October 2, 2011

JetBlue Crewmembers Help Community Devastated by Irene

On September 10, 2011, eight members from our Ready Team – Crewmembers who volunteer their time and energy to be trained to provide care and support in emergency situations – were deployed for seven days to support the American Red Cross with numerous shelter operations that were opened up to house residents from the Binghamton, N.Y. area. These residents were forced to flee their homes that were destroyed by raging flood waters following Hurricane Irene. The team provided much-needed physical and emotional support during their 12 hour shifts while always keeping a smile on their faces. We salute our caring Ready Team Crewmembers for going above and beyond the call of duty to help those in need.

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August 28, 2011

Picking Up The Pieces From Irene

By now the majority of the storm formerly known as Hurricane Irene has passed through the New York Metro area and is continuing to lose power as it moves through New England, into the Canadian Maritimes and out to sea. While many of us may have avoided the more serious concerns the hurricane posed, the impact of the storm has still been very real, and it will take some time to resume full operations at our East Coast airports.

With flooding and power outages across much of the area, we need to ensure our facilities, equipment and Crewmembers are safe, secure and ready to resume operations. We also need to bring our planes and crews back from areas outside the storm’s path, confirm that public transportation is functioning and finally, to await clearance from airport authorities along the coast that everyone is ready to start up again.

Because we were able to prepare ahead of the storm, as expected, we’re hoping to be able to resume operations by Monday afternoon. However, this doesn’t mean we’ll be up and running 100%. New York’s John F. Kennedy (JFK) and LaGuardia (LGA) airports in particular are at sea level and are still at risk of flooding from the storm surge. For many airports in the path of the storm, we may see limited operations and additional cancellations as runways are inspected or cleared of water or debris, but we’ll be on the other side of the storm and on our way to recovery. We do not have any plans to reinstate flights previously cancelled for Monday’s operation, but will look at adding extra sections where appropriate.

Please look for up-to-date information on jetblue.com and make sure you’re aware of the status of your flight before attempting to go to the airports.

Thanks again to our Customers and Crewmembers for your patience and cooperation during this storm. We’d thank Irene for not wreaking as much havoc as she could have, but that’s like thanking your ex-girlfriend for not destroying all of your belongings on her way out after a breakup (better she just leave so you can pick up the pieces and start the healing process).

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August 27, 2011

Irene Makes Her Way North

Beauty is not always in the eye of the beholder. Hurricane Irene is ugly no matter who you ask.

Irene is expected to hit our base of operations in New York late on Saturday and cause a ruckus into Sunday night. Winds are estimated to be severe, with flash flooding, surges, and all that fun stuff. We’ve cancelled 100% of our operations out of the New York area beginning at noon today when New York City’s public transportation system begins its shutdown.

We’re working to reposition close to 50 aircraft in our fleet to outside of the main areas of impact to places like California and Florida, which should help to minimize the recovery time when the hurricane finally takes a hint and gets out of town. Even when Irene has decided to move on out, we could still be looking at flooded runways and roadways, which complicate the recovery efforts. We’ll be working closely with the local airport authorities to ensure the quickest possible return to operations. It’s like an unwanted inconsiderate house guest. You didn’t make the mess, but you still have to clean it up.

Due to high call volumes, wait times and dropped calls have been understandably frustrating. We’ve got all of our Crewmembers working overtime to accommodate those calls, but we’re anticipating record call volumes. We do appreciate your patience and ask that you check your flight status on jetblue.com as well as your email for any notices about cancellations or automatic rebooking that may have come into your inbox before calling us.

What’s up with your flight in sunny California, you ask? Why is your flight delayed when there isn’t a cloud in the sky? With our base of operations out of New York’s JFK, it’s possible that your flight departing from San Francisco originated in New York. And if we can’t get that plane out to San Francisco, your flight might be affected. Enjoy a mojito in Malibu and just be glad you’re not in a hurricane. We promise we’ll get you where you need to go as soon as we can.

