One thing is for sure, the beginning of 2014 sure hasn’t been kind to US aviation!
The new year began with the winter storm some called Hercules, is shutting down the heaviest trafficked air corridor in the world during one of the heaviest travel periods of the year. Mother Nature then followed that up with icing conditions over the weekend, causing even more issues and ground stops at the airports. Even as airports began to reopen though, newly launched FAA regulations on pilot duty times caused delayed flights to quickly turn into canceled ones. Now today, less than a week into the year, we’re watching a polar vortex wreak havoc on flight schedules across the industry, as rainy weather prepares to turn airports in the Northeast into ice rinks once again.
More than 3,000 flights across the industry have been cancelled today, and roughly 300 of those will be JetBlue’s. Beginning at 1 p.m. ET today, we’ll reduce operations at JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, and Boston through 10 a.m. ET Tuesday. At that time, we’ll gradually ramp up again – we intend to be 100% operational by 3 p.m. ET on Tuesday. This plan allows for 17 hours of rest for crews, and time for Tech Ops to service the aircraft.
These industry wide cancellations, on top of the previous days’ cancellations, have now left millions of air travelers displaced, struggling to find any available seat to get to their destinations. With planes already full with previously booked holiday travelers, remaining seats are quickly filled, (for some of the other guys, even overbooked), and some customers aren’t seeing available seats for nearly a week. If your flight has been canceled, you can rebook travel or request a refund online. More information on current travel alerts and fee waivers can be found on our Travel Alerts page. We also still request customers are encouraged to check the status of their flight online prior to leaving for the airport.
For our part, this isn’t the sort of operation we’re happy about, and have stood up every available resource throughout the last week to work with customers and adjust our schedules to minimize impact. While we have to reduce operations in our Northeast cities today, we’ll take the opportunity to use some of those planes and crews for extra sections between cities where we they’re most needed and move crews in preparation for starting back up on Tuesday. Our first priority is to support the operation and assist customers with immediate travel needs, but will be reaching out to any impacted customer we have contact information to offer compensation. Customers with specific questions on compensation are asked to contact our Customer Support team via jetblue.com.