JetBlue’s weather fiasco: my story

I posted last night as I was sitting in Boston’s Logan Airport, waiting for a flight to San Jose.  As passengers piled up in the gate area when flight after flight was delayed, JetBlue’s JFK woes were broadcast on CNN Airport Network.

At first, everything seemed fine.  The weather was bright and clear outside, no need to worry.  Then my 3:55 pm departure was pushed out 15 minutes.  Which became an hour.  Then a couple of hours.  I went and had dinner.  Then sat in the gate, watching as travelers grew increasingly nervous with each announcement.

Unlike a typical Thursday, the airport was filled with families trying to get a head start on their vacation, as public schools are on holiday next week.  Frustrated parents.  A young engineer who wants to make her 10 am meeting in Mountain View.  An MBA student on the eve of his interview with one of the most prestigious VC’s in the world.  A Brit who declares, "This was my first time flying JetBlue – I’m never flying this airline again."

Finally, after more time spent waiting then would have been spent in the air, the flight’s cancelled.  The gate agent announces, "Sorry, most flights are full through the end of next week.  You can pick up your luggage downstairs."  A message on states, "most flights after 5 pm have been cancelled in order to set us up for a better operating day tomorrow."  So I went home.

I’d expect that my ticket would be refunded in full.  But according to JetBlue, my flight actually departed yesterday (see pic)!  I called 1-800-JETBLUE a few times to see if I could get this squared away, but a recorded message states, "due to extremely high call volume, we can’t take your call…Goodbye."

So what happened?  The weather.  Which exposed caused breakdowns in JetBlue’s equipment, policies and procedures, and service channels.  It’s difficult enough to build a great brand under clear skies – let’s see how B6 handles this figurative storm – because they’ve failed dismally at handling the literal one.