In the meantime, please remember to check the status of your flight before heading to the airport (no matter what BlueCity you might be in).

Stay safe and see below for some resources to help keep you prepared and informed:

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August 26, 2011

Irene Ends Her Island-Hopping Tour

Irene has spent her week beating up the Caribbean and is still asking for more! As Hurricane Irene heads towards the East Coast of the United States she is losing some intensity, but her bite might prove to be as bad as her bark as she plans to smack the Carolinas tomo
rrow.

We’re following the hurricane closely and planning by repositioning close to 50 of our aircraft and crews ahead of the storm’s path (anyone have a driveway they can spare?!). We’ve issued waivers for change and cancel fees for many of our East Coast cities from North Carolina all the way up to Maine. We’ve also cancelled flights Saturday into Monday and are examining running extra flights on Saturday night and Monday night so that we can get Customers where they need to go. Affected Customers will be contacted by our Customer Support Team. Keep an eye on your email before calling in because you may have been automatically rebooked and will receive confirmation in your inbox. We appreciate your patience while we work to take ca
re of everyone.

Also, please be advised that the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is planning a system-wide shut-down when trains and buses begin their final runs starting at approximately noon on Saturday in the interest of public safety and to ensure that the system can be operational for use after the storm. The shut-down will include subways, buses, Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, and Access-A-Ride.

If you’re wondering, the answer is no; we did not fly Irene up on JetBlue. Unruly
forces of nature that have the power to rip tree roots out of the ground without breaking a sweat are simply not welcome!

Stay safe and don’t forget to check the status of your flight online prior to leaving for the airport. Customers with web-enabled cell phones and PDAs may check the status of their flight at mobile.jetblue.com.

See below for some resources to help keep you prepared and informed:

  • Contact your local Red Cross chapter, or call 1-800-REDCROSS to find a shelter, obtain emergency food, water, and other disaster relief resources.

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August 25, 2011

JetBlue to Waive Change Fees and Fare Differences to Assist Customers Affected by Hurricane Irene

Due to the expected impact of Hurricane Irene, we’re waiving change fees and fare increases to allow Customers that booked travel prior to Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011 to or from select cities in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions to voluntarily rebook their travel through either Wednesday, Aug. 31 or Friday, Sept. 2, 2011.

Eligible cities include:

Rebook through August 31 Rebook through September 2
Raleigh/Durham, NC (RDU)

  • Original travel date: Aug 27

Richmond, VA (RIC)

  • Original travel dates: Aug 27-28

Washington DC Metro (BWI, DCA, IAD)

  • Original travel dates: Aug 27-28
New York Metro (JFK, EWR HPN, LGA, and SWF)

  • Original travel dates: Aug 27-29

Boston, MA (BOS)

  • Original travel dates: Aug 28-29

Hartford, CT (BDL)

  • Original travel dates: Aug 28-29

Portland, ME (PWM)

  • Original travel dates: Aug 28-29

Customers may rebook their flights for travel between the same cities through the dates indicated above by calling 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583) prior to the departure time of their originally scheduled flight.  Customers with cancelled flights may also opt for a refund to the original form of payment by calling 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583).  Original travel must have been booked on or before the original booking date noted above.

All customers traveling to/from the airports listed above are encouraged to check the status of their flight online prior to leaving for the airport. Customers with web-enabled cell phones and PDAs may check the status of their flight at mobile.jetblue.com.

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August 24, 2011

C’mon Irene! How Hurricane Season Can Snarl Operations

Hurricane season 2011 is in full swing! The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June through November, with a peak from mid-August through early October. Predictions called for a very active year, and that has come to pass so far. This is already the third most active year on record; the latest storm, Hurricane Irene, is the ninth of the season! She is also this year’s strongest storm, and her effects have already been felt in much of the Caribbean.

