With the recent news about the JetBlue Valentine's fiasco, I remembered that I had a similar experience a few years ago. It certainly wasn't as bad as sitting on a plane for 9 hours, but my experience made it clear to me that JetBlue is sorely lacking in their customer service.
On December 23, 2004, I was traveling for Christmas, and there happened to be a snowstorm that day. Since I was living in Rochester, NY, this was not really a big deal, as we dealt with this all the time. I did expect some delays, but nothing major. The flight was delayed for 2 hours, which is more than I was expecting, but still understandable.
They finally started boarding and everyone was eager to get moving. Once boarding was finished... nothing happened. We sat on the plane for 20 minutes, and still had not pulled away from the gate. This was aggravating; we were already 2.5 hours behind schedule, and the flight crew was giving us no information about the cause of the delay.
Finally, a passenger sitting behind me asked a flight attendant what the problem was:
We have a few passengers who need to make connecting flights, and because of the delay they might miss their connections. We don't want to leave them stranded in New York, so if they are going to miss their connections, they'll get off the plane.
Now, this is all well and good, and might be considered good customer service, if we weren't already 2.5 hours late. They were holding up almost 100 people to help out 5.
As the delay approached the 3 hour mark, they finally decided that those passengers would get off the plane. I have no idea why it took almost an hour to make this decision. If it was a 5 or 10 minute exercise, I could have found my holiday spirit -- but it was almost an hour.
Once they finally deplaned, we had to wait for the ground crew to get their luggage out of the hold. Then the plane had to be de-iced again, which was another 15 minutes.
All told, we were delayed over 3 hours, 1 hour of which was due to poor customer service decisions. Even more aggravating was that while we were sitting in the plane, the flight crew was socializing and joking around with each other at the front of the plane, and made no announcements at all about what was going on. They made it clear that to them, we were just cargo.
This experience was so bad (now I see how much worse it could have been!) that I sent a letter to the customer service department. Their response?
If you were one of those 5 passengers, I bet you would appreciate not missing your connecting flight.
Thanks. That really helps.
So after that experience, I'm appalled but not surprised about what happened on Valentine's day. At least JetBlue has TV in every seat!