JetBlue cancelled my flight this morning

Unbelievable. My 7:00am JetBlue flight got cancelled. I had gotten up at 4:00am to catch an airport shuttle to LGB and didn’t find out about cancellation until I was en route. I scrambled (ie. Getting online on my laptop via blackberry curve tethering, and finding a flight same day out of LAX b/c customer service didn’t open until 500am) to find another flight on my own so I could get to Seattle today.

Due to Crew Legalities, your flight #294 on 11-Aug-08 for travel from Long Beach, CA (LGB) has been cancelled. We apologize for the disruption in your travel plans.

You may rebook your itinerary without a fee by visiting this Change/Cancel section of our website. (You may also call 800-JETBLUE.) If you do not want to rebook, you may instead receive a full refund* or travel credit on JetBlue which is good for one year.

Turns out I’m not the only blogger with a cancelled flight. Cf. CNET News’ If JetBlue’s reading this, guys, it’s time to grok the blogosphere:

“The filthy, lying, money-grubbing whores we call…the airline industry.” (Credit: CNET News)

Now that’s a headline.

Bill Baker, a technology publicist from Connecticut, was not about to mince words after JetBlue left him stranded by canceling his return flight from Portland, Ore.

“I wrote that when I was especially angry,” said Baker, still seething one week later when we spoke. “I’m still pretty postal about it.”

Here’s the Reader’s Digest version of what happened.

On July 23, Baker’s red-eye to New York was twice delayed from its original midnight departure time. Then around 5 in the morning, JetBlue told waiting passengers that it had to cancel the flight because there was no crew to fly the plane. That announcement set off the invariable scramble at the service desk, where JetBlue offered either to refund the $229 return leg of Baker’s trip–along with a $100 voucher–or put him on the next available flight to New York three days later. To add insult to injury, Baker would have to go out on a midnight flight.

But the story gets worse. While JetBlue said it was not responsible for finding sleeping accommodations, all the hotels Baker called were booked solid. JetBlue also informed Baker it was not going to book him on a different plane because it does not have inter-line agreements with other airlines.

The ending to this novella was pre-ordained: The only way out of town was going to be on Baker’s tab–and so he paid $977 to fly back via Detroit on Northwest and Delta.

… Baker knew what to do next. See, there’s this thing called the Internet…

After getting nowhere fast with the customer complaint department on his demand for a full refund–“I got a reply back saying basically, “You’re out of luck”–Baker put the entire blow-by-blow on his blog.

Turns out that JetBlue was also interested in what he had to say. Three days after going public, Baker heard back from JetBlue, which had been tracking his blog posts.

JetBlue offered him another $60 plus flight certificates worth $229.

… By the way, Baker told me, he was “a huge JetBlue fanboy” before all this happened.

Obviously, no longer.

So, what do I expect from JetBlue — a full refund without service fee plus an inconvenience charge for my scrambling to find another flight at another airport (LAX instead of LGB). I think $75 would be reasonable. I do not want to hold for 10+ minutes on my cell phone for customer service to get this resolved. My new flight via Alaska Airlines is now boarding.

In other news, about JetBlue, cf. USA Today:

JetBlue announced Monday that it will begin charging $7 for a blanket and pillow on its flights… the airline’s in-flight “TV remains free.” Customers can keep the blanket and pillow.

… JetBlue says customers can bring their own pillows and blankets if they don’t want to pay the $7. Paul Hudson, executive director of the Aviation Consumer Action Project in Washington, D.C., tells Newsday he thinks many may do just that. “The public will decide (whether the fee will work), … but in general I can tell you this nickel and dime stuff doesn’t work,” Hudson says to Newsday.

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8 Responses

  1. shark says:

    Interesting that i had the same situation last night with my flight from Seattle back to San Diego being cancelled. They offer me return just for one way and not a full price of the tickets(4 of them) and basically i had to find another flight from Alaska Airlines to return back home and paid $800 extra for this.

    Is this fare? It seems that JetBlue have cancelled flight all over the place.

  2. djchuang says:

    No, I don't think that is fair. With travel conditions and service seemingly worsening week by week, I don't know if it'll be government or lawsuits stepping in to intervene first.

    To add salt to the wound, I've heard 2nd hand that “Crew Legalities” is code-word for not enough seats being sold on a flight, so they're cancelling. Not good.

  3. RJ says:

    IGNORANCE- is the condition of being uninformed or uneducated, lacking knowledge or information.

    I understand how frustrating it must be that you get to the airport and find out that your flight has been cancelled. Long Beach is such an easy airport (which wont be the case in a few years). (However, prior to the Valentines Day massacre where planes were stuck on tarmacs for several hours, Jetblue was one of the few airlines that did not cancel many flights…in fact Jetblue tried every resource to get planes in the air) Being a low-cost carrier means that your airfare is lower because they have thier employees clean up after you instead of hiring a cleaning service, that they actually used to have pillows and blankets on board, (ever check how many people drooled and sat on them before you got them? this applies to ALL airlines) but because of greedy people taking 10 for one person because of a bad back or whatever, they ran out many times. SO they took those off, also due to concerns raised by medical professionals of lice, bacterial infections, etc. So for a while there were no pillows or blankets on board, they became too much of a hassle, and then you have to find a place to put them which means more people getting mad because the pillows take up overhead bin space, and the bag they packed thier house in doesnt fit. They decided to offer pillows and blankets as an option to the people who want them. If they dont have them, then you cant buy any, and your option is to freeze your butt off the whole flight. Jetblue still offers a great product with OPTIONAL extra anhancements (pillows, blankets (with a 5 dollar gift coupon to bed bath and beyond) alcohol, and premium beverages) another way they keep your airfare low is by not serving food that people complain about as well. Bring your own.

