Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Barbados Blog - Hostages On The Runway and

Hostages On The Runway

It is finally time for a Passengers Bill of Rights that states - Airline passengers cannot be held hostage when their flight gets delayed for hours upon hours - you bet it is.

This isn't the first time this has happened - but hopefully it will be the last!

A JetBlue flight was scheduled to leave New York at 8 a.m. for the island of Aruba, but the only thing passengers got was an 11 hour wait on the runway.

Passengers were stuck onboard with no water, the snack food ran out, the cabin temperature was hot and uncomfortable, and going to the bathroom was more than unpleasant - and under no circumstances were the passengers allowed to leave. Hostages!

Another JetBlue flight that was headed for Cancun was delayed more than eight hours with passengers stuck onboard. Passengers reported that the plane door had to be opened every 20 minutes so they could get some fresh air. Frigid, cold air every 20 minutes.

While these passengers waited to take off, other passengers who had just arrived in New York were also stuck on their planes. A JetBlue flight from Florida landed in New York around 10 in the morning, but passengers were not allowed to leave the plane until 7 p.m.

What actually happened was that a major storm was already forecasted for the Midwest and Eastern coast - that was no secret.

While this storm was raging, the planes still boarded and pulled away from the gates. Many times in this situation the airlines thinking is that "maybe" the weather will get better - and the planes will be in line to take off.

So now we have planes lined up on the runway unable to take off, but if they taxi back they will lose their spot, so they sit. The situation becomes worse as more planes arrive, and the gates start to fill up - then the planes cannot return to the gates.

As the storm continued Wednesday, planes and heavy equipment were literally froze to the ground.

I waited until today to blog about this because I wanted to see what JetBlue would have to say a couple of days after their worst PR nightmare. Their spokesman stated that 250 of 500 flights nationwide were canceled Wednesday, but "fairly normal" service resumed Thursday.

Well, I know for a fact that at least 100 of their flights were still cancelled as of today - so the spin still goes on.

No on can obviously control the weather, but common sense and respect for passengers must start to prevail in the airline industry.

If it is obvious that planes on the runway cannot take off in a reasonable amount of time, then it should be the airlines responsibility to send another mode of transportation (buses, etc) to the plane, and get those passengers back inside the airport.

Of course if the plane cannot leave the runway, then perhaps the flight should be cancelled, and not even leave the gate - this would be the cheaper alternative for the airlines - the flight is cancelled due to bad weather - straight and simple.

Since common sense did not prevail this week, JetBlue not only had to offer a complete refund to hundreds of angry passengers, but for PR's sake, they also offered another free ticket to be used at a later date - that is if some of the passengers want to fly with them again.

But, there's more to be concerned about than inconvenience while being stuck onboard a flight for hours upon end -

Read this article by Diana Fairechild, a former flight attendant. In fact, you just might want to bookmark her site for future reference when traveling.


Update on Saturday, February 17, 2007 at 07:54PM by
Linda Thompkins
My, My - Received this e-mail from Anna, one of our blog visitors . . .
One of the JetBlue passengers was so mad they started a "JetBlue Hostage Blog" - and rather than just use the free blogger account domain, they purchased the doman
I know the folkes at JetBlue are loving this one. I wonder if they will keep posting - after all the purpose of a blog is to make consistent postings.

Well Anna I guess we just have to wait & see how long the JetBlue Hostage Blog stays up and running. And yes, it is interesting that the blog owner purchased that domain - just shows how mad & serious they are right now.
Anyone who has been in a similiar situation can appreciate how these passengers fell. I had my "nightmare hostage flight" on the former BWIA airlines where we boarded a flight in Barbados, and spent an entire night, and the next morning on the airplane. Linda

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