I used to love flying JetBlue. I had a love affair with this airline that served blue potato chips and had a direct flight from Rochester to JFK. For years, I would fly into JFK, and spend all day at my company‘s New York office, flying home the same night, and never missing a moment of a full day of work. I would be greeted by wonderful flight attendants, enjoy an excellent terminal at JFK’s T5, have Wi-Fi, a decent meal, tv’s on the plane, and do it all again as often as needed. I recommended JetBlue to anyone and everyone I could tell. They were my preferred airline for everything. That was until this last weekend.
It was a typical Friday morning. I had just finished my morning video meeting for work. I went to bring a couple of things downstairs from my study, and grab my coffee, when I got a call from my mom. She’s retired, so it was a bit early for her to be calling me, and I wondered what was up. She called to let me know that her brother, my Uncle Ian had died.
We knew it was coming, but there is just no preparing for it. We had known for years that he had Alzheimer’s, and he had been on the decline. As much as I knew he was at peace, I felt so much sadness for my cousins because he loved them so well and they love him with all they have. My mom had mourned when she found out he had Alzheimer’s, but I knew this finality would hit her again.
I jumped into gear and started getting in touch with my cousin and figuring out travel plans for my mom and me. Looked up Airbnbs for the family to stay at, rental cars, contacted work and relevant people to give notice of my impending absence, etc. I was resolved. We will get this done, w will be with our family, and we will say goodbye to Uncle Ian. He was a kind and gentle soul, who made us all better by being part of our lives.
I picked my mom up the next morning and we got to the airport around 9:30 AM for our 11:00 AM (ish) flight. The minute that we got through security, I was getting alerts that our flight was delayed. My cousins and I ended up on a group text, all 3 of us coming from different locations, with our family subsets. Everyone was experiencing delays and seeing cancellations of flights to Florida because of a massive storm.
I had my boarding passes in the JetBlue app. I was getting the alerts from the app, as well as to my email, and from my mom, as we were delayed again and again. Finally around 3:30 our flight was going to board. I went to pull up our boarding passes, and they were not in the JetBlue app anymore. The button had changed back to “check in”, and when I clicked it I got an error saying that my request could not be processed. So, I went up to the gate desk and the attendant told me that she would print out our boarding passes. I figured that was the normal process and we would be fine. Little did I know, she was about to mess up our entire trip.
Two days later we had the funeral for my Uncle. As sad as it was to say goodbye, and as much as I wished I could make the pain less for my cousins who had to lose their wonderful father, at least we could all be together and that was the important thing.
That night, after everyone decided to get some sleep, my mom and I were packed up and relaxing, and I decided to check us in for our flight home. When I went to the app I found that I could not check us in. I was concerned and a bit frustrated, but figured there had to be a good explanation. I opened up a chrome browser and attempted to check in on the jetblue.com website, troubleshooting whether there might be a bug in the app. I could not pull up my boarding passes using the confirmation code on there either. I then went back to the app to start a live chat. I received a message that the wait would be 2 hours.
I confirmed that it should put me in the queue because I did need to get this resolved, but I also went to make a live call to support, because I really needed to get a hold of someone. Once the phone started ringing I put it on speaker so my mom and I could just listen and hear what was going on. The automated voice told us it was going to be 101 minutes. We watched Will and Grace while waiting with my phone on speaker broadcasting hold music for almost 2 hours.
Finally, an agent came on the line and asked me what I needed. I conveyed the above and provided my confirmation code. She quickly confirmed that she could see there was a problem, and then said she needed to put me on hold while she conferred with her support team. I was put on hold for another 1/2 hour, and when someone picked up again it was not her. They did not have any of my ticket/issue at hand.
I had to give my confirmation code again and was again told that they could see the problem. This time I pressed for them to explain what was going on, and they let me know that the person who printed our boarding passes on the flight down deleted our flights home. They gave away our seats and now everything was booked leaving Florida, and there were no flights for us to come home. Mind you, we had taken this flight down for my Uncle’s funeral, my mom‘s only sibling, she is 76 years old, and this was the last thing I needed for her to be dealing with.
