NEW YORK - JetBlue Airways Corp. tried to calm a maelstrom of criticism Thursday, after passengers were left waiting on planes at a New York airport for as long as 11 hours during a snow and ice storm.
The airline said 10 incoming and outbound flights at John F. Kennedy International Airport were "significantly delayed" with customers on board during Wednesday's storm. Reasons included congestion, frozen equipment and an effort to keep planes ready to go in case the weather broke, said JetBlue spokesman Bryan Baldwin.
More than 250 of JetBlue's roughly 500 flights nationwide were canceled Wednesday, but "fairly normal" service resumed Thursday, he said.
Calling Wednesday's delays "unacceptable," the airline planned to offer the affected passengers refunds and free flights.
To Cheryl Chesner, 26, "unacceptable" was hardly the word for the 11 hours she said she and her husband, Seth, 27, spent trying to take a JetBlue flight to Aruba for their honeymoon.
"It was the worst. It was horrific," she said. Baldwin said the Aruba flight, scheduled to leave at about 8 a.m. Wednesday, ultimately left late Wednesday night. But the Chesners went home to the Bronx.
While they waited to take off, John Farrell waited to arrive. His JetBlue flight from Fort Myers, Fla., landed at 10 a.m., but passengers didn't get off until nearly 7 p.m., he said.
"You gotta realize the frustration — you can look out the window and you can see, there's the gate, and if you let us off the plane, we can walk there," said Farrell, 48, of Brooklyn.
Onboard the planes, snack foods wore out their welcome, bathrooms became unpleasant and cabins sweltered, passengers said.
"They had to open the door every 20 minutes just so we could get air," said Sean Corrinet, 29, who was on a flight bound for Cancun, Mexico. It was delayed for at least eight hours, Baldwin said.
Baldwin said the jam arose as the airline sent outbound flights to the runway — so they could leave immediately if the weather let up — while incoming flights filled up the gates. The problem grew as some equipment used to tow planes away from gates froze to the ground, he said.
"We ended up with a gridlock situation where we couldn't move any of the aircraft at the gates," he said.
The airline stopped incoming flights by midafternoon, Baldwin said. By about 3 p.m., the airline gave up hope that the weather would allow the planes on the runway to take off and started arranging for buses to bring passengers back, he said. But the icy weather made that a slow process, he said.
"We need to make sure that it's always safe for the customers," he said.
JetBlue will review the day's events to determine whether it could have handled the storm differently and how to prevent similar problems from arising again, Baldwin said.
Bull$#1t!!, the airline does not have to pay in this case! it is weather!
American Paxs, complaining ALL the time, bla bla bla bla... i want money...
The airline is trying to do all the best to take you to the destination despite the bad weather. The airline could have cancelled the flight (it would have been cheaper and easier) but they opted to give a try so this paxs can get to their destination. Bad luck, bad weather... not bad intention...
When the topic is weather, there is no reason to blame the airline..
I was on the MCO flight yesterday......Nearly on aircraft over 9 hours. Took us each time 2.5 hrs to get to being de iced and then the guys timed out....happened twice. What was most frustrating is we were ready to go but the hours call on the flight crew stimied their dept. It was cruel the 2nd time around. Flight crew did their best but their cabin crew were rude, laughed at the pax and all we were given in 8 hours plus on the plane was 2 bottles of water and a bag of pretzels.
I blame management for not grabbing the bull by the horns and making a decision to scrap the flight. Also on return to gate co. did not offer sandwiches. A flight crew member dead heading bought a load of sandwiches though and handed them out.
In conclusion....Flt crew did their level best......Cabin crew were appalling. JetBlue should learn from this.
1) Many US passengers choose an airline by the ticket price. Does that ticket price sensitivity motivate their VP of Flight Ops or Dispatch supervisors to "suggest" that Dispatchers use 'creative' weather forecast reports?
2) Consider again exactly where the main hub is located.
3) Many US passengers are totally indifferent to the quality of maintenance (as long as the plane arrives about on-time without a crash), the resultant problems when extreme outsourcing is the management mantra, or issues related to serious flightcrew fatigue.
4) The ticket price determines many of these other situations. The 'WalMartization' of the American consumer's attitudes, whereby he/she expects a product to sell at or barely above the productions costs, has also been created by the airline industry, which is considered the worst-managed industry by those in other businesses. Were some of their APUs on MEL-or just the bleed air?
Such extremely long waits on the ground are not justifiable, but under normal circumstances, when people will only pay the very lowest fares to fly, many of us up front in the c0ckp1t (whose safety has recently been compromised by extreme outsourcing) have little sympathy for (not all) many passengers' inability or outright refusal to comprehend the results of their self-centeredness.
Next time your plane is de-iced, isn't it cheaper and quicker when the ground crew only de-ices ONE of your wings?? When a guy takes a wand to check the upper wing for clear ice and goes instead to the tail (a t-tail sits much higher-get it?... the 'upper' wing??) and the wand gets stuck in the elevator, is outsourcing a good thing? Luckily, a very senior Check Airman was reportedly the Captain.
Your Honour, I rest my case. May I leave the bench?
In response to IO's posting and speaking as a regular pax, private pilot, platinum FF, Nobel laureate and blah blah blah; I'm neither proud nor snooty and would much rather have a regular 9-to-5 which would allow me some work/life balance. However:
1) Granted. We take the lowest bid, just as we do for cars, music and groceries. And in the case of business travel, if we pay more than we have to, we're called in for an unfriendly chat.
