JetBlue Strands Area Jews In Texas As Passover Starts

ED. NOTE: This was printed with a bit of tongue-in-cheek sarcasm. The flight cancellation was, of course, real, and JetBlue's handling of the situation was about as bad as it gets. We were prepared to leave it at that. And yes, this article is more op-ed than journalism with a capital “J.” However, this one story has received more than 5,000 page views in the past 24 hours, many coming from BluePilots.com — a site that claims to be an internal employee-only chat board for B6 (JetBlue) employees. To all of you, we say welcome to BocaNewsNow.com, please fasten your seat belts, and perhaps if you spent half as much time figuring out how to develop intelligent, customer-friendly operations procedures as you do on BluePilots.com, you may not have to deal with stories like this. No, JetBlue didn't create the weather problem, but as it has so many times before, JetBlue created the havoc that ensued after the sun was again shining.

UPDATE: Click here for an update.

AUSTIN, TX (BocaNewsNow.com) — JetBlue has done it again. The airline whose bi-polar customer service and operations procedures (it's great, then it's not) led to the passenger bill of rights, today stranded a plane full of Fort Laudedale passengers in Austin, Texas.

Despite pleas to “let my people go home,” JetBlue took the role of an evil Pharoah and said “no.”

BocaNewsNow.com was coincidentally on the scene as it happened.

A significant hail storm forced the closure of the Austin, TX airport around the time flight 512 was supposed to leave for Fort Lauderdale. Due to weather issues, the incoming plane that would become Flight 512 was diverted to Dallas — eventually arriving in Austin two hours late — around 1p.

But as passengers eager to return home — or to family — in South Florida for the first night of Passover prepared to board, the airline announced that the crew's work day was 15 minutes over the time permitted by the FAA.

JetBlue canceled the flight. Passengers were told to return Tuesday morning.

Holiday for some passengers or not, it is astonishing that JetBlue — referred to affectionately by those who fly between Florida and New York as “Jet Jew”, apparently made no effort to send a “refreshed” crew to Austin to ensure customers would make it home the same day. The storm was over by early afternoon. The plane wasn't tired, just the pilots. Instead, acting like a low budget charter airline, JetBlue told passengers they were on their own — try again tomorrow.

While the BocaNewsNow.com staffer booked on the flight drove to Houston and flew back on Southwest, most other passengers expressed their dissatisfaction to gate agents unable to answer the more than four questions posed, including “why does JetBlue not have a backup plan?” “Why did JetBlue not realize that it would have a crew problem?” And “why does JetBlue only offer blue potato chips instead of blue Matzoah?”

There's already a 50/50 chance Tuesday of a flight delay due to frogs, locusts and diseased livestock.

The hail was off by a day.

Read the update here.

 

 

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  19 comments for “JetBlue Strands Area Jews In Texas As Passover Starts

  1. Janie Jones
    April 15, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 PM

    You do realize that Austin is not a crew base for Jetblue? Crews would have had to come from NY, Orlando, Long Beach, Boston or Ft Lauderdale. Reserve crews have a 2 hour call out. They would not get to one of the aforementioned airports, once they have been located, in under 2 hrs. Then they would have to fly from one of these airports to Austin on Jetblue. The shortest flight would be from Orlando, being under 3 hours. Now, depending on what time the next scheduled flight to Austin was, it could take anywhere from 5 hrs or more to get to Austin and that would be the very best scenario on a perfect day in a perfect world. It is more than likely that the next scheduled flight would not have been scheduled to get in with a legal crew for at least 8 hours. You would not have been happy about that either because you would have missed Passover either way. So Jetblue was damned if they did and damned if they didn’t. I think they did the best they could dealing with this situation. next time, fly a day earlier so you don’t miss your holiday.

    • BocaNewsNow.com Staff
      April 15, 2014 8:03 pm at 8:03 PM

      Glad to see you stick up for your airline. The argument that it would take three hours to get a crew to Austin is exactly JetBlue’s problem. Three hours is nothing to 129 passengers being told they’re on their own to find lodging and transportation because JetBlue has no one to fly a plane. The airline has gone from being unique and mold-breaking to lazy and incompetent. Austin isn’t exactly a third world nation. Send a crew down on Southwest. It just isn’t that difficult. For representatives of an airline — and yes, we know who you are — to say that passengers are elitist because they expect an airline to actually fly in good weather and certainly the same day a flight is scheduled is exactly your problem. Your customer service is the laughing stock of the airline industry. If you want to get somewhere, fly any other airline. If you want blue terra chips, buy a JetBlue ticket and enjoy the water and chips presented in the gate while the airline figures out whether it has the staffing or intelligence to fly.

      • stephen
        April 16, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 AM

        If JetBlue’s customer service is the laughing stock of the airline industry, then why have they won 9 straight J.D. Power awards in a row for customer service?

