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jetBlue - All posts tagged jetBlue

  • Oct 31, 2011
    3:46 PM ET

    New Rules Didn’t Help Stranded Airline Passengers

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    The threat of massive fines apparently isn’t enough to stop airlines from stranding passengers on the tarmac. On Saturday, some 100 JetBlue passengers and an unspecified number on American Airlines flights were left stuck on a runway at Bradley Airport in Hartford, CT. for seven hours during the snow storm.

    These incidents raise the question: Are new Department of Transportation rules enough? They stipulate that airlines can incur maximum fines of a staggering $27,500 per passenger if planes sit on the tarmac for more than three hours on domestic U.S. flights. (In JetBlue’s case, passengers were stranded without adequate food, water or functioning restrooms. American Airlines say passengers had food and beverages.)

    The amount of any airline fine depends on a number of factors, including the seriousness of the violation and harm caused to consumers, the carrier’s compliance disposition and ability to pay, says Bill Mosley, a Department of Transport spokesman.

  • Aug 30, 2011
    10:49 AM ET

    Hurricane Irene: How Fast Did Your Airline Respond?

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    Hurricane Irene didn’t only empty the streets last week, it also emptied the skies.

    The country’s major airlines were under immense pressure trying to re-book flights for anxious customers as some 12,000 flights were canceled, according to flight tracking website FlightAware.com. But the length of time it took to get through to airlines varied dramatically: It took just under three minutes to get through to U.S. Airways by phone, but it took more than ninety minutes for American Airlines, according to a new survey, StellaService.com, a site that rates companies’ customer service performance. Tweeting was not the ideal way to contact most airlines. Delta Airlines responded to all their Tweets, on average, in 14 seconds, but Tweets at other airlines went unreturned.

    Industry representatives say airlines have made themselves more accessible during crisis situations. Steve Lott, a spokesman for the Air Transport Association, says he doesn’t comment on individual surveys, but says airlines constantly updated their social networking sites and websites as soon as flight-change information was available. He says many airlines were also proactive and reached out to travelers via email, and added extra staff to field telephone calls from worried passengers. “Airlines started notifying passengers of operational changes and rebooking policies several days before the hurricane made landfall,” he says.

    Here are survey’s results:

  • Aug 26, 2011
    2:45 PM ET

    Hurricane Irene: Action Plan For Stranded Travelers

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    If you get stranded this weekend, it will be more “Lost” than “Gilligan’s Island.”

    Hurricane Irene will likely leave thousands of business travelers and vacationers stranded in lonely hotels far from home as more trains and flights are canceled. If you are unprepared, it will be anything but jolly, but travel and insurance experts say it’s still not too late.

    Allison Steinberg, a spokeswoman for JetBlue Airways, says the airline canceled 891 flights to/from cities in the New York and Boston area from Saturday through Monday. Travel expert Susan Foster, creator of SmartPacking.com, says it may now be best not to try beating Hurricane Irene back home.

    Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday that all of New York’s mass-transit system will close this weekend and Amtrak has said it’s cancelling all trains south of Washington D.C. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. More train and flight cancelations are expected to follow.

    Here’s a plan of action for those who won’t be able to get home:

  • Aug 25, 2011
    2:24 PM ET

    How to Hurricane-Proof Your Travel Plans

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    Her name is Irene, and she’s ruining your vacation.

    As soon as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration dubbed the approaching Category 3 storm Irene on Aug. 20, consumers’ ability to shift their travel plans got more limited. But there’s still some recourse to change plans or get a refund for at least part of your trip.

    Steve Lott, spokesman for the Air Transport Association, says, “Be proactive. Start changing plans now.” Gabe Saglie, senior editor at Travelzoo, advises customers to program their airline’s 800 number into their cell phones, act fast on hotel reservations (at least 24 hours in advance), stock up on any prescribed medications should you get stuck on vacation and pick your connecting airport wisely.

  • Aug 4, 2011
    2:55 PM ET

    Newark Airport Tops List For Most Delays

    You may want to seriously reconsider your travel plans if you were thinking of booking a flight out of Newark Airport in New Jersey anytime soon. But there’s good news too for travelers: the larger JFK Airport was absent from the Top 10 list of delays at airports. Of the 100 most-delayed flights over the past year, 40 of them originate at Newark, according to data compiled for Scott McCartney and “The Wall Street Journal” on Thursday by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

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    Delta Airlines, which earned brownie points as the second airline after Spirit to refund uncollected federal taxes to customers this week, had the highest percentage of delayed flights — 60.2% for its 4pm Newark-Altanta flight during the evening rush hour when air traffic tends to be most congested. Anthony Black, a spokesman for Delta, tells Pay Dirt that flight is No. 2 and No. 3 based on Department of Transport data with Southwest at No. 1. He says it’s systematic issue at Newark. (A Southwest spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.)