    Now to the main point. JETBLUE has a certain number of planes and crews. Now while pilots are no longer eligible to fly after eight hours, flight attendants may fly upto 16 hours straight. Your 40 million dollar airplane is on a schedule, and goes from point A to point B to make it whereever the country you are. now if it doesn't make it from point a to point b you have a problem. also if your flight attendants have worked 14 hours and your flight is delayed, then they cant make it either. or if there is a mechanical problem, then you ALSO have a problem, unless you would rather crash and die because of a fatigued crew or problem plane. ALL THAT your TICKET includes is the seat, with the seatbelt to get you from point a to point b safely. GAS MONEY is what your ticket pays for. or you could just keep complaining about everything, and the airline industry will go even more to crap and then when you want to get somewhere, well there is the train or the bus or the car where your trip wont include anything YOU dont pay for. SO if you choose to fly understand that there went a lot to get your plane where you are and they cant always make sure that every crew member will make it to work, and not get sick or that the plane wont start breaking, or that if the plane doesnt go from point a to point b how is it going to make it to point c with a crew? there is a lot of complexity that goes into running an airline without people constantly complaining about what they didnt get for FREE and going on and on and on…….and everything that YOU complain about so do hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of other people. maybe that is why all we do is smile and take it until we cant anymore. so do us a favor and bag it, because all the airlines are run the same, and all of us take the same crap. if you dont like it find another mode of transportation. Thanks for reading.

  4. RJ says:

    crew legalities is where your flight crew has exceeded thier maximum legal duty day. for pilots it is eight hours and for flight attendants it is 16 hours straight. if a crew exceeds this legality they are required by the federal aviation administration to stop and rest for a minimum of 8 hours. or if the crew feels that they are unSAFE to fly they inform the airline that they are FATIGUED. the airline is required to let that crew rest and it is thier responsibility to find a new crew. this becomes difficult when the crew exceeds legality in a city that is not a crew base. they then have to fly a crew from a crew base to whatever city you are in. this is CREW LEGALITY. an undersold flight is UNDERSOLD.

  5. james Nobben says:

    Jet Blew is on a roll.
    Flt 200 Las Vegas to JFK….delayed until 1AM , then 2:30, then 4AM Oop's canceled!.
    Scramble for next avail flt Aug 16th 11:AM…..Delayed camping trip for family. Jet Blew offered a HUGH $50.00 voucher. By the way no a single notification of delay.
    B
    JBlew “Bill of Rights” we will notify you of any delay or cancellation…Right…..
    So Long Jet Blew……former frequent flyer every 6-8 weeks from Lomg Beach to NYC…..
    Flew Virgin out of LAX….Great airline……Great customer service. Price the same! J Nobben

  6. DanKane says:

    Jetbue will cancel flights because of “weather” when in many cases they need to force you into earlier and later flights that have seats available. Usually the cancellation is with less than 12 hours notice. I am a pilot and can easily check their BS weather excuses. Case in point: 3 flights from Austin to JFK. Number of seats sold appears to be enough for 3 planes PARTIALLY full or two planes at MAX capacity. Jet blue cancels the middle flight due to “weather” (yet other airlines are still on schedule into JFK at the same time) and ends up with two full flights… Deceptive deceptive deceptive… I smell a possible class action lawsuit for fraud and deceptive trade practices…

  7. Disgruntled Jet Blue Customer says:

    Jet Blue cancelled my flight the day before 4th of July weekend. Even though I had purchased the ticket about three weeks before my flight, I found on the day my flight was supposed to depart that the flight was cancelled due to “weather conditions.” “Weather conditions” seems to be Jet Blue's euphemism for the flight was undersold. Interestingly, the weather in NY (the location of departure) and Houston (the location of arrival) has been fine with only scattered showers. These purported “weather conditions” somehow have also not forced any other airlines to cancel their flights to Houston or prevented other airlines from honoring their airline tickets.

    Although Jet Blue offered to give me a flight the next evening, since I was only going away for a three day weekend, that was of very little comfort. Instead, I had to spend my entire day hunting for a reasonably-priced last-minute flight to Houston the day before 4th of July Weekend. Clearly, this is what I wanted to spend my time at work doing.

    So, here's my word of advice to unwary travellers. If you are going away for a three or four day weekend, avoid Jet Blue or your plans may be completely disrupted!!!! In fact, just avoid Jet Blue in general. I certainly will.

    Does anyone know if there have been any class action lawsuits filed against Jet Blue by consumers with similar experiences?

  1. September 25, 2008

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