Whenever a weather system is active in the tropics, JetBlue’s System Operations Center evaluates the conditions to determine whether it is safe to continue operations to the affected airports. In Irene’s case, operations were suspended to most of the airports in that region to ensure the safety of our Customers and Crewmembers.

We work proactively to get in front of storms, positioning our Crewmembers and our planes strategically to minimize the impact to our operations. We also get ahead of the storm’s path by offering our Customers waivers for change/cancel fees to rebook.

Image courtesy of gsfc on Flickr

Once the storm has passed, we confirm that each airport is ready to accept flights again – anything from flooding to equipment damage can keep an airport closed for a day or more after the weather is once again sunny and calm. Although most of our service to those islands resumes, a few more flights might be cancelled a day or two later because of flooded airports and/or damage.

Whenever possible, when it’s safe to operate again we add extra flights to those airports to help accommodate Customers who were scheduled to travel on the cancelled flights. With this storm in particular, we’ve added extra sections in Turks & Caicos, Santiago, and Nassau, Bahamas.

Read more…

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August 21, 2011

Fee Waiver For Tropical Storm Irene

Due to inclement weather forecasted to impact the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico areas, we will waive change/cancel fees and fare differences for Customers traveling through Tuesday, August 23, 2011 to/from the following cities:

  • Puerto Rico

o    San Juan (SJU)

o    Ponce (PSE)

o    Aguadilla (BQN)

  • Dominican Republic

o    Santo Domingo (SDQ)

o    Santiago (STI)

o    Puerto Plata (POP)

o    Punta Cana (PUJ)

Customers may rebook their flights for travel through Saturday, August 27, 2011 by calling 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583) prior to the departure time of their originally scheduled flight.  Customers with cancelled flights may also opt for a refund to the original form of payment by calling 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583).  Original travel must have been booked on or before Sunday, August 21, 2011.

All customers traveling to/from the airports listed above are encouraged to check the status of their flight online prior to leaving for the airport. Customers with web-enabled cell phones and PDAs may check the status of their flight at mobile.jetblue.com.

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October 27, 2012

Preparing for Hurricane Sandy’s Northern Landfall

Hurricane Sandy is now on track to impact air travel over the next several days in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. We’re tracking this storm closely and have spent the last few days planning for its northern landfall. Based on the current wind and storm surge forecast, and the plans for public transportation availability in the New York metro area, the storm may impact operations from as far south as Washington, D.C. and as far as north as Boston starting as early as tomorrow through mid-next week.

Here’s what we’re doing to prepare:

  • We’re moving aircraft that normally remain overnight out of the New York, Washington, and Boston metro areas and other cities that will be impacted so that we can be ready to return to normal operations as soon as it’s safe to do so.
  • We’re working closely with our flight and inflight groups who play a critical part in assisting with crewmembers commutes back to base after the storm.
  • As we saw with Irene, the New York MTA’s decision to suspend public transportation is a key indicator of when operations at JFK and the local airports may close so we’re closely monitoring the city’s transportation plans.
  • We’re shoring up contingencies to support our System Operations Center (SOC) in Long Island City, New York, to ensure proper backup centers are available as needed.
  • We’ll add extra flights out of the expected impacted cities starting tomorrow and begin to cancel flights and notify customers as we move closer to the storm.

Here’s what you can do to prepare:

Recovery will be based not only the improving weather, but also on the infrastructure of the affected communities. Our goal is to ensure that regular service resumes as soon as we’re able to safely do so. We’ll keep you updated right here on BlueTales and via the Travel Alert on jetblue.com (current fee waivers below).