      • April 17, 2014 9:27 am at 9:27 AM

        I find it amazing that a media person would bash an airline as severely as this. Commercial aviation is a combination of both art and science. Neither of these is perfection. The art is getting our Customers from point A to point B…seamlessly. The science is getting our Customers from the same point A to the same point B…safely!
        Our values of Safety, Caring, Integrity, Fun, and Passion are OUR values. We hold them dearly to our hearts.
        Unless the article writer holds a current (and qualified) commercial pilot’s license…is aware of the ever-changing federal laws…and has actually flown a XXX-ton aircraft for a living…oh yeah and don’t forget the open hostility exhibited today by some (not all) Customers, coupled with this type of media shark-feeding frenzy….
        Unless you can call yourself all of the above….I strongly suggest you step up, investigate thoroughly (because you haven’t), and REALLY tell the story.
        If you THINK that for a moment, JetBlue doesn’t consider the ramifications…economical, personal, and strategical…in cancelling a flight: You are sorely mistaken.
        Sure JetBlue cancels flights…might not be the right thing to do but when it does…it is done in the name of SAFETY!
        I don’t know you but you appear to be uninitiated…or a fool

  2. Sean
    April 15, 2014 2:00 pm at 2:00 PM

    Whoever wrote this is obviously EXTREMELY ignorant…typical Boca

  3. James S.
    April 15, 2014 2:25 pm at 2:25 PM

    Your reporting is blaspheme at best, and don’t right insulting, and can be treated as hateful. Your style of writing and story structure is childish at best.

  4. Buffy McAllister
    April 15, 2014 4:05 pm at 4:05 PM

    What a ridiculous article. When there is any kind of issue with a flight cancellation or weather issue resulting in a delay, suddenly everyone is an airline expert. Same folks who cannot figure out how to stow their suitcase in an over head bin are suddenly aviation consultants? The author has no clue what he/she is talking about regarding FAA regulations. Austin is NOT a base for Jetblue, so there are no spare crew members just hanging around who can work. Get a clue, check your facts and then maybe write a credible piece of journalism instead of some whiny slam on something you know nothing about.
    Would you rather be hit by lightning during take-off and catch on fire and put your life at risk?
    Self-centered, entitled, typical Lauderdale jerks who think that everyone owes them something for free. And then to stereotype Jewish people like you did in this article is shameful.
    If this was on paper, it would not even be good enough to use to clean up after my dog.

    • BocaNewsNow.com Staff
      April 15, 2014 8:08 pm at 8:08 PM

      We actually know quite a bit about aviation, and certainly know that you could rebase a crew from MCO or JFK and still had Flight 512 depart the day it was scheduled to depart. This is why JetBlue will ultimately be taken over or end up in bankruptcy. Passengers come second or third in every aspect of the operation. Read the recent article in the Wall Street Journal about Delta’s operations procedures and you’ll realize just how bad JetBlue really is. And there is next to no question that the inbound crew purposely delayed its departure from DFW by just long enough to ensure it would not have to fly the AUS to FLL route. Even the gate agents were speculating that would happen — they were wondering (aloud on their walkie talkies) why the plane hadn’t left DFW despite repeated reports from your operations center that it was cleared to do so. Nice job, JetBlue crew.

      • Chris
        April 16, 2014 7:00 am at 7:00 AM

        Stick to writing for a 3rd rate rag…you know nothing about running an airline. If you did, you’d realize that what you suggested is predicated on quite a few assumptions that aren’t realistic. And no: You don’t know anything about running an airline.

      • April 16, 2014 3:45 pm at 3:45 PM

        Pilots don’t purposefully delay departures to time out. Who’d want to time out in AUS, anyway? If I was a pilot, I’d want to return home. Good journalists don’t speculate. They report facts.

  5. Jay
    April 15, 2014 5:50 pm at 5:50 PM

    This article is hilarious. Self-centered much?

  6. Tim
    April 15, 2014 8:53 pm at 8:53 PM

    The exact same people who ranted and raved for this latest Part 117 FAA regulation which changed pilot rest rules almost in their entirety … are the same exact people to get all huffy over a flight cancellation due to latest Part 117 FAA regulation.

    Ironic, don’t ya think?

  7. Dante
    April 16, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 AM

    Typical jews, they think the world revolves around them.

    Yes, JB could’ve flown a crew in from JFK. But, having worked in the industry, and yes for B6 for a decade, I can tell you that you may know aviation, but you’re a moron when it comes to logistics. First of all, Passover week in NY/Florida is extremely busy for every airline. There is zero room in the system to spare any pilots. It’s not because of an actual shortage, it’s because schedules are increased significantly to accommodate the ever complaining sons of Abraham to get back to Florida now that winter is over.