The support person then said that she needed to place me on a brief hold, and promised it wouldn’t be 2 hours, and that she needed to get a supervisor. I was then put on hold for another 40 minutes, and the new person, Ariana (sp?), got on the phone. She again asked for my confirmation code and went through all the same motions again.
This time she started to suggest that I look at other destinations. I did not understand what she meant, because first off she had the console with all the flight manifests. Second, we had no option for another manifest. We needed to get home. I needed to get back to my pets and my work, I needed to get my mom home to her pets, her medication, and her life.
It was then suggested that we fly out of a completely different airport 1/2 hour away from the airport we flew in to, with no suggestion about how we should get there since our rental car needed to be dropped off at the airport we arrived at. Then, there was a suggestion that we should fly to an airport that was an hour away from our home city. When I asked who was going to pay for a rental car to get us back to our originating airport (where my car was), I was told that they would put $75 in a “travel bank” for us. The travel bank can only be used to purchase more trips on JetBlue. They can’t be used for us to pay for a car to get us back to our home where we started. When I pushed Ariana on this disconnect that money in a travel bank didn’t fix the problem JetBlue was responsible for causing, she offered to double the travel bank money, which still did nothing to solve the problem JetBlue had caused.
All of these alternative flight suggestions included having to get on a flight that was so early in the morning, we would’ve had to leave a note for my cousins, take off in the middle of the night, and they would’ve woken up to find that we had left without saying goodbye to them. When I asked Ariana why I should accept this, she actually suggested I wake up my cousins in the middle of the night, after they just said goodbye to their father, because that was better than JetBlue getting us back on the flight we had paid for or getting us the flight on Delta. Even if we had taken one of these horrible options, we also would not have been able to help our family close up the house, which I was intent on being around to do.
So, I was absolutely losing my composure with Ariana at this point, explaining to her that they (JetBlue) made this problem, I paid almost $1,400 for these tickets, and they needed to get us home because this is the commitment they made to us. I noted that my frustration was at JetBlue, not her, but that this was beyond insane that we were paying this price for their screw-up. She just kept repeating that this was all that they could/would do to help and there was nothing else they were going to do. I then decided to go on expedia.com and see what flights I could find.
Lo and behold, I found a flight on Delta leaving at 5:15 PM, and landing back home a little after midnight. I convey this to her and she tells me that they can only look at flights on JetBlue and American Airlines. I explained that this makes no sense, if I can get to Expedia so can they, and she reiterates that they don’t have access to any other airlines, so they aren’t willing to do what it takes to get us home, despite this entire situation being because of their actions. Right then, the line goes dead. The call is gone. 3 hours and now I have no flights and no way home.
I don’t know if she hung up on me or what, but now I’m completely stuck. It’s after 2:00 AM. We had all decided to turn in early, around 10. I was hanging out on 1 of the 2 beds in the room my mom and I were sharing, when I started this ordeal of trying to get JetBlue to fix this flight they destroyed. I was supposed to be getting some sleep. Not on the verge of tears, at my wit’s end, because the company that promised to get us to Florida and back, deleted 1/2 of our flight and refused to do whatever was necessary to fix it. I was not supposed to be on hold for 3 hours, on the day of my only Uncle’s funeral, which also happened to be my birthday.
I consider calling again and getting back in the queue for another 2 hours, not knowing if it would be worth anything because I didn’t see how this was ever going to get us home. As I’m looking online at different flights trying to figure out a way to get us home, I miraculously get a call back from Ariana. She continues to repeat the same options that will involve an 18 hour day for my 76-year-old mother with bad hips, a bad knee, and ulcerative colitis. I’m doing everything I can to keep my mom calm, but I can’t effectively reassure her when I have no way of knowing if I can get her home on the day that I promised I would get her home.
I’m discussing with Ariana that there are only 2 tickets left on the Delta flight, that it leaves from the airport we came in to, and takes us home to our airport, on the day that we need to fly. She tells me that the only thing she can do is refund our trip home that was unceremoniously canceled *by-Jet-Blue*. The round trip flight was just under $1,400, and Ariana explains we will only be refunded $230 apiece for the return flights because most of our ticket was for the last-minute flight down to Florida. How convenient for JetBlue, and I can certainly see how not knowing we would have a funeral attend was totally on us.
