Saturday, February 17, 2007

Julie V's Horror Story

My "Horror Story" is about uneducated travellers...

The one thing that NO news program is stressing is that whenever there is ANY kind of winter storms, especially with ANY amount of ICE and SNOW there are MANY severe delays and cancellations (this also goes for tropical storms and hurricanes in the Southeast if you are so daft that you need that pointed out as well, honestly!!). I live in New York and go to Florida several times a year and know not to even get near an airport during any kind of severe weather (and I know to check no matter what coast I'm on - the West Coat also has the Weather Channel, Internet service and access to national news by the way). More so, most of the passengers that take the New York to Florida routes do it several times a year as well (i.e. we're called "snowbirds") and should know all this.

Doesn't anyone check the weather before traveling??!!! Whether flying to or from the Northeast (and the Southeast during Hurricane season), as a rule, if there is snow or ice or ANY kind of severe weather - DON'T TRY TO FLY UNLESS YOU ARE WILLING TO EXPERIENCE HORRIBLE DELAYS AND CANCELLATIONS. THEY WILL HAPPEN - GUARANTEED!! It is not enough to check your flight the night before or even a few hours before because the weather is unpredictable - it can always change and a few degrees in freezing conditions or wind changes can affect the ability of an aircraft to get off the ground safely. And of course there is going to be a trickle down effect from delays so even if a window of decent weather opens up, or the ground and planes have been de-iced successfully, there can be a long line of planes waiting to get off the ground.

All airlines cancel and have delays during these conditions and ALL airlines wave change fees on the days surrounding bad weather because they know it will not be possible to get most flights off the ground safely in this type of weather. I think most people would prefer delays and cancellations over sliding or crashing into the surrounding freezing waters in the bays around the airports in NYC (or sliding/crashing into another aircraft on the ground).

As far as food and beverage during flights - if you want more you'll have to pay for first or business class - you get what you pay for on economy or coach. AND as far as the incessant bad mouthing of Jet Blue, should they never have pushed back from the gate and cancelled the flights that were on the ground for 8+ hours? ...YES, BUT again, travelers should understand the risks of trying to fly during or around a winter storm or any moderate-severe storm. I would have changed my flight to another one 2 days after the storm (there are ALWAYS residual delays and crowding the day after) very few flights are going to arrive at the original time anyway - I have done so several times in the past - the airlines are most accommodating. Also, I've been a loyal Jet Blue customer since they began their JFK to Ft. Lauderdale flights (my family is in South Florida). They have been nothing short of a blessing. They are economy but they give excellent, friendly service well beyond many of the bigger more established "world class" airlines and the planes are nice, clean and new and the TV's only rarely have outages (again - I still remember to bring a book!).

Aside from some GOVERNMENT regulations and guidelines that need to be made to make it easier for airlines to unload passengers that are stuck on aircrafts for hours and until the airlines develop a weather machine, people need to give the airlines a break (and think about the employees stuck working in these conditions - do you think anyone at any airline enjoys these delays??? really! ) Grow up and learn to be an educated traveler! I see these stories winter after winter and everyone acts so surprised - it's shameless - as if the weather delays are a personal affront to them, not an obvious natural occurring situation beyond the airlines control. The fact that we SEE theses same stories TIME after TIME, YEAR after YEAR is proof of my point!!!! And many news channels encourage this ignorance by playing to the complaint-hungry, noteriety-seeking masses by asking them for "their horror story". Peolple need to take responsibilty and a role in their on wise travelling. Would they take their family on a road trip in this weather?????

Thanks for your time,
Julie V-P
Greenpoint, NY

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