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That was what close to 100 JetBlue passengers were demanding this

afternoon after they were unable to depart from Barbados due to the

cancellation of Flight 6662.

Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) was ripe with

frustrations, despite substantial showers, as several passengers, many who

were scheduled to return to their homes since weekend, were once again

turned away. The vexation escalated even more when it was learnt that

JetBlue was the only flight cancelled.

An American Airlines official confirmed that its AA flight also headed

to New York was flying out as planned.

“I am very, very frustrated,” said a New Yorker, who declined to give her name.

She was supposed to have left yesterday.

“Is this going to get to a New York newspaper? I want it to . . . . People waiting

here for hours upon hours and no one knows if the flight is cancelled, if it is not cancelled. Are they paying for hotels? Why is the flight not going out, and American

Airlines flight is going out?

“Is it a weather issue? A JetBlue issue? No one knows. So do we sit here in line

and waste the rest of our holiday [in] the airport line?

“Come down, tell us what the story is and let us go about our business. If we

can’t get out for another three four days, I’m not going to waste my days here at

the airport. I’m going out, enjoy Barbados, spend my money, go to the beach, drink

pina coladas, and I’ll be back in four days time. But don’t let me stand here and be

frustrated, and wait,” she lamented.

Bajan/New Yorker Rodney Holder and his family said they were also infuriated

about the developments. He told Barbados TODAY that he was scheduled to

return to work in the Department of Health in New York City from tomorrow and

his daughter to school today; but now he was uncertain when this would happen.

He said he heard that the earliest flight to leave Barbados will be on January

13 but because of the lack of communication between officials at JetBlue and

passengers, nothing could be confirmed.

Holder said the standard message to passengers was, ‘Right now we still trying

to accommodate the people who were cancelled yesterday’. He added though:

“That still ain’t helping me. I want to know about me. I just need a date so I can talk

to my boss and they can’t even give me a date. I already sent an email [to work]

but I need a date to give them so they would know when I’m coming back. I can’t

just tell them I ain’t coming back. So right now that is why I am here trying to find

out when we can get on a plane; but so far nothing.

“The same [passengers] that were up there from the time they came out still

there. They have everybody in the same line; there is no information line to go and

ask a question and get an answer . . . . Tomorrow it is supposed to

drop to 20 below; so if we don’t get out today, we definitely not

getting out. Nobody ain’t giving you any information –– nothing!

And the worst part is holding on [their call centre] for an hour and

a half then to hear they aren’t taking any more calls and the phone

went dead.

“So you have to take matters into your own hand and come up

here because their website ain’t working either,” the angered man

said as he vowed not to patronize the airline again.

GAIA corporate communications specialist Keith Goddard,

while not stating that the cancellation was as a result of the

weather situation, noted that usually with extreme weather, as

that being experienced in New York, delays and cancallations

were expected.

“What is here is nothing that we haven’t dealt with before,

whether the weather situation happens here or in New York or

the gateways that we operate from or enter,” Goddard said.

“It is not a case where people are stranded, because airlines

always inform the passengers ahead of time to always check with

the airlines prior to coming to the airport. So we work with the

airlines, but what is happening today or over the past three days is

not something that we are unaccustomed to at Grantley Adams.

As long as the weather persists you can expect you will have these

[issues] . . . . The airlines know what to do and they manage the

situation as best as they can,” he said.

Barbados TODAY made efforts to reach an official from JetBlue, but was

informed by a front desk attendant that only a supervisor could speak on the matter;

but after some wait we were unsuccessful in speaking to said supervisor. We were

also unsuccessful in reaching a representative from JetBlue’s call centre after a 25

minutes wait.

However on a Winter Storm Recovery Update was issued

stating that due to this week’s winter storm in the United States, that the airline had

“placed planes and crews away from their previously scheduled routes”.

The noticed further read: “While our team has been working to repair schedules

by bringing crews and planes back ‘into position’ and resume normal operations,

further cancellations are still occurring as crews exceed their allowed duty times. We

understand the frustration this causes for our customers and will do everything we can

to minimize the impact.

“If you’re scheduled to fly out on a trip today, we’d encourage you to continue

checking our operational advisory for current information on our fee waivers, and if

you still opt to travel, please check the status of your flight online prior to leaving for

the airport.

“For more information on our operational recovery, visit our BlueTales blog. In

an effort to minimize the impact to our operation we ask that you please refrain from

going to the airport unless you have a confirmed flight scheduled to depart today.”

According to the Boston Globe, JetBlue flights were also suspended at four

airports in the United States today: Boston, Newark, JFK and LaGuardia.


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