Yesterday, I wrote about my friend’s delayed JetBlue flight from Florida to New York last night and the importance of always keeping on top of your flight status in case it goes out early. Well, wouldn’t you know it? The flight ended up getting canceled and my friend and her husband spent over five hours in the airport. Most of their time was spent trying to get her bag back. It was a total sh*t show as her JetBlue flight wasn’t the only one delayed or canceled. And it wasn’t just because of weather. Multiple employees gave different answers which is a little fishy. But I do know she regretted checking a bag because of the hassle and time of getting it back.

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I’ve received numerous emails from readers with their own JetBlue stories, including one from reader Jeff who wrote: “Jetblue is having major problems out of Westchester. Every flight is late, sometimes 4 hours or more. Today, April 2, every Jetblue flight is late. No other airlines show late flights. Weather at HPN and the areas in FL JB flies is perfect. This clearly is an airline issue. Are they short on pilots or crew?”

Another reader named Abraao wrote: “My sons was supposed to fly to Guayaquil from JFK yesterday afternoon. The flight was delayed 4 hours before being suddenly canceled. My son had to wait another 3 hours to get his luggage back and be put in a new plane today at 11:20am. As soon as he arrives at the airport this morning, after he spent an hour checking in because the late reschedule had not made it to the central reservation system, his new flight was delayed by another 3 hours first and 1 more hour later. Story still developing. He will miss the wedding he was supposed to attend tonight. Not sure yet if he will go to Ecuador or not. Apparently there have been countless JetBlue flights delayed or cancelled since yesterday. JetBlue is doing a very poor job in informing people and compensating them for the incidental expenses, like taxis back to the city or hotel for people who connected in NY. A lot of people in tears last night.”

I’m starting to think it is crew and staffing related but it’s not just Westchester Airport. Looking at FlightAware.com, JetBlue had 83 cancelations and 630 delayed flight yesterday. Today is no different and it’s not even noon here in Los Angeles. So far, JetBlue has canceled 53 flights and delayed 446.

The worst part is that JetBlue isn’t even close to leading the way amongst U.S. carriers in terms of delays and cancellations. The top three today are Southwest Airlines with 263 canceled flights and 1,286 delays. American Airlines has 251 cancelations and 317 delays and Delta with 206 and 327 respectively. Southwest blamed an IT error.

Alaska Airlines, which saw off-duty pilots picketing in several major cities over contract negations, canceled dozens of flights yesterday and today. According to MSN: “About 15,300 passengers were affected” and “more cancellations were possible through the weekend.”

Alaska Airlines’ website warns: “Our call centers are experiencing long wait times. You may cancel or change your flight online. If you are not traveling today, please avoid calling. Thank you for your patience.”

Prior to researching this article, I called American Airlines about booking a trip to Hawaii using miles. I have Executive Platinum status, which is the second highest behind Concierge Key and my wait time this morning for a callback was between three hours and forty minutes and four hours and twenty minutes. That’s insane.

Since most of the airlines seem to be having problems, it’s best not to call if you aren’t traveling today or tomorrow. If you are traveling and are experiencing a long delay or cancelation, here are my tips.

But you better pack your patience (and snacks), consider postponing a couple of days and avoid checking a bag if you can. A checked bag was the most frustrating thing about my friend’s flight cancelation, waiting for her bags to come out, which is why it’s always best to travel with carry-on only whenever you can.

BTW: My friend who had her flight canceled didn’t get a hotel or transportation provided (they’re not legally obligated) but she did receive this email apology while still at the airport.
———————————
We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience you experienced on JetBlue flight #B61968 on 01APR2022. Our goal is to offer you the best in air travel and we recognize your experience did not meet that goal.

We understand how challenging it is when travel plans are disrupted. As a gesture of apology, we have issued each eligible customer on this flight a service credit for future travel on JetBlue.

  • You will receive an email within seven (7) days with the amount of your service credit and redemption instructions.
  • The credit will be placed in your Travel Bank and may be used anytime during the next 12 months toward another JetBlue flight.

We look forward to welcoming you on board again in the future and giving you a renewed JetBlue experience.

Here’s to less bumps and more blue skies,

Kate Hart
Director, Customer Experience Operations
JetBlue Airways


UPDATE: JetBlue sent her just $50 for her inconvenience. That was less than what Uber charged to get to a friend’s house. Pretty pathetic if you ask me.

