Virgin America airline issued an apology to Jets quarterback Geno Smith Thursday, six days after he left a flight bound for Fort Lauderdale, Fla., after a verbal exchange with a flight attendant.
Though there were conflicting reports that Smith was escorted off the plane by police last Friday, the airline apologized for the situation.
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"After a full review of the incident, we believe it was the result of a misunderstanding that regrettably escalated unnecessarily," Virgin said in a statement. "We've apologized to Mr. Smith for his experience, which could have been better -- and we'd welcome him back on board anytime. As an airline that prides itself on our guest service, we take incidents such as this one very seriously."
A source close to Smith told Newsday last week that the quarterback left the flight voluntarily after a male flight attendant asked him to unplug his headphones before takeoff. The source said Smith did not hear the request and that heated words were exchanged before the flight attendant removed Smith's headphones. Then, the source said, Smith asked to speak to the flight attendant's supervisor.
Smith, in his statement, thanked the airline for responding to the matter.
"I really appreciate that Virgin America took this seriously, looked into this matter and followed up with me," he said. "I look forward to flying their airline again soon."
After the incident took place aboard the plane, TMZ filmed Smith walking out of the terminal in Los Angeles by himself. The former second-round pick denied on camera that he was involved in a verbal altercation, saying, "Don't believe that, man."
A public relations officer for Los Angeles World Airports confirmed last Friday that airport police responded to an incident but would neither confirm nor deny that Smith was involved in a verbal altercation on the aircraft. She added that on-board incidents happen "all the time" and "today is not the first time" that airport police have had to respond to such matters.