2) Didn't seem to hit other JFK operators in the same way, which might suggest that some folks on the ground might have some "learning points".
3) Would be grateful of further input, as my impression was that as long as the mtce is to FAA requirements, the rest shouldn't be a great concern to pax or flightcrew. Brutal I know, but business is business. Fatigue is more of a concern, and makes me wonder about regulatory balance between the demands of the market and what's fair - or healthy - to demand of flightcrew.
4) To me, that's the whole pricing structure these days, applicable to just about anything - see #1. An airline makes money on the differnce betweeen marginal cost vs market tolerance, and hopes economies of scale make it all worthwhile.
As for the rest - if we were really at the stage (and perhaps we are?) when cost-consciousness drives de-icing down to a level beneath what's required for safe operation of an aircraft, then I'd be deeply concerned.
Lest it should be seen that I'm towing a line here, I'm not. To keep pax aboard a grounded aircraft for even ONE hour is excessive. My question: What needs to change to prevent this happening again?
stop blaming the airline when the problem is weather!!!!!!!
For example, you take a Greyhound bus from NYC to Chicago via Philadelphia, it is supposed to take 5 hours... but, when the bus is near PH, there is a massive snow storm, so big that the traffic is stopped, there is now a huge traffic jam and your bus is in between.
Your bus has to wait 8 to 10 hours in the same place, without having the chance to get away from this traffic jam.
Now, are you gonna blame the bus company for this? (no way)
Are you gonna ask the bus company for the money back? (why?)
Are you gonna ask them for a sandwich? (How come? if their job is to take you from A to B in a safe way)
Reapeat after me... when weather is a problem, there is no reason to blame the airline!
(blah blah blah blah I am silver member, I want an upgrade to business class because it is snowing)
Bear with the airline... it is a service not a solution for your life...
Once a pilot told us on the PA:
The Airline is still the fastest way of arriving late...
CuPa, you're missing the point. Suppose you're marooned on that bus, waiting for the Pennslyvania snow to melt. Then you hear that every other operator knew about the snowstorm, so kept their buses at NYC and told passengers to remain in the (relative) comfort of the terminal.
Still purely a weather issue, or can you start to see the grounds for complaint?
The Air Transport Association, a trade group of major U.S. airlines, said inflexible standards could do more harm than good.
"We think that one size doesn't fit all," said ATA spokesman David Castelveter. "We think the best solution continues to be to allow the flight crews and their operational experts to make these type of decisions."
Quel surprise !
That's the status quo there, David. Working real well, don't you think ?
Catans, as some one from the other side of the pond, pretzels, potato chips etc what ever are not familar names for me...I'll re phrase...snack foods. Believe me I was there with my family that day. By the time we got to a bed in NYC having waited for 3 hours for our bags we had been up over 36 hours having travelled from Europe that morning. Have to say when we called JB and told then out tale of woe....they moved mountains to get us booked on full flights.....as we re scheduled our vacation.
As stated above, JetBlue has about the worst on-time performance among US airlines.
They have given up for this weekend and cancelled 23% of their flights to try to get back on schedule.
All Saturday and Sunday JetBlue flights were canceled in and out of 11 airports: Richmond, Va.; Pittsburgh; Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Austin and Houston, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Nashville; Portland, Me.; and Bermuda.
Officials also warned additional cancellations were possible and told travelers to call ahead before heading to the airport. Affected customers may receive refunds or rebook their flights, the airline said.
JetBlue's problems aren't just because they are a low-fare airline. It must be more systemic than that.
Low-priced Southwest has among the best on-time records, but they don't try to serve some airports like JFK with a record of delays.
JetBlue called off almost a quarter of its flights for Monday but hoped that would be the last round of cancellations as it struggles to recover from the snowstorm that saw some travelers sitting on grounded planes for hours.JetBlue travelers continued to experience delays and cancellations Friday as the airline struggled for a third day to recover from an operational meltdown at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The airline had scheduled 600 flights for President's Day (Monday), more than the 550 to 575 flights it has on a normal Monday, but 139 of them were canceled, JetBlue announced late Saturday.
The latest cancellations were needed to make sure all flight crews had gotten the legally mandated amount of rest before returning to service, JetBlue Airways Corp. spokesman Sebastian White said Sunday.
"Canceling one more day's operations will really help reset our airline," White said Sunday.
Take it personally. When people are stuck on board a plane for eight hours with no clean toilets, they take it personally. And when your company promise is to “bring humanity back to air travel,” you better take it personally too. It was nice to see the founder and chief executive of JetBlue say he’s “humiliated and mortified” by what happened. He’s taking responsibility and promising real changes. That’s what customers want to hear.
stop blaming the airline when the problem is weather!!!!!!!
cu pa, flights being delayed or canceled due to weather is understandable.
Leaving pax onboard, parked on the ramp for eight hours, with no food, no little water, and overflowing toilets is not acceptable and the weather is not to blame. The blame rests squarely with airline management.
They certainly blew it but that only means welcome to the club. Screwing up happens. Learning from it makes an organization stronger and better.
Did anyone every hear Crandall apologize when he stranded passengers on a regular basis? He got me twice with his Macho act with the unions.
I've flown a lot of miles with most of the airlines in the US and Jet Blue are the only ones who consistently treat me, the passenger who pays the bills, as a customer. A few years back we arrived early in SLC and waited 15 minutes for a gate. I was picking up my skis in baggage at the scheduled ETA. A week late I get a $25 credit for the "delay".