Looking at my mom and seeing that she just wants to get home, I keep Ariana on the phone while I book the last two seats on Delta, totaling another $1,400 that JetBlue is refusing to take responsibility for. I ask Ariana, who granted had done her best with what she was allowed to do, to please cancel and refund our flights home because this is the only way I can see to get us home without causing my mom more stress.
Now we are at the airport, with a couple of hours ago until we board our new Delta flight to return home.
I hope this gets to someone at JetBlue, who will make this right. At this point, after what turned into over 4 hours of frustration with no one at JetBlue taking the responsibility they should have taken to fix their own problem, I’m not holding out any hope.
Oh look, we’re delayed. Hope we make our connecting flight.
Well, Delta was amazing and they got us home. There was a storm over Atlanta, so our flight was delayed 3 hours. Once we got on the plane and pulled out to the runway, some guy booted in the back of the plane. We had to go back to the gate so they could deboard him. We somehow got to Atlanta with 20 minutes to get clear across the terminal to our connecting flight, and managed to get there.
I wanted to circle back on some of this. The night that I spent with JetBlue on multiple support calls, I had also initiated a live chat, which I was told by a pop-up message would be faster than a live call. I was informed that it would be a 2-hour wait. This was at 10:36 PM on 4/4.
They did not actually start the chat until 8:55 AM the next morning.
I gave them my confirmation code and let them know I already had to grab the last 2 Delta tickets to get us home.
As you can see, I was a bit frustrated at being contacted the next morning with still a refusal to make anything right.
The only reason I am adding this is because the person on the chat then told me to email firstname.lastname@example.org
When I did, I got a bounceback email, saying this is no longer a valid email.
They also told me to fill out a feedback survey which I did. Yesterday I sent a chat back to them to tell them their email is not valid. 2 hours later another person asked for the entire story only to tell me that they reimbursed $230 from each original return flight and gave us $150 in a travel bank and that was all they could do. They said that I would have to wait for the “Customer Recovery” team to get back to me, which I assume would be in response to the feedback I left. I ask how long that typically takes and was told they couldn’t commit to a timeline but probably 7 days.
It doesn’t seem that JetBlue values my business at all. The odds of them making this right are slim, but I’ll keep trying to reach someone, as the Delta trip home should not be on us, when they deleted our trip and cost me hours of time, fighting with them only offering to not get us directly home without us paying extra costs and time, and limiting our time with our family.
I have been getting pre-formed replies from customer care that I chose to purchase the Delta tickets instead of staying another day, which they never offered, because of tickets they deleted. I began searching for email addresses of executives so that I could get through to someone who might do something. I stumbled onto a tweet reply where someone put the following contact info. I’m putting it here, in case anyone else ends up in the same trouble and because this is the only way I got a real response.
27-01 Queens Plaza North
Long Island, NY 11101
General Manager, Customer Experience
27-01 Queens Plaza North
Long Island City, NY 11101
Director, Customer Experience
27-01 Queens Plaza North
Long Island City, NY 11101
Head of Customer Care and Programs
27-01 Queens Plaza North
Long Island City, NY 11101
I cleaned up this post a bit and sent it to all 4 of them, and finally got a response, likely on behalf of one of them. They asked me to send a copy of the receipt for the Delta tickets, while not promising any reimbursement. They then offered to reimburse $751.82. The original JetBlue tickets cost $1,392.40. They ended up refunding $231.19 x 2 directly, for the deleted flights home, citing that the trip to Florida was more expensive as it was a last-minute flight.
The Delta tickets cost $1,302.22. The JetBlue response for reimbursing the $751 was to pay for the difference between the cost of the Delta tickets, not including fees, and the amount already refunded for the deleted tickets.
In total, I paid $2,694.62 and was reimbursed $1,214.20, which comes out to $1,480.42, not counting the hours of time I spent fighting with their support on the night of my uncle’s funeral and my birthday, plus the time since then, being given the run-around, insisting that they make this right. I am glad this was fixed for the most part, but I am not likely to trust JetBlue anytime soon.
Delta may be my go-to in the future. Besides, their TVs are way better.