Frustrated Travelers Lose More Than Time On Recent Flight Cancellations

January 8, 2014  |  

via @JetBlue, January 2

The severe winter weather has caused more than 95,000 flight cancellations since January 1st, affecting more than nine million passengers, reports CBS News. The end result is $400 million in revenue losses to the airlines. But it is passengers who bear the brunt of the delay’s costs, which are estimated at $1.4 billion. One source tells CBS that passengers see losses in work productivity as well as expenses not covered by the airlines such as hotels and meals when their travel plans are delayed.

JetBlue is trying to offset some of those costs with an offer of compensation to affected customers. According to the airline’s usual policy, travelers whose original flights were canceled were offered the choice of refunds or re-bookings free of charge. And non-members of the company’s “TrueBlue” frequent flier program will receive $50 credits for future trips. TrueBlue members will receive 5,000 frequent flier points, reports CNN.

But customers who had multiple cancellations will be eligible for larger credits, complimentary tickets and frequent flier points. JetBlue posted full details in a blog post on its website.

Roughly 150,000 customers had been affected by cancellations in the past six days, though many were re-booked on other flights, explained JetBlue chief operating officer Rob Maruster on a conference call with reporters. That airline canceled flights for 17 hours in order to give their crew members a chance to rest and to try and hit the reset button after days of flight changes.

“Every operational decision we made specifically to cancel flights despite the number of customers in the airport was made for safety reasons, but the inconvenience to our customers was still significant,” Maruster said.

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