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.