On the evening of April 3, I received a notification from JetBlue that the next day’s 8:40am flight out of Boston’s Logan Airport had been canceled, 12+ hours in advance. This was perplexing, as I happened to be leaving Boston at the same time as friends flying different airlines—none of their flights were canceled.
When I called customer service, I was told that the cancellation was due to weather, and that “all the other airlines would be canceling their flights in the morning” as well. My emotionally taxing conversation with the representative involved being repeatedly interrupted, talked over, and lectured. Having worked in customer service myself, I was appalled. I was initially told that my only option was to take the next JetBlue flight out of Boston at approx. 1:30pm. I was then told that flight was full, and that I would have to take a flight out the next day, except, oops, that one was full too. My remaining option was to take a Wednesday flight, staying two additional nights in Boston at my own expense. I asked to be rebooked on another airline, and was told I would have to rebook it myself. I was offered a refund, which the representative later clarified would be only a half refund. I rebooked with American for a flight leaving at 8:00am, a mere 40 minutes ahead of my original JetBlue flight. Surprise, surprise, it left perfectly on time. Unfortunately, my new one-way ticket cost more than my original roundtrip with JetBlue.
JetBlue stated that this cancellation was due to weather. However, other airlines managed this situation just fine. On April 4, JetBlue cancelled 3% of its total flights, while Delta and American only cancelled 1%. In situations such as this, JetBlue is unable to provide a comparable level of service as other airlines. JetBlue customers are essentially being penalized for choosing JetBlue over another airline. They have a practice of preemptively canceling flights, especially those flights which are not full (a fact revealed to me in an exchange with another customer service rep.) in an effort to control *potential* delays in other parts of the country. Those customers whose flights are cancelled simply because they are not full? They’re out of luck.
To blame a business decisions on the weather in order to avoid paying for travelers’ rebooking fees is disingenuous at best. At worst, it’s theft.
I have since conducted research on whether or not this sort of situation is typical for JetBlue. It is. Take a look at this article assessing JetBlue’s response to a 2014 snowstorm, in comparison with other airlines: money.cnn.com/2014/01/07/news/companies/...
This inept practice (understaffing and mass cancellations) is, on its own, forgivable, and certainly understandable from a business perspective. But it is combined with a total refusal to help passengers rebook in a timely manner, or recompense them when they rebook on their own. If I hadn’t had access to internet in order to rebook immediately, I would likely still be in Boston. It I hadn’t had the available funds to rebook at my own expense, I would still be in Boston without any place to stay.