue”

There’s no debating that New Yorkers had a range of reactions to the flyover. And, whether you agree or disagree with some of the negative assessments, there’s no denying that for some residents, low-flying planes over Manhattan will do nothing other than create stress, owing to the what they endured back in 2001.

It may seem like a long time ago, but for many, it will always be fresh in their minds.

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