Saturday, February 17, 2007

Todd R's Boston Experience

So Wednesday night I had a flight from Boston to Denver, I knew we had bad weather but Logan normally does a great job getting flights out. I've flown in snow 3 other times without delays.

First, I can't get a cab because of the weather. I'm meeting my friends in dowtown prior so I give up and decide to walk .5 mile to the T-Station with my 50lb suit case and loaded up backpack thru the unplowed icy streets. Most sidewalks weren't shoveled, and anywhere that they were had 5" of water sitting there. It was a very wet and miserable walk.

I finally get to the T-Station and board the inbound train to downtown. It's busy of course, not much room for luggage, and I get so motion sick on these things, I hate it. I get there no problem, get a cab right away, and pick up my 3 friends and their luggage.

We head to Logan. Driver is crazy, and the roads are a mess, but the precipitation is stopping.

We arrive at Logan, 2 hours early, everything appears to be ontime. Get some dinner and few 20oz beers. Flight is at 9:25, and last call is at 8:45...WTF. So we down new beers and head to the terminal. It seems as though everything shuts down in this terminal at 9pm. Crazy. Can't even buy a pack of gum any longer unless you pass back thru security and make the long walk to another terminal.

We get to our gate, and they tell us the flight is delayed. "We don't have a pilot. He's in Tampa, and his flight hasn't left yet, we're currently trying to find another pilot." We sit around for a couple hours, recieving very little updates about this pilot in Tampa. It's so busy the 4 of us have to sit on the floor. I buy the day pass for WiFi access, get onto BodogPoker and the connection craps out after 10 minutes while I'm in a big pot with a pair of nines. I'm never able to get back online, even after a few reboots. So I'm back to being bored again. After waiting for awhile I joke loudly on the phone, "at this point, I'd even be okay if they let a woman fly the plane." This got me a mixture of dirty looks and snickers.

Finally around 11, they say a pilot has arrived, and we'll be boarding shortly. I finally find myself seated between a friend and a fat guy at 11:15pm. Everything appears fine, they do the standard safety procedures, and then some of the guys from the ground crew board the plane and announce that they've 'damaged a ground receptacle while preparing the plane and must replace the whole unit, should take 15-20 minutes.'

Fine, atleast we're seated and the televisions work. 30 minutes later, they've announced that they've damaged something else while replacing the receptacle, and we'll need to wait longer for additional repairs.

12:30ish they announce they're almost done with the repairs, but we'll need to cycle the power. We lose the televisions, as well as the 'fresh air' and fans that circulate the air. It quickly gets very hot and VERY stale.

1:00 they announce that one of the systems failed to come up, so we'll need to cycle the power again, they say it's just like when your computer crashes, and you need to hit CTRL+ALT+DEL'. Okay. A loud fat guy directly behind me takes a call, which seems to be mostly about Anna Nicole Smith and Howard K Stern. The man must be half deaf, because most of the plane is getting fed up with his loud nonsense discussion. My buddy goes up front to see if we could get a drink cart with booze to come around, and to see if they'll remind us that we can't use our cell phones. The crew deny both of his requests.

1:30 they announce that the ground crew has fixed everything, and we'll be taking off shortly. 'Please give a hand to the ground crew'. They get a few half-@ss claps. We just need to do the 'paperwork' and we'll be ready to go. Sounds good to me, how long could it possibly take to sign a few signatures.

2:00am- We still haven't left, they announce that we're having some problems with one of the smoke detectors. We'll be leaving as soon as they are able to fix it.

They come around a few times, checking our seatbelts, and returning our seats to upright positions. I finally start to fall asleep, and they come on right at 3:00am to say, "at this point, the flight crew has logged too many hours, and we are no longer legally able to fly." Everyone is SUPER pissed, but silently awaiting directions. "All hotels in Boston are currently booked so we'll be setting up cots for those who have to stay overnight. We'll also be opening up ticket counters so you can reschedule your flights."

FINE. I've been on the plane for 4 hours, I should already be in Denver, but I'll just book the next flight to Denver and leave in a hours. No big deal. We get into the dreadfully slow ticket lines, and after 20 minutes of waiting, they tell us the next JetBlue flight is Sunday night, and the other airlines have a few flights, but they're $800-1600 more expensive. Sometime during this their computers die, and they can no longer see JetBlue flights, or issue refunds. They end up telling us we can take a full refund to our credit cards, or we can get JetBlue credit and a oneway voucher worth up to $130. [censored] that. I don't want to fly JetBlue again. But we have 24 hours to make a decision. So we wait for our luggage and catch antoher $30 cab ride back.

I finally get home around 4:30, drive a friend home, and go to bed at 5am.

Start calling JetBlue at 11am, but they're too busy, they won't even put you on hold. Just call back later. I finally get thru around 3pm, and they only have flights on Monday. My original vacation was booked for Wed-Mon this does me no good. I complain vigoursly about everything they put us through, and they still offer the same deal. So I ultimately take the full refund.

All day long, I see JetBlue all over the news for stranding passengers in NY for 8 hours. What horrible publicity that is, but they're still unwilling do anything. Finally at night I see they're offering a refund plus a roundtrip voucher if you were stuck on a plane for more than 3 hours.

I try calling today...but I'm still unable to get thru. What a [censored] situation. I really felt like the crew was stalling us. The numerous excuses were ridiculous. One after another, just dragging it out until they could no longer legally fly. They said the entire time that it was not weather related. I commend all the other airlines that were able to successfully cancel their flights in a timely fashion or get their planes in the air. I didn't hear about one other airline having issues. WTF! And their inability to correct the situation is crazy.

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