    The FAA rules changed in January, and EVERY airline is being taxed significantly as a result. NO carrier would move a crew from one base to an out station for one flight – it does not happen. So yes, the flights get cancelled. You want to know the difference between jetblue and the other carriers? The other carriers would’ve ferried that plane back to a base city so they could put it back into service sooner. Jetblue put their crew immediately to rest so that they can run an ADDITIONAL flight the next day for all of you. Again, something most carriers would not do, even during a holiday week.

    The last fact flaw is in your title. Were all 150 passengers on the flight Jewish? What about the important people (Christians) on the flight? Were they not stranded? I don’t read your paper, because as an intelligent human being, I managed to be the only New Yorker to avoid South Florida – too many jews. You people are a total joke.

    Oh, and BY THE WAY – JetBlue stocks THREE different Passover friendly snacks during the entire month that Passover falls – The honey covered almonds are delish.

    • J Depp
      April 17, 2014 6:42 pm at 6:42 PM

      What JetBlue is missing is this – if they were only 15 minutes shy on duty time to get to Lauderdale, then why didn’t they just fly to Orlando or Tampa or somewhere 15 minutes closer where they could have a fresh crew waiting? JetBlue has forgotten about how to be creative. Delta on the other hand has got it figured out!

  8. Jason
    April 16, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 AM

    How dare you assume you know JetBlue’s intentions – do you really think they intentionally were out to make things easier for themselves? I agree with a commenter above; one delay and suddenly you’re an airline operations expert. This happens (and will continue to happen) on every airline, regardless of procedure or preparation. I got stuck in ABQ once, and missed a funeral. Yeah, a crew could have been flown in (maybe?). Yeah, a plane could be found somewhere and positioned in ABQ (either they cancel someone else’s flight from ABQ or cancel something else somewhere and fly it to ABQ?). Either way, I know decisions are made to contain the “failure” to my plane full of people. The system is so tightly wound such that spreading the “hurt” – while sometimes a good solution when you’re striving for completion – ends up crippling the operation.

    I’m sorry you got fired from JetBlue, and congratulations on getting hired by Delta. I hear they run a great operation, but that was just based on some Wall St. Journal article – I don’t actually know. I just have a lot of feelings, like you do.

  9. Jano
    April 16, 2014 10:30 am at 10:30 AM

    You had a flight get canceled. Get over it rather than eroding whatever reputation you previously had for being a source of unbiased journalism.

    LOL

  10. April 16, 2014 10:35 am at 10:35 AM

    This whole article is really farschtunkeneh. All this kvetching about a flight being cancelled due to weather, followed by Federal Aviation Administration crew time out regulations, is just mishuggah.

    I am sure it gives you great fargenign to go after Jetblue. Headlines such as “Gutinue! The Jews Stranded away from their families for Pesach” are great for traffic to fill you knippl , but your reporting skills on this story are more of a shtick than real journalism.

  11. Henry Harteveldt
    April 16, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 PM

    I am an independent airline industry analyst. I’m also Jewish. I have to say that I found your article lacking.

    In January 2014, new, stricter pilot rest rules went into effect. the result is that airlines lost much of the flexibility they once had to recover from flight delays. To compensate, some airlines have hired more pilots, just to maintain their existing schedules and an adequate number of reserve crew. It’s far too expensive for an airline — any airline — to have a surplus of reserve pilots “sitting around” waiting to operate flights. instead, airlines build staffing models that work the majority of the time.

    Had your journalist done his or her research, he or she would have realized that while JetBlue does serve several airports in the state, it operates many fewer flights compared to other airlines, especially Texas-centric carriers such as American, Southwest, and United. This reduces the likelihood of the airline having additional pilots close by who could have operated this flight when the initial crew exceeded the FAA-mandated maximum work period. This isn’t “Bewitched” – you don’t merely snap your fingers and magically produce a flight crew. As others have noted, it would have taken several hours for JetBlue to have ferried a replacement crew to Austin. While doing so may have helped some people make it to Florida, they would not have arrived in time for Seder.

    JetBlue’s leadership is among the best in the airline industry, and its commitment to customer service is genuine. Customer service and customer commitment are core elements of the airline’s business philosophy and business strategy.

    I can certainly appreciate the disappointment of not being able to get to Florida for Passover — as well as the frustration among those who were hoping to return home, attend a business meeting, start a vacation, etc. One can hope that JetBlue treated the delayed passengers with the respect and courtesy they deserve, and that the airline will examine its procedures so that in the event a similar situation occurs in the future, it will be better prepared to respond.

  12. Ross Gold
    April 16, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 PM

    As a Jew living in Boca who travels frequently by air, I find your article pointless and offensive on many levels. What a shame. This isn’t “news” either, by the way.

    Some facts:

    Jews were not the only ones stranded on the flight

    JetBlue serves kosher-for-Passover snacks

    JetBlue has earned Best from JD Power nine years and counting

    Your reporting is amateurish

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