We’re waiving change/cancel fees and fare differences for customers traveling to/from the following cities:

Impacted City Original Travel Dates Original Booking Date Rebook Through Date
New York Metros (BDL, EWR, HPN, JFK, LGA & SWF) 10/28 – 10/31/12 10/26/12 11/4/2012
Washington D.C. Metros (BWI, DCA & IAD) 10/28 – 10/31/12 10/26/12 11/4/2012
Richmond, VA (RIC) 10/28 – 10/31/12 10/26/12 11/4/2012
Boston (BOS) 10/28 – 10/31/12 10/26/12 11/4/2012

Customers may rebook their flights for travel through the dates indicated above by calling 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583) prior to the departure time of their originally scheduled flight. Customers with cancelled flights may also opt for a refund to the original form of payment by calling 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583). Original travel must have been booked on or before the original booking date noted above.

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August 23, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac Approaches the Dominican Republic

Some Dominican Republic flights have been cancelled as Tropical Storm Isaac passes. Please make sure to track your flight status at http://bit.ly/JBstatus.

We’ve also issued fee waivers for select Caribbean cities. Learn more about the fee waivers at http://bit.ly/jbalert.

Learn more about how hurricane season can snarl operations.

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July 5, 2012

Unpacked: Summer Thunderstorms

Welcome to Unpacked, where we demystify hot topics in the airline industry!

This edition’s hot topic – literally – is summer thunderstorms. Cue the waterworks.

Image courtesy of carolynconner on Flickr

Thunderstorms can happen at any time of year, but weather conditions in the summertime, namely moisture and quickly rising warm air, make for a perfect storm. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service, there are about 16 million thunderstorms a year. With that many, a couple are bound to impact our 800 daily flights. With the majority of our operations along the East Coast, where moisture and hot air are abundant throughout the summer months, we face a real operational challenge during bad weather. Uneven pockets of air that thunderstorms produce mean turbulent air space, as well as strong winds and lightning. We will only take to the skies when it’s safe to do so.

As if summer thunderstorms weren’t enough, summer also means hurricane season! Learn more about how hurricanes can snarl operations. Summer thunderstorms can be tricky because they’re far less predictable than big winter storms, which we can sometimes see on the weather maps a couple of days out.

Thunderstorms, by contrast, develop, move and change rapidly (sometimes minute-by-minute), and even a small change in the track or intensity of a storm can dramatically change a flight plan or the flow of air traffic. What’s more, a thunderstorm does not need to be overhead at your airport to cause problems; they can affect the routes used to get to and from that airport and cause delays even if you can see blue skies from the window in the terminal. If lightning is spotted within five miles of the airport terminal, then we pull the safety card and keep our ground crews inside until the storm passes. Without ground crews, we can’t always safely move airplanes or load and unload luggage.

Adding all of these what-if scenarios together translates to a real challenge for our System Operations team when it comes to planning ahead. If we know we will need to cancel flights, we’d rather let customers and crews know well in advance so you don’t make an unnecessary trip to the airport.

When we can’t plan ahead because a storm’s path and effects are unpredictable, we work closely with our Dispatch team, our pilots, the airports, and the FAA to ensure that we’re up and flying as soon as its safe to do so.  Satellite, radar and weather modeling technology allows our Dispatch and System Operations teams to watch the weather systems moving in and out of an air space and plot flights accordingly.

Onboard technology also allows our pilots the ability to see weather immediately surrounding an airborne plane to allow them to navigate around weather. Sometimes we can fly above storm systems, but some storm cells are as high as 60,000 feet, and most of the time the best course of action is to fly around it, which causes longer flight times or delays for folks waiting to get on that plane for the next flight (which might be in a sunny, thunderstorm-shy city like San Diego).

Your best plan of action if you’re flying during summer months (or any time, really) is to make sure to check your flight status before heading to the airport. It’s possible that the sky is clear as a bell at your home, but there’s a storm coming in when your flight is scheduled to depart. We can’t always read Mother Nature’s mind in advance, and she doesn’t always tell us where she’s headed next, but – much like a strict mother who doesn’t let you stay out until 2 a.m. to party – we do respect her and know that she has ultimate authority.

Check out our previous editions of Unpacked and stay tuned for the next up!

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