Saturday, February 17, 2007


THE JETBLUE MESS CONTINES, and my question remains: How did you guys and gals with the best domestic reputation -- so hard-earned and well deserved -- jump off the tracks so readily? Were you really stretched that thin in terms of equipment and crew that a little ice storm could virtually shut you down for four days, going now on five or six?

What JetBlue blithely calls "weather-driven" events were only a part of the problem. We're always going to have weather-driven events (duh).

What we need, not just at JetBlue but throughout the air travel industry, is an aviation system with minimally enough slack built in to handle a little snow, ice, rain or wind without stranding thousands of travelers at airports or, worse, inside idled planes. The airlines aren't the only ones who must solve this problem. The F.A.A. has to step up to the plate as well. So does Congress and so does the flying public, conditioned as it is to artificially low fares that keep many airlines operating so close to the edge that a slight disruption becomes chaos.

Specifically regarding the JetBlue fiasco, I'd like to know hour by hour: What went into the bone-headed decision-making process on those JFK ramps Wednesday --with the American Airlines debacle of Dec. 29, 2006, still fresh in mind?

Meanwhile, this just in. (And don't you love the words in the PR headline below, "extends operational recovery," rather than "continues unable to provide service"?)

"PR news wire:
JetBlue Extends Operational Recovery Through Monday, Feb. 19

Airline will Cancel 23 Percent of Monday Operations to Further
Recover from Weather-Driven Events of Feb. 14 and Subsequent
Operational Interruptions

NEW YORK, Feb. 17, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- JetBlue Airways this
evening announces further operational recovery programs through Monday,
Feb. 19. Details include:

Canceling 23 percent of Monday, Feb. 19 operations, including but not
limited to all flights to and from the following JetBlue destinations:

Austin, TX
Charlotte, NC
Columbus, OH
Houston, TX
Jacksonville, FL
Nashville, TN
Pittsburgh, PA
Portland, ME
Raleigh/Durham, NC
Richmond, VA

Customers are asked to check the status of their flight online at prior to leaving for the airport. Customers may check
their flight status via web-enabled mobile phones and PDA at

Customers scheduled for now-cancelled flights are encouraged to visit and choose to either convert the value of their travel
to a JetBlue credit or a full refund to the original form of payment.

Customers who would like to rebook their travel through May 22 without
change fee or fare difference are asked to call JetBlue at 800-JETBLUE

JetBlue extends the operational recovery program into Monday in order
to operate a reliable schedule and to continue its work in positioning
aircraft and flight crews properly.

JetBlue attempted to recover from the Feb. 14 ice storm by selectively
canceling flights on Feb. 15 and Feb. 16 in order to help reset the
airline's operation. The benefits of this action were mitigated by
further operational constraints at JFK, including a one runway
operation on Feb. 15, which resulted in long delays that flowed into
Feb. 16.

JetBlue is taking this aggressive, unprecedented action to end rolling
delays and cancellations, and to operate a new schedule reliably."


No comments: