Malinda Knowles, JetBlue Passenger, Sues Airline For Kicking Her Off Flight For Allegedly Not Wearing Underwear

Posted Jul 22nd 2011 08:00 AMUpdated Oct 22nd 2012 10:11 PM

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Malinda Knowles, a 27-year-old financial consultant from Harlem, is suing JetBlue Airlines for kicking her off a West Palm Beach-bound flight for "not wearing underwear."

Knowles claims the pilot on the 6am flight last July thought she wasn't wearing pants or shorts, according to her lawsuit she filed in Queens Supreme Court.


But Knowles tells the Daily News that she was "wearing a baggy blue T-shirt over a pair of dark denim short-shorts" that she had hastily put on at 4 a.m. when she awoke for the flight.

According to Knowles, Victor Rodriguez, a JetBlue supervisor, approached her on the plane as she was "sitting with her orange juice" and asked, "I don't want to see your panties, but do you have any on?" He then "slapped his walkie-talkie in between [my] legs", Knowles claims in the suit. "I didn't want to show him my crotch," she said. "It was humiliating, degrading, and highly inappropriate."

The New York Post reports that she was then escorted off the flight and taken to a hangar area where they confirmed she was wearing pants.

According to Knowles' suit an employee said, "'Oh, she's wearing shorts."

Knowles tells the Daily News, "It was really crazy. I've never had a corporate employee ask me about my underwear."

Knowles was then returned to the plane, but the pilot still would not fly with her. Rodriguez again approached her and said, "The captain is refusing to fly you today. We need to remove you from the flight." Knowles, annoyed since she had a business meeting in Florida, finally agreed to be taken off the flight after fellow passengers grew annoyed with the delay. As she walked off the plane, a fellow passenger told her, "you should get a lawyer."

Knowles was delayed for four hours, then caught a later JetBlue flight.

The civil suit seeks unspecified damages. It accuses Rodriguez of assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Correction: Malinda Knowles contacted The Huffington Post to confirm that she was, in fact, wearing underwear at the time of the incident, contrary to other reports. She is also not a former fashion model.



Filed Under: Air Travel, News