Jet Blue Blues Continue, Even When You're On Continental

The bad thing about flying journalists to and fro is that when something goes wrong, they tend to amuse themselves by taking notes. Sadly, JetBlue does not yet have a policy prohibiting pens and paper from their flights. From the Boston Herald:

A passenger, talking loudly into his cellphone, says, “I went out of my way to fly JetBlue,” he said, “and instead I’m on some Express Jet. It’s a bait and switch.”

Yes, the oldest of sales schemes. Instead of the expansive Airbus 320 with legroom and TVs, JetBlue put its Dulles-to-Logan passengers on a Continental Express Jet, a flying partner. The switcheroo would have been a minor irritation given the brevity of the flight had the Express Jet not run low on fuel circling over Boston, forcing it to land at T.F. Green.

Here is what I experienced during what JetBlue’s “Customer Bill of Rights” policy describes as an “Onboard Ground Delay.”

The obvious solution to this problem is to ban journalism so these note-takers can no longer afford to fly. —MEGHANN MARCO

She’s seething on a JetBlue plane: Oh baby, she’ll hate to go again [Boston Herald]
(Photo: JohnKit)

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  1. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    Is JetBlue experiencing growing pains, bad luck, or what? They’ve been getting so much bad press lately, something has to up.

  2. facted says:

    who pays the upkeep for this site? The Legacy Airline Carriers of America? How many anti-jetblue comments can you have without hardly ever mentioning any other airline?

  3. facted says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!: Bad press leads to more bad press. They’re operations haven’t changed at all and their service is still the best in the industry, but now every minute thing JetBlue does wrong gets someone’s attention.

    Just out of curiosity: I was under the assumption that JetBlue has no partners other than a partner it uses to fly to Cape Cod, and it will be entering into a new alliance with Aer Lingus in the summer. They are not affiliated at all with Continental Express. Could it be that the writer mistook the “continental express” flight for a flight on JetBlue’s new fleet of Embraer aircraft (which are still JetBlue planes with Direct TV’s, leather seats, etc…)

    Just wondering because it doesn’t quite add up.

  4. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    @facted:

    I doubt the author was flying on a small JetBlue Embraer plane you mention, since he specifically wishes for the JetBlue TV in his article.

  5. facted says:

    It seems that the author was flying on ExpressJet as per this website: http://www.expressjet.com/expressjet/fleet.htm

    Seems they are operating 4 JetBlue planes through April of this year.

  6. nweaver says:

    Might it have been a change of planes/airlines due to maintince or something. I didn’t think jetblue code shared with ANYONE.

  7. rachmanut says:

    That headline made my soul hurt. And I love punny headlines.

  8. winnabago says:

    I’m flying on a Jetblue embraer in May, and if some ExpressJet branded POS shows up, I’m gonna be pissed. People pay extra for the new seats, TVs, and legroom. It’s not all about service.

  9. TWinter says:

    I think the problem is that JetBlue has grown way too fast. They didn’t exist a couple of years ago and now they’re flying all over the place.

  10. Parttimesaint says:

    This past weekend I flew from JFK to Richmond, VA and got stuck on one of these ExpressJet planes. When I booked the reservation a month ago it indicated I would be on a regular jetBlue plane when I chose my seating. It wasn’t until I did the online check-in the night before my departure and noticed that my seating assignment had changed from what I had selected that I realized I would be on a smaller plane. I had no idea it wouldn’t even be a jetBlue plane until I walked onto the tarmac to board. These planes are cramped and just no fun to ride in. I was looking forward to the tv/radio and extended legroom of my first jetBlue flight and was sorely disappointed.

  11. facted says:

    I’d suggest that people who were inconvenienced by flying on sub-standard planes (JetBlue standards that is), should write a letter to David Neelman (JetBlue CEO). I’d be willing to wager you could get some sort of voucher out of it.

