June 24, 2010

Summer Thunderstorms: We can’t always see the writing on the wall

The arrival of summer is a mixed blessing for us. It means the kids (and teachers) are out of school, and our planes are full. We love it when our planes are full. But it also means the arrival of thunderstorm season, which we don’t love.

Picture that opening scene when the Man in Motion song plays in St. Elmo’s Fire. The tone is somber, the rain is pelting down in buckets.

You’re just a prisoner and you’re tryin’ to break free
I can see a new horizon underneath the blazin’ sky
I’ll be where the eagle’s flying higher and higher

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We’re no fan of the winter storm season, but for all the annoyance of ice storms, at least they tend to be predictable. When bad weather is coming, our operating philosophy is to be proactive. If we know we will need to cancel flights, we’d rather let the affected customers and crews know well in advance. It works out better for everyone that way.

But being proactive requires knowing what’s coming, and summer storms don’t always give us (or anyone for that matter) that courtesy. Thunderstorms are the unwelcome drop-in guests of the weather world. One minute, you’re enjoying a calm summer evening and the next, a thunderstorm shows up out of nowhere and ruins your night. If only you were given a heads up, you would have picked up more margarita mix.

To make matters even more challenging, it’s often hard to know when a thunderstorm is going away, or where it’s headed next. The safest way to deal with a thunderstorm and the turbulence it causes is to fly around it, meaning a storm pattern can block flight paths, arrival and departure routes, or entire airports depending on their location. They can be especially troublesome in our hometown of New York City, with Newark Liberty, LaGuardia and JFK airports all so close to one another, a large storm can quickly jam up the already-congested NYC airspace. An inconveniently located storm can severely slow or stop air travel to or from an airport.

Until we get our weather machine up and running à la Beijing 2008, or figure out how to contact Thor, we just need to keep avoiding thunderstorms.

For now, some summer flight disruptions are inevitable. If you’re one of our Customers whose travel plans are affected by thunderstorms this summer, we do feel for you — know that at such times we feel the pain as well. We will do our best to get everyone to their destination as quickly as possible, but with safety as our number one value, we’d rather grab a latte and wait a little longer to get you to that beautiful beach.

We can see a new horizon underneath the stormy sky. We’ll be where the Blue is jetting, higher and higher. We’ll be your plane in motion, and we have lots of pairs of wheels.

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5 Comments on “Summer Thunderstorms: We can’t always see the writing on the wall”

  • Posted by Matt on August 15, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Good to see a corporation that isn’t afraid to have a little fun with their blogging. One of the many reasons I hold jetBlue in such a high regard. See you in October for MCO > DCA!

  • Posted by Kimberly Bradshaw on August 15, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    For whatever it is worth, I was stranded at DCA last night. The JetBlue gate agents had the unenviable tasks of pushing back our flight (688) several times. They kept their cool amid a lot of unhappy passengers and, at least during my turn at the counter, were very helpful in rebooking us onto a morning flight. The weather can’t be helped and I’m glad that JetBlue and air traffic staff were committed to keeping us safe, even if that meant long delays.

  • Posted by Andrew on August 15, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Customers who complain about flight disruptions due to the weather are as stupid as customers who yell at flight crews for being stuck on the tarmac.

  • Posted by Kelli on August 15, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Nice to have you post this. To me, weather is out of everyone’s control, a pain but what can you do…be patient. By the way, the author must be a grad of the 80′s…:-)

  • Posted by Carolyn on August 15, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    That’s why you should move more nonstops to Austin. It’s hasn’t rained here in months. 300+ days of sunshine. At least the thermals here won’t ground you like the tstorms will!

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