JetBlue: 2 1/2 Hour Flight Takes 25 Hours

The Chicago Tribune says that a simple 2

-hour flight from Fort Lauderdale to New York turned into a “25-hour odyssey” for 150 passengers.

First, Flight 62′s takeoff was delayed by 3 hours, then rather than land in stormy New York, the plane was diverted to Atlantic City, NJ. There the passengers sat in the plane, on the tarmac, for 4 more hours.

Passengers were allowed to leave the plane, (which they’d boarded at 2:30 pm) at 12:30 am. Four hours after that they were given hotel rooms, and by 3:21 pm the following afternoon, nearly 25 hours since they boarded the first plane, the passengers landed at JFK.

Flight 62 passengers said an already bad situation was made worse by the lack of customer service in Atlantic City.

Azim Khan, of Fort Lauderdale, said he felt abandoned by JetBlue’s representatives there. Kahn said that upon landing around 8:30 p.m. passengers were told that buses would soon arrive to transfer them to JFK. The promised buses never came.

Passengers ultimately took taxis at their own expense to a nearby hotel where JetBlue had secured rooms for the night, he said. The taxi fares will be reimbursed.

For the remainder of the night, Khan and others went without food because nearby restaurants already had closed. Les Raye, 60, of Davie, said JetBlue should have made better provisions.

“I don’t think I’ve ever gone through anything like this in my many years of flying,” Raye said.

JetBlue is issuing a full refund in addition to offering a free round-trip voucher to the passengers. Despite the fact that we think that 4 hours is too long to hold people in a plane on a tarmac, this is a better deal that the ones we usually hear about, so kudos to JetBlue for offering a refund. Let’s hope other airlines become more willing to issue refunds (instead of vouchers) when things go horribly wrong.

JetBlue passengers endure 25-hour trek from Fort Lauderdale to N.Y. [Chicago Tribune]
(Photo: dailydose)

Comments

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  1. SBR249 says:

    At least the passengers got a free flight or two out of it.

  2. Ray Wert Jr says:

    Man, what is wrong with the Airlines these days. I’m afraid to fly, not because it might crash but because I’ll be stuck in an hot air plane next to a crying baby, with the air reeking of human waste.

  3. nweaver says:

    The only thing which suprises me is that they didn’t just bus the passangers from Atlantic City to new york.

    And part of the problem is the “creeping delay” you get with weather, especially east coast thunderstorms. It could clear up in 5 minutes, it could clear up in 5 hours.

    And hey, most airlines wouldn’t have paid for the hotel rooms, as “Weather is not our fault, sorry”

  4. plim says:

    @nweaver: actually, i think it was prudent that they didn’t bus the passengers in light of recent events…

    [consumerist.com]

  5. Bluefreak says:

    @nweaver: From the article: “JetBlue spokesman Todd Burke said Thursday’s situation was very unusual. Storms had caused multiple JetBlue delays on the East Coast and led several planes to divert to Atlantic City, where it normally does not fly.

    With no ground crew or staff in Atlantic City, the airline’s contracted representatives did their best to locate buses for the trip to JFK. But after calling several casinos and about 45 bus companies, they found none could do the job, Burke said.”

  6. rmz says:

    Man, our flight was delayed about 7 hours last week — including about 3 hours sitting on the tarmac waiting to take off, then another 2 hours waiting to refuel after not being able to land due to air traffic — but I guess I should be glad that it at least didn’t take 25 hours. My sympathy to these folks.

  7. nachas101 says:

    Is it any wonder airlines are teetering near bankruptcy?
    Long delays, higher prices, and less service.
    The airline industry is choking itself to death.

  8. yg17 says:

    It seems like American is the only airline that hasn’t had a major screw up lately. So now its their turn, and I’m flying AA Wednesday and Sunday this week. Crap!

  9. Jiminy Christmas says:

    I would like to see EU regulations pertaining to air travel adopted in the US. When it comes to meal vouchers, hotel rooms, etc. the rules spell out exactly what the airlines are required to do. They don’t have the option of dumping you in an airport lobby and telling you to fend for yourself until they get their act together.

    I especially like the EU rules regarding cancelled flights: cash compensation. 600 euros (+/- $750) for international flights. 250 euros (+/- $315) for for flights under 1,500km. As it stands, US domestic carriers effectively use their customers’ time to subsidize their costs of doing business. Granted, things like weather happen. That said, if there were a law that codified the fact that people’s time is worth something perhaps airlines would be a little less cavalier about wasting it.

    Lastly, I realize that air travel in the US is relatively cheap. That said, I would gladly pay 10-20% more if I could leave for the airport and be 95% certain that the plane would depart and arrive as scheduled. I’m that tired of the we could have driven there and back by now experiences.

  10. azntg says:

    One thing I learned from the Consumerist and other fellow users: Fly Southwest or Jetblue, if possible.

    Yes, after the Winter Fiasco, the common joke in my college was: “[Someone/something] pulled a JetBlue on me”. But still, despite the problems, which no passenger or even the crews should have to endure by any means, I’d say that JetBlue is still pretty good at not offering sh*tty and frankly insulting compensations, unlike most other carriers.

  11. amypop says:

    What doesn’t makes sense to me is, if JetBlue has no staff at Atlantic City, why didn’t they go up to Stewart in Newburgh? It’s one of their routing cities, and even if they couldn’t fly out — only 1/1.5 hrs away by bus or train.

  12. Art Vandelay says:

    Why are delays so rampant now today? Is it just the media covering the delays/issues more because of what happened this past winter? Did airlines make a change that just isn’t working? What the hell happened to air travel over the past 6 months?

  13. tvh2k says:

    I guess they forgot about NJ Transit. I’m pretty sure the 319 is express to AC.

  14. TechnoDestructo says:

    @Ray Wert Jr:

    It’s not airlines, it’s airports. American airports. GOD I HATE THEM SO.

    Well, the US airlines mostly suck, too.

    Flying in Asia is almost fun. Flying in the US is about as much fun as getting fillings.

    It’s getting really expensive to drive cross country. We have little to no rail service in most of the country. And now air travel is turning into hell.

    STAY HOME, AMERICA. THIS IS CLEARLY WHAT THE CONSPIRACY WANTS YOU TO DO!

  15. RobUsdin says:

    I would have stayed the night and rented a car in the morning. Why bother getting back on a plane for another half hour? Just rent a car, drive to the airport and pick up your luggage there. In fact, if the airlines was smart they would have just offloaded everyone and their luggage onto a couple of coach buses and had them at JFK faster than the plane got there.

    –*Rob

  16. FLConsumer says:

    A large portion of the delays aren’t due to the airlines themselves. It’s due to the ancient (and obviously critically ill & overworked) air traffic control system we have. Using “air highways” can only go so far before you need to build new “highways.” Unfortunately, our gov’t still hasn’t caught up to the 21st century. Just look at airport security. WHY should I have to arrive 2 hours early to go through security? If they had their crap together (anyone ever travel abroad?) then going through security, even customs, isn’t even a hassle.

  17. AnastasiaBeaverhousen says:

    @FLConsumer: You are right on FLCONSUMER. SWA is the most efficient airline and claimed a few years ago, before fuel prices went up, their cost per mile per passenger was $.12. I believe the majors are around the $.23 mark. That means a coast to coast flight that retails for $350 is a $150 loss for them when things go as planned. They most certainly are losing significantly more when there are delays. Blame ATC and the FAA. The airlines want to get you there on time. UAL allows you to listen in on ATC communications on channel 8 or 9 of the entertainment system. Check it out on your next flight. You will hear Clearance Delivery and the Approach controllers doling out the delays.