February 10, 2010

Who’s afraid of a little snow?

Certainly not JetBlue!  We like making snowmen and having snowball fights with other airlines.

But ice? That’s a different story.  We won’t even invite ice to one of our parties.

JetBlue today canceled most flights to and from New York City due to winter weather conditions. Today’s forecast calls for mixed precipitation ranging from freezing rain turning to sleet and snow, and here’s what that does to airplanesIcy conditions are nasty business for aviation.

With the forecast calling for icy conditions throughout the day, we decided to cancel flights rather than wait-and-see with our customers in the airports.  Why?  Because on the suckiness scale, getting a call that your flight is canceled while you’re still at home, at a hotel, or at your family or friend’s house is a lot better than getting up early, going to the airport and waiting for hours with the possibility of flight cancellation to come. Still sucks. Just a little less.

So we’re essentially closing up shop for the day – a decision that’s definitely not made lightly.  Unfortunately, when airlines cancel a high number of flights in a day, they will have a few more to cancel the next day because aircraft and flight crews are out of position.  All of the decisions we’re making about today’s operation are also taking into account tomorrow’s, and Friday’s operation.  We will keep those roll-over cancellations to a minimum, but we’re still likely going to see a few more.

You may be wondering why we can’t just stop the airline, park the planes where they’re supposed to be, and make sure the pilots and inflight crewmembers are in a local hotel and ready to go when the airline wakes up on Thursday.  That would work if we could park aircraft overnight in the cities affected by weather, but we try to avoid that.  Ice would build up on the wings overnight and it would take hours to deice all of the aircraft we normally start the day with at New York’s JFK, let alone Boston, Washington’s Dulles and the Mid-Atlantic cities.  So we put those planes in warmer weather ports for the night to get them to the frozen North first thing in the morning the day after the storm, then start the operation from that point.

Also: Flight crews have strict duty periods, which means after they are on duty for a certain period of time, they must go on mandatory rest.  This is a safety rule and one we happily watch like a hawk.  However it’s impossible to position enough crews before a storm in order to have a perfect recovery after the storm.  So, sometimes a crew will have to go on a rest period but we don’t have another crew positioned at that city, and we have to cancel a flight.  That means that even if the sun is shining, we could still have weather-related delays and cancellations due to crew issues.

We really wanted to get our customers to their holiday weekend destinations.  But you don’t mess with Mother Nature.

If your flight was canceled, you can rebook it through Feb. 28, or get a credit for the value that is valid for one year, or get a refund.  Please call us at 800-JETBLUE (800-538-2583) to make that happen.

Thank you and stay warm!

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26 Comments on “Who’s afraid of a little snow?”

  • Posted by Todders on February 10, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Nice blog! One piece of feedback–I would make it easier for people that go to jetlbue.com to find information about cancelled flights. I browsed around and couldn’t find anywhere where it stated ALL flights inbound and outbound have been cancelled for the day. In fact, I don’t think it says that anywhere that flights have been cancelled. This is one event where using a template is not a good idea.


  • Posted by CorpComm on February 10, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Thanks for the feedback. Have you checked here: http://www.jetblue.com/JetblueAlerts/WeatherUpdate.aspx. We have all of the affected airports listed and links where you can search for information specific to your flight.

  • Posted by Todders on February 10, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Yes I have and I feel it is misleading, drives unnecessary traffic to your reservation lines and wastes customers time. It simply states that flights may be delayed due to weather. Flights aren’t delayed today they are cancelled! Why make somebody take the extra steps of looking up specific flights when all flights are cancelled? I am sure some people actually showed up at the airport today hoping to catch a flight… Why wouldn’t you simply state on the homepage that most flights today are cancelled?

  • Posted by Shiiliq on February 11, 2010 at 12:10 am

    Todders… why would JetBlue just have a general statement that said “ALL flights have been canceled”?? You should try http://jetblue.com/wherewejet/ and realize that the world doesn’t revolve around you or the Northeast. JetBlue serves many other cities which are not in the Northeast. If those customers check their specific flight and find that it is still operating, then there is no need to call reservations. However, if it is cancelled, then they have to rebook anyway and should call to do so. Besides, JetBlue begins calling customers once a flight is cancelled to notify them in advance. If someone showed up at the airport then they should have checked the status of their flight online or called reservations.

  • Posted by hascal on February 12, 2010 at 12:32 am

    I’m a bit confused. Continental can gets flights from TX to NYC today. However, you guys freak and cancel flghts. Does Continental have better runways or better prepared for weather?

  • Posted by benl on February 12, 2010 at 1:32 am

    Can you tell me why my flight from Las Vegas to Boston was canceled this evening Feb 11th Depart: 11:54 PM and arriving in Boston on Friday Feb 12th at 7:45am? Weather? What other airlines are canceling flights into Boston on Feb 12th because of weather. Took me 45 mins to talk to someone at JetBlue after the website was down. If this is the best JetBlue can do – no thanks – I booked myself on another carrier arriving in Boston on Friday morning and won’t be flying JetBlue in the future.

  • Posted by Ann Cranshaw on March 26, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    I was going to my SON’s Graduation from the Navy from Boston to Chicago, IL. on= Feb, 11, 2010. And the flight was Cancel, threw Priceline to Jetblue and I have not gotten my money back Yet.! I have been told by both. No That flight has not be cancel . HELP,

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  • Posted by JetBlue Mom on December 27, 2010 at 10:18 am

    My son is a JetBlue crewmember and I just wanted to say thank you for making sure he is safe. I think that sometimes when people are inconvenienced they tend to forget that their safety, along with that of the crew, is (and should be) the number one priority. To all of the passengers irritated by the cancelled flights – both JetBlue AND their crews would rather be in the air… that is how they make money; not to mention that the passengers are much more pleasant to fly with when they are on time! No one wants to cancel or delay flights, but ultimately Mother Nature calls the shots and safety for all must be the number one concern!

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