Thursday, August 07, 2008

Jet Blues

Ever since the first time I flew with them, I've been a big fan of Jet Blue. I'll admit it, it has so much to do with the tv screen right in front of you, with more channels than I get at home. Flying is so very boring and since I'm prone to airsickness, reading is often not an option, so being able to watch Project Runway for like five hours, is a blessing. Since the seats are "leather," I also don't get as creeped out by dirty upholstery; I can more easily pretend that the crew actually wipes the seats down between flights. Etc.

But reader, my Jet Blue bubble was cruelly burst as I attempted to get home from beach vacay and discovered, at the airport, less than three hours beforehand, that my flight home had been canceled. Not good, especially since it was a night flight and as such, the last flight of the day. Also not good was the message Jet Blue had left me on my cell phone (please note the airport monitors had yet to reflect that the flight was canceled) assuring me that I would be rebooked--two days later.

Phone calls were made. To make a really long and painful story short 1. I was talking to a rep whose understanding of California was so sketchy that she was suggested I instead fly to San Diego. For those of you east coast people, that's like telling a JFK passenger to go to Maine. You feel me? Not even close. Then 2. I learn that Jet Blue does not have agreements with other airlines and therefore does not have the ability to book me on another flight. Etc. After much back and forth, I got to a supervisor who understood the concepts of "San Francisco Bay area" and "I cannot live in the Boston airport for two days" and got me on a flight the next morning.

So I got to spend the night in the airport. Two positive things I can glean from this otherwise craptastic experience: there is something eerily, hypnotically beautiful about a nearly empty airport, the maintenance men driving the floor-polisher zamboni thing around in endless circles and I was so wasted with exhaustion that I slept the whole way home.

True to my nature, as soon as I had caught up on my sleep I was ready to give Jet Blue some feedback about my experience on their airline. While waiting to hear back from them, I did a little research and dscovered some interesting tidbits of information. Jet Blue does not have "interline" agreements with other airlines, so they really were not able to rebook me on another flight and therefore could only offer me their own flights, even if they were two days later. These agreements are expensive but when flights get canceled because of weather Jet Blue has a harder time recovering because of it, the 2007 debacle being an extreme example, and one that I am most grateful not to have experienced.

I heard back from Jet Blue a day ago and their response was along the lines of, "We're sorry you had a bad experience, and although we cannot compensate you in any way because it's the weather and what can you do! but we hope you give us the opportunity to serve you again." Not a very satisfactory response but we'll see ... not that other airlines are any better. The US government needs to take a lesson from China. Boy, that's not something I ever thought I would say.

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