As Lynnette has already recounted, today was an AWFUL day of travel.
Yes, it's the day before Thanksgiving. Sure, we expect things to be busy. We were even prepared to face the small delay due to weather or congestion. But here is what we did NOT expect:
Someone left the lights on in the Jet Blue airplane overnight and the battery died. Seriously. That's what they told us. The battery was dead – like on a car. And, like a car, it's needed in order to start the plane and get it so all systems are go.
So, they called maintenance and tried to jump it. Seriously. That's what they told us. They didn't pull up another plane or anything. They just tried to charge it so we could get going. At that point, our scheduled departure time of 7 AM was pushed back about half an hour. No worries.
But, when they couldn't get the battery charged enough to start the plane, the problem got just a little bit bigger. Since Jet Blue only has a few flights out of Nashville, there's no dedicated maintenance hanger with spare parts. So, there was no battery in Nashville. This meant they had to charter a battery in from Ft. Lauderdale. Seriously. That's what they told us.
At this point, our flight was pushed back three hours, until 10. We were a little nervous because we had Letterman tickets, and the taping of the show was going to be one of our highlights. We had to be at the Ed Sullivan Theater at 3 PM (Eastern time). We should still be able to make it just in time.
Then it all went to hell.
The charter was late. Another Jet Blue flight from New York was coming in and the next scheduled flight from Nashville to JFK was at 11:15. The crack team of customer service folks at Jet Blue remedied our delay by doing the following:
- Giving us a $10 voucher to use in the airport foodcourt.
- Offering us a travel voucher for a future one-way Jet Blue flight in the amount of whatever we paid for our one way to JFK.
- Putting all of us who were on the 7 AM flight on the 11:15 flight, and putting those people on our original plane once the battery arrived.
Our flight was delayed even further because of weather on the east coast. Traffic was terrible into Manhattan.
And we got to the theater at 4:12. Our tickets had been given away. We had no options. We missed it.
Thanks, Jet Blue.
I know stuff happens when you travel. I can handle weather delays and the occasionally routine maintenance that gets you off track for a little while. But when someone slipped up and essentially left the plane running with the keys inside, then that's unacceptable.
I don't think I'm the only person inconvenienced, but I used to work for one of the best hotel companies in the world. The company was (and is) one of the best because of how they correct mistakes. Thus, when things do go wrong, it is the responsibility of the one who made the mistake to do the next best thing. Jet Blue did not do that.
Thus, they will be getting a letter from me requesting a roundtrip voucher. I will be sure to post that letter here once I write it.
After failing to make the show, and after the failure of the CBS pages to be able to offer us any alternatives, we shopped a little and grabbed some food. It's raining here now, so we're in for the evening.
Tomorrow, we'll watch the parade and hopefully things will be top notch until we leave on Saturday.
But, based on today, my Jet Blue days are done, and I think I can effectively check New York off of my list. But, things could be worse. Those originally booked on that 11:15 flight weren't slated to leave Nashville until 8 PM. Our battery-less aircraft was never fixed, essentially stranding 100 folks in Nashville.