Some RDU Flights Affected by JetBlue Cancellations

Posted March 16, 2007

— JetBlue canceled 215 flights, Friday because of a winter storm on the East Coast, aiming to avoid the days of cancellations and criticism that followed a storm last month, an airline spokesman said.

The cancellations affected about one-third of all JetBlue flights. More than 200 of them involved flights to or from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, said company spokesman Sebastian White.

He said a few flights also were affected at New York's LaGuardia Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, and Boston's Logan International Airport. In addition, the airline had canceled 15 flights Thursday night, White said.

The storm is expected to dump more than a foot of snow on parts of the Northeast.

Other airlines also reported cancellations, on a smaller scale. American Airlines had canceled about 120 flights to or from New York and other Northeastern airports as of Friday morning, said spokeswoman Sonja Whitemon.

According to Raleigh-Durham International Airport spokeswoman Mindy Hamlin, there were 20 cancellations there as of noon Friday, three from JetBlue, and others from other airlines that provide service to the Northeast.

Hamlin advised passengers traveling over the next few days to contact their airline carrier before going to the airport.

Northwest Airlines had canceled about 35 flights to or from the East Coast, all but a handful of them at Kennedy and the New York City area's two other major airports, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International, spokeswoman Tracy Carlson said.

JetBlue has been under pressure to do better in bad weather since passengers were stranded in planes at Kennedy for up to 10 1/2 hours during a storm last month. JetBlue was unable to resume normal operations for days afterward because flight crews weren't where they were supposed to be.

White said Friday's cancellations were intended to ensure that crews would be available where needed, and that departure gates would be free in case weather forced planes to return, he said.

"We're hopeful the plans we have in place will be effective and allow us to recover quickly," he said early Friday.

JetBlue has been striving to regain customers' esteem since a February 14 snow and ice storm left hundreds of passengers marooned on parked planes at Kennedy. The airline had hoped to get through the storm without canceling flights, but later acknowledged it waited too long to ask airport authorities for help getting passengers off the stranded planes.

"We've always tried to take a wait-and-see approach with the weather ... believing that people want to get to their destination late, rather than never," White said Friday. But since the February 14 storm - and the maelstrom of complaints that followed - JetBlue has had "a shift in thinking," he said.

The airline pre-emptively canceled 66 flights on February 26 because of snow. JetBlue representatives said the strategy succeeded in making sure the airline could resume normal service quickly, though some passengers expressed frustration.

In the last month, JetBlue also has unveiled a customer bill of rights that promises vouchers to passengers who experience delays. The airline also ran full-page newspaper advertisements apologizing to customers about the Valentine's Day problems.

Passengers whose flights were canceled Friday were offered refunds or a chance to rebook travel through April 30 without paying a fee for the change, White said.

New York-based JetBlue Airways Corp. normally operates about 600 flights a day to various destinations in the United States, Bermuda and the Caribbean.


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  • gman976 Mar 17, 2007

    Yeah, this weather really has little impact on "safety". "Safety" and "security" tactics that are used to divert the issue to one that isn't arguable. I mean who would argue with a decision based on "safety". The real issue is "revenue". The weather reduces the number of possible takeoffs and landings per hour at the airport. This causes backups at the terminals. If they can't get people on the empty planes then no revenue. As an added bonus pilots aren't allowed to take off at point A if they know they won't be able to land/deplane when they get there. All of these stuck aircraft/crews cause repositioning or "non-revenue" flights with empty airplanes. The airlines determine where and when to cut losses even if they upset customers. Then they pull out the "safety" excuse and everyone goes "oh yeah, well if its for safety...".

  • InTheWind Mar 17, 2007

    I will give you that point. But, I still say the first flights to fall are because they can not safely fly the plane to it's destination. I can see a snowball affect happening.

  • chivegas Mar 16, 2007

    jkbird, it has nothing to do with safety. The cancellations are a result of attempting to maintain reasonable operations elsewhere. Trust me, I used to make blanket cancellation decisions...

  • InTheWind Mar 16, 2007

    For all thoughs who are so quick to critisize Jetblue for thinking of passenger safety, Northwest has cancelled 35 flights, American Airlines has cancelled 120 flights, and Delta has cancelled 200+ flights. It appears that better minds than yours seem to be prevailing.

  • chivegas Mar 16, 2007

    They aren't going under. Have you ever flown on them?...they probably have the best Coach product in the U.S.

  • No name Mar 16, 2007

    Only a matter of time before that airline goes under. I won't fly JetBlue.

  • chivegas Mar 16, 2007

    Who really cares? JBU only has 5 total flights a day to RDU (only 4 to JFK) anyway. This is a stupid story, the headline should be: "Winter weather causes over 1000 cancellations at NYC area airports". Now that's news... Or of course they could mention the fact that HPN (White Plains) is closed right now because an airplane overran the runway.

  • cardiothumper Mar 16, 2007

    I do not understand what everyone is so pissed off about-do you people not watch the news and weather????? I would be very nervous about flying in horrible weather. So my advise would be watch the news and call to see if your flight will be delayed(You all are Adults)

  • LTL Mar 16, 2007

    All weather a/c and pilots.....fairweather company!!!!!

  • lornadoone Mar 16, 2007

    Bummer. I frequently use JetBlue to go to New York, and although I've experienced many delays and problems with the airline, I do like their staff. They're friendlier than most. The 36+ channels of DirectTV and better snacks aren't a bad incentive, either. I hope they stay in business.