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NEW YORK (WCSB 880) — JetBlue flew three New York-themed jets over New York City on Thursday night to thank frontline workers, but the gesture was not received well by some residents.
Many New Yorkers took to social media, not to post videos and photos of the flyover, but to criticize the flyover as an eerie reminder of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
“A low-flying plane headed toward lower manhattan (sic) says “crisis” even more than I thought it would @JetBlue,” one user wrote.
A low-flying plane headed toward lower manhattan says “crisis” even more than I thought it would @JetBlue pic.twitter.com/tqGh7yQPkn
— Lindsay Crouse (@lindsaycrouse) May 7, 2020
“If I didn’t see this tweet and then at 7 tonight saw 3 commercial airliners flying needlessly low, I would be scared as (expletive) that there was about to be a plane crash,” another user wrote. “You’re JetBlue not the Blue Angels, stay in your lane.”
If I didn’t see this tweet and then at 7 tonight saw 3 commercial airliners flying needlessly low, I would be scared as shit that there was about to be a plane crash. You’re JetBlue not the Blue Angels, stay in your lane. https://t.co/rGzLRT2cXj
— rone’s gamblin corner (@_rone) May 7, 2020
“Those of us NYers who were here on 9/11 do not feel inspired by low plane flyovers. Please stop this nonsense,” another user wrote.
Those of us NYers who were here on 9/11 do not feel inspired by low plane flyovers. Please stop this nonsense.
— Jason Sypher (@JasonSypher) May 7, 2020
Here’s what others had to say:
First Responders in New York City: “I hope to god I never see anything like 9/11 again”
JetBlue: “Guys, I have an idea. You know what first responders in New York City would think is cool?”
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) May 7, 2020
NURSES: We need a lot more PPE and really wish everybody would just stay inside.
JETBLUE: Okay, cool cool. But be sure to check out our fun 9/11 reenactment on your break.#TYfYS
— Merlin Mann (@hotdogsladies) May 7, 2020
Minutes away from @JetBlue reenacting 9/11 to fight the coronavirus!!
— Eli Valley (@elivalley) May 7, 2020
Flying jet airplanes low over New York City…. not a smart idea @JetBlue https://t.co/6tIwYPkNMC
— Stuck at Home in Rhody (@RhodyVoiceofNo) May 8, 2020
I love celebrating New York City firefighters by triggering flashbacks to the the most traumatic day in some of their lives!
— Timmy Lee Fubbins (@T_nels) May 7, 2020
The flyover was planned one week after the Navy’s Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds hosted their salute to healthcare workers in New York City and several other cities on the east coast.
New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also criticized the airline for the flyover, saying it was simply a public relations 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,” she wrote.
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 https://t.co/xyCr3tojgn
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 7, 2020
The JetBlue aircrafts were painted with FDNY, NYPD and “I Love New York” designs and were flown low over the Hudson River and around lower Manhattan, the former site of the Twin Towers.
The terror attacks still live in the minds of New Yorkers and many are now battling 9/11-related illnesses, driving some to ask why the airline would fly passenger jets so low around the five boroughs.
Others said the flyover does not appear to give substantive help to healthcare workers or first responders, who have expressed frustrations with being called “heroes” instead of receiving a pay raise amid the pandemic.
However, the flyover was not disliked by all.
The FDNY posted photos of Blue Bravest, the Fire Department-themed aircraft, and thanked JetBlue for the show of support.
Blue Bravest, the FDNY-themed plane, took part in tonight’s @JetBlue flyover salute to NYC’s healthcare workers and first responders, circling the city with the #NYPD and I Love NY planes #ClapBecauseWeCare pic.twitter.com/hGfPdBua5z
— FDNY (@FDNY) May 7, 2020
The FDNY plane soars over lower Manhattan during tonight’s @JetBlue flyover salute to NYC’s healthcare workers and first responders #ClapBecauseWeCare pic.twitter.com/r7Cdwyns7B
— FDNY (@FDNY) May 8, 2020
The NYPD Special Ops also shared videos of the planes before takeoff and showed appreciation for the salute.
— NYPD Special Ops (@NYPDSpecialops) May 8, 2020
Other New Yorkers also called it a nice tribute.
I thought this was pretty cool @JetBlue – I caught 2/3 on cam – and I saw several police officers stopping to admire the sight. it’s a nice tribute to #FirstResponders #Covid_19 #nyccoronavirus pic.twitter.com/H3ZaK8R7aO
— THE zack r. smith (@thezackrsmith) May 8, 2020
JetBlue still plans to donate round-trip flights to 10,000 healthcare workers in New York City.
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