    Two notable absences from the Top 10 delays: JFK Airport and JetBlue, which has a hub in JFK. (A 2010 study by Flight Stats ranked American Airlines at JKF as No. 3 on a list of delays with 30% of flights delayed.) But George Hobica, founder of AirFareWatchdog.com, says JFK is good for domestic travel – if you know when to fly. “Unless there’s a weather problem, JFK has become a less congested airport.” He flies through JFK for domestic flights, and tries to fly early. “It’s an international airport, so the bulk of the departures are from 4pm onwards.”

  • Aug 1, 2011
    4:57 PM ET

    Delta Joins Spirit By Giving Passengers A Tax Break

    Good news for airline travelers. Yes, you read that right. Delta Airlines said Monday that it will refund federal taxes to customers on flights that it didn’t have to pay the government’s Federal Aviation Administration during the Congressional stalemate over funding, which on most airlines amounts to around $45 per $400 round-trip ticket.

    And, if that wasn’t enough good news, the Internal Revenue Services says it’s also on board.  IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said in a statement late Monday:  “The IRS is committed to working with Delta and other airlines to ensure they can provide a smooth refund process for their passengers.” It also complimented Delta on its move to refund passengers.

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    “Funding for the FAA expired on July 23,” Delta said in a statement announcing the refund. “At that time, Delta stopped collecting several taxes imposed on ticket sales, including a 7.5% tax on the base ticket price, a $3.70 segment tax and facilities taxes on international travel and travel to and from Alaska and Hawaii.” Spirit Airlines did not raise fares last week and passed on the tax savings to customers by lowering domestic non-stop fares by 7.5%.

    As Pay Dirt reported last week, rather than pass savings along to travelers, most U.S. airlines hiked fares over the weekend to make up the difference. They argued they were staying competitive with market prices – and each other. Consumer advocates thought it was a missed opportunity to show customers some love.

  • Jul 28, 2011
    10:14 AM ET

    The Limits of JetBlue’s ‘Unlimited Travel’ Pass

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    JetBlue’s new unlimited travel pass is actually anything but.

    The low-cost carrier announced today that it would offer three months of travel for fliers who purchase a promotional BluePass. For $1,299 to $1,999, depending on the package, pass-holders can travel as many times as they like from either Boston or Long Beach, Calif., to select cities on the carrier’s routes. Fliers can book flights starting Aug. 15 for travel between Aug. 22 and Nov. 22.

    The business-traveler-targeted offer is a markedly different from the All You Can Jet passes of 2009 and 2010, which gave fliers nationwide the ability to book coach seats on any JetBlue route as often as they wanted during the month-long promotion. (2010 price: $499 to $699.) Those passes sold out in a matter of hours, but this year’s could prove a tougher sell, says Rick Seaney, chief executive of pricing site FareCompare.com. A JetBlue spokesman says the offer is a response to customer feedback from its previous unlimited passes, and focuses on cities where it has seen growth in business travel.

  • Jun 7, 2011
    6:23 PM ET

    Nickels & Dimes: The Newest New Airline Fees

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    On a recent flight from St. Lucia back to New York, it was the alcohol that did me in. Two bottles of island rum pushed my checked bag 0.5 pounds over JetBlue’s 50-pound limit. Prepared to thwart the $50 overweight bag fee, I promptly sorted a few things out into a separate, soft duffle — and got hit with an unexpected second-bag fee of $35.

    I take full blame: JetBlue has charged for a second bag on international flights since 2008. But international fliers should be aware: United Continental, Delta and American have all added fees for checking a second bag on some international flights this year. All three have also increased fees on other routes; Jet Blue also raised its checked-bag fees from $30 to $35.

    It’s a major shift in international travel, which has largely been fee-free due to a combination of high fares and carriers’ ability to easily tack on fuel surcharges, says Basili Alukos, an equity analyst for Morningstar. Just a few years ago, even economy travelers on international flights could count on two free checked bags weighing up to 70 pounds each. But now the free second bag has all but disappeared, and now costs $35 to $75. Weight limits have dropped, too, with overweight fees of $100 and up kicking in at 50 pounds. Some routes won’t even accept bags weighing more than 70 pounds, forcing consumers into even pricier airline cargo arrangements.

    “Airlines are trying to get another source of revenue, and they must think international travelers are more elastic on pricing,” Alukos says. After all, if you’re shelling out $1,200 for airfare to Paris or London this summer, what’s another $70 to check a second bag?

  • May 26, 2011
    11:05 AM ET

    The Trouble With Redeeming Air Miles

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    So many miles, so few seats. That’s become a common lament of frequent fliers who try to redeem for an awards ticket, only to find that the first seat available is on a Tuesday midnight flight – eight months from now. A story in today’s Wall Street Journal offers a breakdown of the most and least generous airlines when it comes to redeeming frequent flier miles.

    Southwest had award seats available for 99.3% of queries made by frequent fliers, while jetBlue was the next best U.S. airline on the list with award seats available 79.3% of the time, according to a survey of 24 airlines by consulting firm IdeaWorks Co.

    And the worst?

About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.