Friday, February 16, 2007

NY Daily News

Jetblues for stuck fliers

Hell at JFK as passengers sit on planes - FOR 11 HOURS!

(Photo Here)
Bronx couple Cheryl (center) and Seth Chesner, who were stuck on jetBlue plane at JFK for 11 hours yesterday, talk with airline employee before giving up hope of another flight to their Aruba honeymoon and going home.

JetBlue must have had a brain freeze yesterday - doing nothing as hundreds of passengers sat captive for up to 11 hours on 10 planes stranded on the Kennedy Airport tarmac.
Some planes - such as Flight 755 to Aruba and Flight 751 to Cancun - made it to the runways, only to run into icing problems that kept them grounded.
Other planes arrived at JFK in the morning from places such as Nashville and Fort Myers, Fla., but were unable to get to the terminal because the gates were full with outbound flights that never left.
"It was the worst, it was horrific," said Cheryl Chesner, 26, a speech pathologist, and her husband, Seth, 27, a hedge fund manager, who were bound for a six-day honeymoon in Aruba.
After de-icing and other problems grounded the plane, Cheryl said the Bronx couple was happy to go home - 11 hours later.
"At least we still love one another. But all the Aruba planes are booked for the next five days."
Making matters worse, the Port Authority was more than willing to help jetBlue bus passengers off the stranded planes - but the airline didn't ask until 3 p.m.
"We did not do our best," a jetBlue spokesman said. "No excuse for why we allowed those passengers to sit on the tarmac."
The cold weather and icy conditions were mostly to blame; some of the planes at the gate became frozen to the ground, a jetBlue spokesman said.
"We were waiting to clear the gates so we could bring in arriving planes," the spokesman added. "That just never happened."
Meanwhile, passengers waited, watched in-flight television, ate a lot of Terra Blues potato chips, the airline's official snack, then waited some more.
Flight 751, bound for Cancun with 134 passengers, sat idle for more than nine hours before they were brought back to the terminal at 5 p.m.
"There was no power and it was hot," a passenger told WABC-TV News. "There was no air. They kept having to open the actual plane doors, so we could breathe."
"The windows were iced over," said another passenger. "It's like being in a soundproof coffin. You were being held hostage."
On Flight 1048 from Nashville, passenger Yossi Gleiberman, 41, of Brooklyn, reported landing on time at 10:10 a.m.
"Now it's after 6 p.m. and we're still here," Gleiberman told the Daily News via cell phone from the plane. "They're feeding us, but there's 50 of us who want to get home."
Gleiberman said the bathrooms were overflowing and he could no longer stomach the blue chips given him and other passengers.
"I've eaten six bags of chips," he said. "I need an antacid."
The airline said it would give refunds and a free roundtrip flight to all passengers stuck aboard planes for three hours or more.With Kerry Burke Originally published on February 14, 2007

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