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Former Secret Service Agent Says JetBlue Put Him On ‘No-Fly’ List After He Told Flight Attendant He Was Armed

Former Secret Service Agent Says JetBlue Put Him On ‘No-Fly’ List After He Told Flight Attendant He Was Armed

a group of airplanes on a runway

A former Secret Service and highly decorated military veteran says his career has been turned upside down after JetBlue placed him on a ‘No-Fly’ list over an incident in 2022 when he informed flight attendants that he was carrying a firearm on his person on a flight to Florida.

Ramon Gonzalez Figueroa served in the US military for 23 years before becoming a Secret Service agency and then becoming an investigator at the US Department of Health and Human Services.

During his distinguished career, Figueroa received a slew of medals and awards, including the Bronze Star medal and Meritorious Service medal, and has earned two Master’s Degrees in Business Administration and National Security.

Figueroa was set to continue his career in the US government for many years, but in a new lawsuit filed in a Florida district court, he says the negligent actions of JetBlue have effectively ended his career, resulting in a ‘cascading and draconian effect on his life’.

The events leading up to Figueroa ending up on JetBlue’s ‘Do Not Fly’ list seem pretty innocuous enough. According to Figueroa’s civil complaint, he was wrongfully accused of not correctly complying with flight attendant instructions as he stowed his disabled wife’s dog during a July 18, 2022, flight from Washington DC to Fort Lauderdale.

During his interactions with the flight attendants, Figueroa had correctly informed the flight crew that he was a legally armed federal law enforcement officer. Somehow, the crew deemed Figueroa’s decision to tell them he was armed as ‘inappropriate’ and wrote up a report against him.

JetBlue took the report and placed Figueroa on its ‘uninvited to fly list’ or ‘do not fly list’ despite the fact that an internal investigation into the incident concluded that he wasn’t attempting to intimidate the crew.

Unfortunately, Figueroa has discovered that his presence on a Do Not Fly list has made it impossible for him to continue his employment because JetBlue has a contract with the US government, and he therefore has to travel on JetBlue flights.

In the same year that Figueroa was banned from flying with JetBlue, some airline executives pushed for a national and ‘comprehensive’ national No-Fly list, which would mean that a ban from one airline would result in a ban from all airlines.

The idea was pushed by Delta chief executive Ed Bastian and it originally was borne out of an idea for a national anti-masker no-fly list which then morphed into an unruly passenger no-fly list.

One of the reasons the idea wasn’t pursued, however, was because the level of unruly behavior required to be placed on a no-fly list can vary massively from one airline to the other.

The administrative costs would also be high, with airlines likely facing multiple lawsuits over negligence claims and an independent body required to review and mediate no-fly disputes.

View Comment (1)
  • As a person who has worked for 2 of the big 3(now 4) airlines totaling more than three decades – how did an irked individual, whose carrier demanded frequent air travel not know the rules, pre edited and requirements needed to travel “as an armed passenger”?! He must have been fully trained and retrained )as well as tested) in them as I was being an air crew member. He must have had awareness of how 911 affected the security changes dramatically for the traveling public. With all of his commendations he must have proved security and public awareness. What happened at the described moment while he was on public aviation transportation? Even air Marshall’s know they aren’t on board to solve cabin disputes. They are only there to protect the cockpit. How did this individual not know well he was breaking federal air policy? How did he feel knowing that he would be known as a felon for his behavior. Where did his common sense go when he confessed to his crime in the center of a filled airplane cabin. What did he imagine could be the response to his “explosive statement”? It’s a wonder that he wasn’t immediately immobilized,, restrained and deliver to the authorities at whatever city the plane was diverted to. At the least he needs to start over at basic training after being released from a thorough psyiatric examination. It’s a wonder that his outcome wasn’t worse than it is. A crime committed at thousands of feet above the earth, in a sealed pressurized cabin filled with so many, many people and no chance to receive outside help for quite a long time is incredibly worse then one committed on the ground. . I know the rules, it is obvious he did not.

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