Delays, Insults Have Left Me With the JetBlues

Benjamin says JetBlue gave him a hard time as he traveled from Puerto Rico to Boston, sticking him with a delay that caused him to miss a connecting flight, then telling him it wasn’t responsible and repeatedly calling him a liar when he tried to get some help.

Here’s his tale of frustration:

After repeated attempts to contact them through the form on their website I still receive the following canned response:

“We are currently transitioning to a new reservations system which is causing an increased volume of email. Although the new system will help us to better serve our customers, the conversion process is complex and does not allow us to respond to your concern at this time.”

Please forgive the long and drawn out story, but I feel I must convey my truly awful experience:

I flew from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Boston, MA where I was to catch a connecting flight to San Francisco. This connection was an option offered by Jet Blue. I did not book two separate flights.

We departed from the gate in San Juan about 20-30 minutes late. A brief announcement from the flight crew explained that the delay was due to some late arrivals. Consequently, the flight arrived in Boston about 30-40 minutes late and I had missed my connecting flight.

Here is where the problems begin:

The gate agent near where I had exited the plane had no idea how to help me and I was told to go back out beyond security and speak to someone at the main Jet Blue desk. The first rep, although extremely patient and kind, could not help me so a first supervisor was called over.

The supervisor told me that since the delay was registered as an FAA traffic delay that JetBlue was not responsible. When I recounted the departure delay and the justification offered by the flight crew, I was called a liar. Rather frustrated and insulted, I argued my point and this first supervisor excused himself. After about 10 minutes on the phone at the other end of the customer service counter, he came over with another supervisor.

This supervisor told me that there was nothing JetBlue could do because I had booked flights too close together. When I informed her that I had booked the trip as an option JetBlue provided, not as two separate flights, I was again called a liar. At this point I was told the next flight to San Francisco was the next morning and that I should get comfortable in the terminal until then. Apparently sensing my agitation, this supervisor then told me that a mere 12 hour wait was “not that bad”. In fact, I was told I was “lucky” that the wait was not longer. I was even “luckier” since I had not checked any bags because no one knew where they would be at this point.

Next a third supervisor was called over. He never addressed himself to me. For the next ten minutes all 3 supervisors talked about me in front of me without including me in the conversation. It was like I was not even there. Meanwhile, the original agent grabbed a phone and made a call. She would later interrupt the supervisors and tell them that she had checked on the last flight to Oakland and it had not left the gate yet. If they hurried they could at least get me close to San Francisco that night. They quickly dismissed her but she persisted.

At this point the third supervisor, now sitting at the computer, asked her to ask me for my passport (still none of the supervisors would address me directly). According to the computer, I had been checked in to the Boston to San Francisco flight and therefore could not be put on another flight at this time. Apparently, the JetBlue system automatically checks you in to all connecting flights when you check in for the first. At the same time, a security measure prevents one person from being on two flights at the same time. This supervisor finally acknowledged the rep’s persistent requests to get me on the flight to Oakland. He said that it could not be done because it would take 20 minutes to “remove me” from the original San Francisco flight and add me to the Oakland flight, which was now leaving in 20 minutes, therefore leaving no time to go through security. The quick thinking woman that she was, the clerk suggested the supervisor handle the computer work while she escorted me through security and to the gate. This would take about 20 minutes and he could add me to the flight by the time I got to the gate. He reluctantly agreed.

Now there was the small matter of how I would get from Oakland Aiport to my car at SFO. The first supervisor now advised that I pay for a taxi and submit a claim to JetBlue for reimbursement. When I declined to put out any money for a taxi that same gate clerk/agent/rep that had pushed the Oakland idea now asked the supervisor if he could contact Oakland and have the supervisor there ready to issue me a taxi voucher when I arrived. He reluctantly agreed. For what its worth, I was also denied any form of written confirmation regarding this voucher and told to “trust” that everything would be handled in Oakland. From here on in everything went well.

The agent ran me to the gate and I got there “just in time” to sit on that plane for another 20 minutes until it took off as it too was delayed. The flight crew on this plane, although uninformed of all that I had just gone through, must have sensed my agitation and could not have been kinder. I must also congratulate the supervisor in Oakland who was waiting for me when I arrived. He personally walked me from the gate and out to a cab where he issued the voucher directly to the driver. Incidentally, the cab ride came out to $95 + a $5 tip so I would have had to put out $100 if I had gone along with the first supervisor’s original plan.

All in all, I arrived at my car nearly 4 hours later than I should have. By this time I had also gone over into another day of parking for which I had to pay extra. Furthermore, I had gotten home so late that all of the parking spots near my apartment were taken and I was forced to park almost 10 blocks away. Nevermind that it had now been almost a day since I had eaten anything more than in-flight snacks.

This brings us to my post trip experience with JetBlue customer service. I have sent numerous emails to JetBlue and never received a single human response by phone or email. Aside from needing to vent my experience to someone that may have the power to ensure that it does not happen again, I specifically question their Customer Bill of Rights. In the past, I have been compensated for a mere 30 minute delay yet I have not heard a single word from JetBlue regarding the 4 extra hours I was forced to travel that day. PLEASE PLEASE HELP!

Some have had luck with JetBlue on Twitter. Any other suggestions for Benjamin?