Weather (see screenshot below from the FAA) is now definitely an issue in Florida thanks to thunderstorms. There’s also some weather in the Midwest but if the airlines are having this much of a meltdown in April, I certainly hope this isn’t a pre-cursor to the busy summer travel period. Hopefully this will knock some sense into the airline’s executives that they better figure out a way to staff up or fix whatever the problem is.

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16 Comments On "What is Up With the U.S. Airlines Right Now? Are They Having a Mini-Meltdown?"
  1. Costa Athan|

    So, I see. Blame the airline speculating what happened. Write the entire article and publish. Then reference the FAA’s data bank and notice all Florida airports are ground stopped. What pathetic writing.

  2. Tara|

    JetBlue canceled our DCA-RSW flight April 2, rebooked us on an April 3 flight, and now that’s canceled, too. Other airlines are flying; it’s not weather. This is how you lose customers.

  3. Byron|

    – Ground Stop caused delays? These aren’t delayed flights, they are cancelled flights. JetBlue cancelled my DCA to RSW Saturday flight with no explanation and rebooked me on today’s flight, then cancelled it as well, each cancellation conveniently minutes within the four hour rule. Three of four non-stop flights cancelled in two days. (btw, my wait time to speak to a rep is 230 minutes from notice of cancellation, wow).

    – Each of my RSW/DCA JetBlue trips (Dec – Feb) have been significantly delayed or cancelled,….. every time…. no ground stops during them either. That kind of consistency deserves some kind of award, don’t ya think?

    – Face it, JetBlue, and other Low Costs, aren’t staffed from operations management through maintenance sufficiently so as to keep their planes to a posted schedule.

    -For this customer it’s time to reconsider slightly longer connecting flights with Majors that end up far more reliable and timely.

  4. Amparo Cecilia Wolden|

    Yesterday 4/2/22, my 17-year old nephew arrived to Miami FL (from Lima-Peru) at 1:30pm. His connection flight was at 3:30pm to St. Louis, MO… that flight was first delayed, then cancelled. Then American gave him another flight which was also cancelled and finally ha had to wait in line for 5 hours to receive a STAND BY boarding pass! …and they told him they didn’t know if he was going to fly Sunday or Monday or even Tuesday!

  5. Alice|

    Same experience with Jet Blue. Just canceled our flight at 4 15pm today to Westchester. with no reason. Hold time of 298 minutes if you want to speak to a rep. Can’t rebook online. I think we are done with JetBlue.

  6. Byron|

    -Online with JetBlue is useless, they auto rebooked my second cancelled flight from DCA/RSW in the last two days so that now my departure flight from DC will arrive in RSW an hour AFTER my departure time is scheduled to leave from RSW the same day. A 230 minute wait time just to say “I give up, cancel my flight” is a little tiresome.

    – Given this kind of error is baked into their operations management, I’m nervous about getting on a JetBlue flight at all.

  7. R. Alessi|

    Same experience on AA yesterday. Flight from grand cayman to Miami delays 2+ hours then the flight from Miami to Tampa -originally delayed and then canceled. Was rebooked on a flight leaving on April 5th at 8:20pm. Note:it only is a 4 hour drive from Miami to Tampa. Decided to rent a car-another 60+ Minutes in the car rental line and drive. home. Been on hold with AA for 3+ hours waiting to talk with someone this morning. We only hit rain when we were 29 miles outside of Tampa. Typical Florida rain.

  8. Kate|

    Same here. Jetblue LGA-DEN cancelled less than 3 hours before departure this AM, no explanation, weather is fine. Been waiting in the customer service “chat” queue for 5 hours and it still shows a wait time of over 2 hours. Ironically, I never have these issues why Frontier (I usually fly out of Philly). Bye JetBlue. Never again.

  9. Denise|

    Yes Our flight as well was cancelled from Newark to St. Maarten Flight 995 today April 3rd 2022 as said above WITHOUT EXPLANATION and ONLY AN HOUR BEFORE THE FLIGHT WAS DEPARTING. Is this even legal never mind so inconsiderate. At least give us an explanation for cancelation !
    Jet Blue automatically booked us on a flight tomorrow morning – after reading all of the 2nd and 3rd cancellations – we will cancel these flights and book on a different carrier. Good bye Jet Blue.
    As a human family we must must must begin to consider ourselves as stewards of compassion for each other…this saddens me so ! And i’m sad for Jet Blue and all of the employees because I doubt you’ll be in business much longer.

