Inside The Valentine's Day JetBlue Nightmare

WABC in New York has an excellent report about the Valentines Day JFK nightmare that contains audio of the grounded pilots communicating with the air traffic controllers.

For some reason, JFK stayed open even though no planes could take off in the ice storm. The back up got so bad that the controllers were literally yelling at the JetBlue pilots because the pilots had nowhere to park and were just sitting in the way of incoming planes.

ABC 7 also reports that in June JFK airport had 150 flights where passengers sat on the tarmac for at least 3 hours.


Inside JFK Airport’s ice storm meltdown [ABC 7]


Edit Your Comment

  1. ThirtyWhat says:

    Back in September of last year, I was stuck at O’Hare for *hours.* These kind of delays are just mindnumbingly awful.

  2. humphrmi says:

    What are the chances we can get a transcript, for us video feed impaired?

  3. chimmike says:

    what you don’t get to hear is the pilots bitching about having to sit in those seats for hours without moving anywhere or doing anything. At least the passengers had a chance to stand up and move around some……..

    either way, absolutely ridiculous.

  4. gibsonic says:


    hrm…let’s disect that comment a bit.

    pilots – getting paid mad $ to sit still doing nothing for hours.

    passengers – paying $ to get from A to B but instead are sitting doing nothing, not getting what they paid for.

    I can sympathize a bit with the pilot’s, but it’s THEIR JOB.

  5. enm4r says:

    In June I was going from Midway to Reagan. Delayed 6.5 hours leaving Midway. Delayed 7 hours coming back.

    Fortunately I wasn’t on the plane either time, but it really throws everything off if you’re relying on public transit, rides picking you up, connecting flights, etc. But I did get a free 10 minute phone card and a coupon for some food at the food court that not a single place would accept!!!

  6. lawnmowerdeth says:

    3 years ago we would fly home for Christmas (500 mile trip)
    Last year it was actally cheaper to rent an SUV for an entire week and drive there. And the 8 hour drive was about what we’d end up spending for total trip time anyway (Always a long wait in Chigago).

    And we could bring all the bottled water and soda that we wanted. :)

  7. Wormfather says:

    Boy am I lucky, I’ve never been delayed more than 1.5 hours in my life and I fly 4 or 5 times a year.

  8. enm4r says:

    @Wormfather: To be perfectly fair, previous to that trip, I don’t think I’ve ever really experienced significant delays. I fly 4-5 times a year easy, probably more, generally out of DC/Chicago, and usually get to sit back and enjoy the flight. Just wait, you’ll get hit with the law of averages too…

  9. stpauliegirl says:

    @humphrmi: The article at ABC 7’s website(linked under the article; “Inside JFK Airport’s ice storm meltdown”) is a transcript of the video. Fun fact: most TV news websites’ “articles” are just transcripts of the story from the news broadcast.

  10. veronykah says:

    What you don’t seem to realize is pilots work in TRIPS, so being stranded at an airport for 6 hours isn’t making them money. They are most likely screwing up an ENTIRE trip by missing the next flight they are scheduled to fly, and burning the hours they are legally allowed to work..all screwing them out of the hours and flights they were scheduled to fly therefore NOT making them money.
    I can’t imagine a pilot being excited about being stuck in the plane on the runway, then stuck in whatever city they are supposed to be flying out of until their airline can figure out how to get them to where they need to be or where they live.
    My ex-boyfriend was a pilot and was stranded somewhere due to delays, weather and timing out. He got stuck there for 5 days when his trip was supposed to be 2. He had no clothes and was stuck in a crappy airport hotel in the middle of nowhere for the duration. Can’t imagine he was thinking of the “mad $” he was making…wait he was an FO in his first few years so he was making between 20-30k…yeah MAD $$$! I was making more than him as a waitress in a nightclub….

  11. jamesdenver says:

    What’s the story? Is this new? Sounds like they just put together a story to be able to use that audio – which I found to be professional and efficient exchanges between tower/ground and the pilots.

  12. Argel1200 says:

    Given the time some of those people were stuck at that airport I could probably take a train from St. Louis to Syracuse. So how is Amtrak these days?

  13. @enm4r: Lemme guess: United?

  14. sleze69 says:

    SO after 911, the airlines lost money. Southwest was the only successful airline so all the others emulated them and got smaller aircraft. Then they got greedy and overbooked them and scheduled too many flights. Now they have 90% full flights yet are still somehow hemmoraging money.

    If they want to move more passengers, they need to get bigger planes. Meanwhile, Southwest is still making money with small planes and low cost airfare.

  15. Major-General says:

    @sleze69: Well, Southwest’s small planes are B737’s, so 100-160 passengers each.

  16. majortom1981 says:

    I fly southwest out of mac arthur airport on Long Island and have not had a single delay so far. Dont use the huge airports.

    Especially in NYC.

  17. ThirtyWhat says:

    @enm4r: You’re so right. I’m patient and I wasn’t forced to wait ON the plane … so I’m a pretty good sport about things.

    What made it a horrific experience was that I was trying to make a connecting flight … which I OBVIOUSLY missed … and then I had registered with a shuttle to take me the 20 miles to my hotel … and I had to call them FIVE separate times to reschedule.

    I was supposed to be sitting in my hotel relaxing by 8 p.m. … and I didn’t get there until after 1 a.m. … and training started at 8 a.m. the next morning. Hellacious trip …

  18. MENDOZA!!!!! says:

    I am almost convinced that the government is making flying less tolerable, driving up train usage, thus paying less subsidies to Amtrak

  19. filmsnack says:

    I became part of the JetBlue President’s Day Weekend debacle, and though I’m very thankful not to have been one of the people stuck in a plane on the tarmac for umpteen hours, I was so angry and discouraged about not being able to talk to a single JetBlue employee for two weeks after the weekend in question that I will use the $200 in credits that JetBlue ended up paying me, and thereafter never fly with them again. I’m too miserly/poor not to pass up what is essentially a free flight to my best friend’s wedding, but it doesn’t quite cover the $300 I had to pay out-of-pocket to eventually get to my destination on Southwest (it was my birthday weekend, and 3 of my friends were flying in to meet me in Los Angeles).

  20. CB-Photography says:

    @sleze69: Southwest only made money because they had financial hedges in place against rising fuel prices, not because of their business model. Take away those hedges, and they would be no better than the other airlines.