Kidnapped in Jamaica: JetBlue plus Jamaica equals International Controversy
A former JetBlue Airways flight attendant claims she was “held hostage” – her words – in Jamaica in a dirty hotel room, because she tested positive for COVID-19.
- JetBlue issues official public apology to Jamaica government and people.
- Police sent to investigate potential crime scene.
- Collier claims cover-up and intimidation.
Kalina Collier, a now former flight attendant for JetBlue Airways, made headlines in early February after she claimed that after a flight to Jamaica, she was “held hostage” in a hotel on her return trip for testing positive for COVID-19 although she denies she tested positive. Jamaican authorities disagree.
While still in Jamaica, Collier stated on Instagram that she was not COVID-positive and that she was being “held hostage” in a dirty room at a resort. This resulted in a social media campaign urging for her release.
Jamaica police went to investigate at the hotel and then issued a statement saying she was not “in any danger” nor was she “at any time.” The Jamaica Constabulary Force also urged the public to stop spreading a “false report about [a] foreign national kidnapped in Jamaica.”
Days later when Collier was back in the United States, she again took to Instagram standing by her statement that she had tested negative and that the hotel “proceeded to cover their tracks once word got out and forced me to stay at the resort for the remainder of my ‘quarantine.’”
Collier was apparently tested multiple times for COVID-19, and it is not clear which test she is referring to. She also claimed she had never previously said she had been kidnapped although her own words were that she was being “held hostage.”
She further alleged that when the Jamaica Police arrived at her room, they “try and intimidate me into making a statement for a resort that wronged me from the beginning.”
The CEO of JetBlue, Robin Hayes, publicly apologized to Jamaica’s Government and people, and an airline representative stated: “We continue to offer our apologies for the frustration and concern this incident has caused and reiterate our confidence in the health protocols Jamaica has put in place.” JetBlue has confirmed that Collier was no longer employed as a flight attendant with their airline.
Travelers to Jamaica are currently required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test — PCR or antigen — taken no later than 10 days before traveling to the country. The US also requires all incoming international travelers to provide the results of a negative test taken within 3 days of departure for the United States. For travelers who test positive, the CDC requires they provide a letter from a “healthcare provider or a public health official” clearing the individual to fly.