A JetBlue flight was stranded on the tarmac at Bradley International Airport in Hartford, CT for seven hours yesterday. The 100 passengers were left without food, water or working bathrooms, reports ABC.
Apparently, JetBlue wasn’t equipped well enough to send help. The pilot complained about it to airport officials while his plane was stuck:
“Look, you know we can’t seem to get any help from our own company,” said the pilot, according to cockpit records from LiveATC. “I apologise for this, but is there any way you can get a tug and a tow bar out here to us and get us towed somewhere to a gate or something.”
Things got so bad on the plane that he requested that police be sent — passengers were angry and arguing. Also, there was a paraplegic man who complained of severe pain because he hadn’t been moved for hours for leg circulation.
JetBlue released this statement after the ordeal, reports ABC:
We worked with the airport to secure services, including remote deplaning and lav servicing. Obviously, we would have preferred deplaning much sooner than we did, but our flights were six of the 23 reported diversion into Hartford, including international flights. The airport experienced intermittent power outages, which made refueling and jetbridge deplaning difficult. We apologise to the customers impacted by this confluence of events, as it remains JetBlue’s responsibly to not simply provide safe and secure travel, but a comfortable experience as well.
Nobody cares what problems JetBlue was having internally, or what excuses it has. The company’s infrastructure couldn’t handle it, and that’s JetBlue’s fault. Yes, it has to explain what happened, but it should also say how it screwed up, not just ring off excuses.
The apology should state that the JetBlue wasn’t prepared for the weather, that it’s the company’s fault for that and that it’s going to take the following steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again. And some extra compensation for those customers would help, too — JetBlue just refunded their tickets.
The airline industry already has enough problems with its image, and whenever a PR nightmare like this pops up, it seems like the airlines’ handling of it just makes things even worse.
The government is now investigating the incident, which could lead to a fine of up to $27,500 per passenger. A total of six JetBlue flights carrying around 700 passengers were diverted to Hartford, so that fine could pile up.
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