  10. Renata P.|

    You don’t believe the headache what my husband and I suffered with JetBlue in this week.
    First off, when we took a flight from New York to Orlando in March 27th, they took 4 hours hours to departure. They didn’t provide anything to us, eve a glass of water.
    Now, yesterday we were in Miami and our flight to Los Angeles was canceled, they change both airports to departure and arrive, it caused more costs for us, and the directly flight was change for a flight with a stop and huge timeline to get there. After 2 hours waiting for an answer thru live chat, we got a flight from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles direct flight, but we needed to spend an Uber to get there. But the worst thing that happened to us, when the airplane almost to take off, the pilot braked sharply and everyone thought the airplane would hit, or something with the engine. The pilot’s excuse was the tower has authorized, and after it they come back. Come on? Never more I will use this company. So frustrated they almost messed up our vacation.

  11. Kathleen|

    Done with Jet Blue after more than 20 years. My experience is similar to those described above. 10 hours at JFK waiting for a flight to Orlando that was ultimately cancelled and automatically rebooked for a flight two days later with an arrival time of 12:50 AM. No thanks. No masking enforcement despite the crowded airport and long lines for Jet Blue Help. Today, 2 hour wait on the phone to rebook the auto assigned booking and a web site that is generates an error message ‘oops, something went wrong.’ The flying public and Jet Blue agents deserve better. Shame on Jet Blue’s leadership for its lack of customer care, lack of TSA masking enforcement and lame back up for flight disruptions,

  12. abraao dias pinto|

    To follow on my earlier story, my son got canceled on Friday, rescheduled on Saturday, spent another 12hrs in the airport (JFK with destination to Ecuador) and got canceled again. He is now scheduled to fly on Monday but won’t do it as he was attending a wedding this weekend. Now I am starting my own journey, trying to get refunded, having already waited 7hr in the chat. Phone was not an option. I waited 90mn twice and got disconnected before reaching the 4hr promised mark. No more JetBlue for me and my family.

  13. Julie M|

    Our family had the hardest time trying to leave Orlando on 3/31. Our Frontier flight sat on the tarmac for almost 4 hours before we turned around and went back to the gate where we waited another almost 2 hours for ground crews to marshall us in/unload the baggage while we received numerous texts and emails from Frontier saying we were delayed then eventually cancelled. We ended up renting a car, driving the almost 3 hours to my sister’s house in Boca Raton, and rebooked our flight out of FLL on JetBlue for 4/1 while driving. We arrive for our flight out of FLL on 4/1 to an on time departure only to get texts/emails within minutes that our flight was delayed until 11:30pm (original departure was around 10pm with arrival in Cleveland at 1230am). Then the delays continued. Our original plane was coming in from St. Maarten but was switched to coming out of JFK which was already delayed 12 hours. Through some sort of wizardry, our flight crew was on time and ready to leave… the plane and pilots were not. A new plane was brought over and the pilots checked in at 115am. We ended up landing at 5am. Fortunately, the gate crew kept us in the loop as to what was going on (plane didn’t leave JFK, working on getting a new plane/pilot, etc.) but couldn’t really explain why. Needless to say, it’s road trips for a while until these airlines figure this out.

  14. Camm Willener|

    Fly Delta

  15. Jim Stokes|

    I am a Captain for a major US airline. I have been flying for the airlines for 28 years now. The issue for the next 20 years will be a major, major pilot shortage. It is unprecedented in the history of aviation. Essentially, it comes down to money. Management at major airlines have chosen to pay as little as possible to pilots at the commuters who are entering the industry. Because of that, fewer, and fewer college students have chosen to pursue this career that takes 10 – 15 years to eventually pay off. And now that the majors are in desperate need of pilots, they don’t have the younger pilots in the pipeline to fill these positions. And if someone wants to be a pilot today, it will take 10 years, and $100,000 to try and make it to a major airline. In the end, pure corporate greed has put us in this position. And it will easily last for the next 20 years. If you think this winter is bad, this is nothing. Wait until it really gets bad.

  16. Ashley|

    My flight had been cancelled on April 3rd, and the staff told everyone they had to cancel due to having no staff for the flight. I definitely believe these issues are due to short staffing problems not weather related.

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