ED. NOTE: This was printed with a bit of tongue-in-cheek sarcasm. The flight cancellation was, of course, real, and JetBlue's handling of the situation was about as bad as it gets. We were prepared to leave it at that. And yes, this article is more op-ed than journalism with a capital “J.” However, this one story has received more than 5,000 page views in the past 24 hours, many coming from BluePilots.com — a site that claims to be an internal employee-only chat board for B6 (JetBlue) employees. To all of you, we say welcome to BocaNewsNow.com, please fasten your seat belts, and perhaps if you spent half as much time figuring out how to develop intelligent, customer-friendly operations procedures as you do on BluePilots.com, you may not have to deal with stories like this. No, JetBlue didn't create the weather problem, but as it has so many times before, JetBlue created the havoc that ensued after the sun was again shining.
UPDATE: Click here for an update.
AUSTIN, TX (BocaNewsNow.com) — JetBlue has done it again. The airline whose bi-polar customer service and operations procedures (it's great, then it's not) led to the passenger bill of rights, today stranded a plane full of Fort Laudedale passengers in Austin, Texas.
Despite pleas to “let my people go home,” JetBlue took the role of an evil Pharoah and said “no.”
BocaNewsNow.com was coincidentally on the scene as it happened.
A significant hail storm forced the closure of the Austin, TX airport around the time flight 512 was supposed to leave for Fort Lauderdale. Due to weather issues, the incoming plane that would become Flight 512 was diverted to Dallas — eventually arriving in Austin two hours late — around 1p.
But as passengers eager to return home — or to family — in South Florida for the first night of Passover prepared to board, the airline announced that the crew's work day was 15 minutes over the time permitted by the FAA.
JetBlue canceled the flight. Passengers were told to return Tuesday morning.
Holiday for some passengers or not, it is astonishing that JetBlue — referred to affectionately by those who fly between Florida and New York as “Jet Jew”, apparently made no effort to send a “refreshed” crew to Austin to ensure customers would make it home the same day. The storm was over by early afternoon. The plane wasn't tired, just the pilots. Instead, acting like a low budget charter airline, JetBlue told passengers they were on their own — try again tomorrow.
While the BocaNewsNow.com staffer booked on the flight drove to Houston and flew back on Southwest, most other passengers expressed their dissatisfaction to gate agents unable to answer the more than four questions posed, including “why does JetBlue not have a backup plan?” “Why did JetBlue not realize that it would have a crew problem?” And “why does JetBlue only offer blue potato chips instead of blue Matzoah?”
There's already a 50/50 chance Tuesday of a flight delay due to frogs, locusts and diseased livestock.
The hail was off by a day.
Read the update here.