  12. lihtox says:

    I particularly noticed the part about their not being allowed to let passengers get off at TF Green because they didn’t have a contract with the airport; there is regular daily train service from Providence to Boston which takes a little over an hour. The FAA should set up some contingency policy that sets aside such contractual issues in the event of a ridiculous delay like this one.

  13. not_seth_brundle says:

    @facted: Given that United Airlines was in the running for Worst Company in America…

  14. superlayne says:

    Compared to the 1/Rather Big Number to the 1/Signifigantly Smaller Number complaints per flight JetBlue has, I would still fly them over anything.

  15. unwritten07 says:

    lihtox:
    there is regular daily train service from Providence to Boston

    A contingency policy is not a bad idea unless the train service is run by Amtrak – in which case I’d rather be duct taped to the wing of the nearest aircraft headed to Boston.

  16. winnabago says:

    @unwritten07:

    Also, the train leaves from downtown Providence – the airport connector is coming in 2009, or so they say. Til then it’s an unpredictable, very expensive, bus ride to pick up the MBTA commuter rail.

  17. John Stracke says:

    The flight attendant says FAA rules prohibit letting passengers off at any unscheduled destinations.

    Anybody know if this is actually true? I kind of doubt it, because we’ve heard stories of planes getting diverted due to weather, and people getting stuck in the wrong airport.

    If the flight attendant was lying, then JetBlue is probably guilty of false imprisonment.

  18. ElizabethD says:

    Amtrak hatred aside, the columnist is correct — renting a car at TF Green in RI would get her to Boston in an hour or less…. far preferable to what she endured. Sometimes rules are made to be broken, and this was one of those times. Jeez.

    P.S. Yay, Warwick! Just showin’ some love for the home team.

  19. TVarmy says:

    I know they can be a bit ghetto compared to other airplanes, but after flying Express Jets a few times, I have to say, I really like them. They’re cheap, fast, and usually run pretty smoothly (Few delays/maintenance issues). The people who fly on them usually don’t bring loud babies (I don’t know if this is part of a small jet’s passenger pool having a lower statistical chance of getting a baby) or a ton of big bags on board. They’re agreeable, veteran travelers who know what goes quickly and what clogs up the aisles, so boardings and unboardings goes fast.

    They don’t offer meals (at least not on any flight I’ve gone on) or movies, but that’s why I pack a bag lunch or eat at the terminal before my flight (Bag lunch is preferable, because weird airport mini-restaurant food messes with your already confused system), and bring a book and/or my laptop to entertain myself.

    I’m 6′ tall, and legroom has never been a problem for me.

  20. egstill says:

    The plaine switch a result in a maintence issue with the Embrear aircraft JB flies. The planes are being rotated out of service for, I believe it’s a software issue. This flight would not have ever been on an A320. As the launch customer for the e190, such issues are inevitable. Whne JB anounced it they said they’d be notifying passangers and offering $25. Shame the writer didnt look into those facts.

    The delays in the flight itself are clearly weather and ATC issues. I’m sure noone would like to be able to solve those easily more than the airlines, but that ain’t so easy!

  21. frederic says:

    Just to clarify this – the headline is simply wrong.

    ExpressJet flies a lot of flights for Continental under the ContinentalExpress monkiker, but Continental doesn’t own ExpressJet. Actually, Continental is in the process of replacing a lot of ExpressJet flights with flights run by other (dare I say , worse) partners such as Colgan Air. Would be nice if Jetblue followed the lead of every other airline and announced what planes it uses on a given trip.

    Continental has two gates at PVD, by the way.

  22. Gereizt says:

    The somewhat interesting thing here is that the author of the Boston Herald article was previously the director of MassPort (the quasi public agency that runs Boston’s Logan Airport and a few other facilities). Here’s a link to her letter of resignation with a handy list of accomplishments; http://www.massport.com/about/press01/press_news_ginny.htm… Apparently ensuring that planes have sufficient fuel to reach their destinations was not a high priority then either.