JetBlue Getaways Package Lets Company Get Away With $3500 Of My Money

Here’s the problem with scheduling your travel and accommodations as a package deal: if you need to reschedule or change one part of the package, you run the risk of losing other parts of the package deal. Victor used Jetblue Getaways to buy a flight and hotel package, and not a cheap one. When he needed to change his travel dates less than a week before the trip, he called up to cancel the package. Nope, said JetBlue. They wouldn’t let him cancel the stay he had booked through them at the Waldorf. That was weird, because when he called up the Waldorf directly, they were happy to cancel his booking. It’s just that JetBlue won’t give him the money back, even as a credit for future travel.

I purchased an online jetBlue Getaways package on July 17th for a scheduled departure date of July 24th. I read through the Getaways Terms and Conditions, and with reasonable confidence, selected my flights and hotel. The policy statement on their website says: If you do not change or cancel your Getaways reservation prior to your scheduled departure, then all money for the package is forfeited.

I was flying SFO to JFK for an arbitration hearing for work. Due to my son’s disability, my wife and child travel with me. The arbitration was postponed due to legalities, so on July 19th I called jetBlue, requested to cancel my trip, and was promptly denied. Apparently the
itinerary that was emailed to me AFTER purchasing the package states “jetBlue does not guarantee that changes can be made on all or parts of packages. To the extent changes can be made, changes must be made 14 days or more prior to the scheduled departure date, are based on availability, and are subject to a fee of $100 per person plus any increase in package price.”

I found this on the third page of my itinerary in microscopic text, as though it was something to hide. This is NOT clear during jetBlue’s online purchasing process, nor is it made clear in the jetBlue confirmation. There is no mention of forfeiture of any portion of the Getaways package. To be clear, I am aware jetBlue does not provide refunds – that is not what I requested. I requested a full credit, not a refund, of my Getaways package.

I offered to provide the letters written by lawyers on the arbitration case showing that it was indeed cancelled. I also contacted the Waldorf directly (the hotel I booked via jetBlue’s package deal) and they confirmed my cancellation and provided me with a confirmation number. They said it was absolutely no problem to cancel my reservation.

jetBlue’s response to inform me that credit will not be given for the hotel portion, and even went as far as to write “We understand this is not the response you were hoping for, however this is our final decision.”

I am now out $3476.93, which I will have to spend again once the arbitration is rescheduled. I am horrified by the disregard jetBlue has for their customers, and how comfortable they are with keeping money that does not rightfully belong to them. They stated that they could not refund the hotel money because it was the hotel’s policy, and yet the hotel acknowledged and granted my request for cancellation. Therefore, the only person that made money of this transaction is jetBlue.

Lesson learned. Don’t ever fly jetBlue unless you’re okay throwing your money away. I still can’t believe they stole my hotel money.

Well, don’t book your hotel through your airline if there’s a chance you may have to cancel or reschedule the trip. That’s the real lesson here.

It could be that the terms of the hotels’ contracts with JetBlue forbid refunds. As far as getting through goes, we’ve heard that the company can be receptive to EECBs, and the regular customer service e-mail of promise@jetblue.com might work as well.

Comments

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  1. The Schwartz says:

    They wouldn’t refund the hotel portion, but what about the rest of the trip?

    For whatever portion(s) of the trip they refuse to credit, JetBlue is obviously in the wrong per their own T&C linked to in the story. The T&C allow you to cancel “prior to scheduled departure” and receive a Getaways credit minus a $100 per person fee. There is no mention of a 14-day requirement and I don’t think it is fair (or potentially even legal) for them to impose one after you booked.

    It does say that the hotel may charge an additional fee, but you have confirmed with the hotel directly that they did not; JetBlue can’t tell you any differently because their T&C explicitly authorizes you to contact the hotel regarding their cancellation policy and “expressly incorporates” the hotel’s cancellation policy.

    In summary, chargeback or small claims court for the cost of the portions they refused to credit.

  2. lsumekana08 says:

    Actually, the terms are listed on the page before you purchase the package: “Except where Your booking involves a stay at one of the properties listed below, or as otherwise provided during the reservation process and on the confirmation issued to You after the request for booking, all cancellations must be made 14 days or more prior to scheduled departure date and are subject to a fee of $100 per person…If a cancellation is not made in accordance with JetBlue’s cancellation policy, all money associated with the package will be forfeited.”

    *Note: There are no properties listed below, so I’m not sure what the part means.

    Also, I am assuming the hotel was happy to cancel the booking because the hotel had already gotten paid and would not be refunding the money. Why would he go directly to the hotel to cancel the reservation when he didn’t book with the hotel to start with? Isn’t this like Expedia or any other OTA?