‘Revved up’ Jetstar passenger temporarily kicked off flight from Sydney to Brisbane for using phone on tarmac

The Nightly
4 Min Read
Jimmy Mitchell was about to board a flight from Sydney to Brisbane and decided to stop and take a quick snap of his wife Pauline and children on the aircraft’s staircase when he was pulled up for his behaviour by a Jetstar employee.
Jimmy Mitchell was about to board a flight from Sydney to Brisbane and decided to stop and take a quick snap of his wife Pauline and children on the aircraft’s staircase when he was pulled up for his behaviour by a Jetstar employee. Credit: Jimmy Mitchell/@themothfamily TikTok

A “revved up” Jetstar passenger has found out the hard way you can’t use your phone on the tarmac after he was temporarily stopped from boarding a flight with his family.

Jimmy Mitchell was about to board a flight from Sydney to Brisbane and decided to stop and take a quick snap of his wife Pauline and children on the aircraft’s staircase when he was pulled up for his behaviour by a Jetstar employee.

Taking to TikTok to share his outrage on Wednesday, Mr Mitchell claims after he took the photo the Jetstar staff member shouted at him calling him an “idiot”.

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“It takes a lot to get me revved up, but verbally abusing me in front of my wife and kids is my limit @Jetstar Australia,” he wrote on TikTok.

In two videos, to his account @themothfamily, which have since gone viral, Mr Mitchell explains his side of the story.

“I turned around in disbelief ... I basically stormed over to her, and I was like ‘are you serious, what did you just call me?’,” he said, adding she went on to inform him that he wasn’t allowed to use his phone on the tarmac.

“I was like ‘wait a minute, I didn’t know anything about this’,” he said.

“’My phone was on flight mode, what does it matter?’”

Mr Mitchell went on to explain he hadn’t heard the prior announcement because he was wearing noise-cancelling headphones.

“I didn’t hear it. When I went to the gate, there were no notifications about it, no signage, nothing,” he said.

“What if I was deaf?”

After continuing to argue with the staff member, Mr Mitchell, who is also a travel vlogger, was eventually told he was no longer allowed to board the flight. He was made to wait inside the gate for some time, before being told he was allowed back on the plane.

“I think I probably overreacted to be honest ... but when someone calls you an idiot in front of your family, it’s a fight or flight reflex,” he said.

“All she had to do was say something constructive, get off your phone, you can’t have your phone out, I would have been like ‘OK, sorry’, (then) got on the plane, moved on with my life.”

He also called on the airline to apologise for what happened, saying he would be submitting a formal complaint.

“This is the single worst experience I’ve ever had flying in my life,” he said.

According to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, restrictions on using phones on the tarmac may vary for different airlines and airports.

The two videos posted to Mr Mitchell’s account have caused quite a stir, with hundreds of people taking to the comments section to tell him that, “everyone knows” you can’t take your phone on the tarmac.

While Mr Mitchell claims he was “verbally abused” by a Jetstar employee, many people who viewed his explanation of the situation still believed he was the one in the wrong, with the odd viewer sympathising with him.

“100 per cent in the wrong. You stated in your first video you fly 25 times a year. You should know you don’t use your phone on the tarmac,” one TikTok user replied.

“No sympathy here, if you are a “full-time” traveller you should know you are not allowed to take photos on the tarmac in Australia,” another added.

The comments continued to roll in, with another making a point that the rule was widely known: “Just asked 10 people around me and all knew that you can’t have a phone on the tarmac.”

Another wrote: “It clearly states not to take photos on the tarmac before boarding on the speaker... It’s to do with refuelling and so you’re not distracted while walking. You made the mistake mate.”

One TikTok user commented, “If this is the most traumatic experience of your life then you are doing ok. Taking photos on the tarmac is a security issue. Poor you.”

TikTok viewers even took the time to stick up for Jetstar, with one person writing: “I’m sure Jetstar’s version of how you behaved is much different to yours.

“Move on and laugh about it later rather than trying to pick a fight... Lesson learnt — you’re lucky they let you fly.”

In a statement to The Nightly, a Jetstar spokesperson said, “Phones are not allowed to be used whilst on the tarmac as this is an operational space”, adding that travellers were reminded of this via gate announcements.

“All our customers and team members have the right to feel respected when flying with us or when at work, and we’re looking into what took place in this instance,” they said.

The spokesperson confirmed no formal complaint had been made to Jetstar.

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