I normally fly only first class, but Jet Blue has the only nonstop service from Boston to places like West Palm and San Juan. I don’t like changing planes in the winter, and people convinced me that Jet Blue was quite comfortable and attentive.
Based on four flights to and from San Juan (Feb. 2 #661, Feb. 9 #462 and the same flights on Feb. 9 and 25) here is my experience, I think cut rate airlines tend to have cut rate attitudes.
You pay an extra $40 for additional leg room. You are still seated three-across. You pay $2 to check each bag at curbside—a transaction which much cost them at least three times that to complete. You pay for each checked bag. On the first trip, the counter agent told me my bag was five pounds over the limit, and recommended I redistribute with my wife’s bag—this in the middle hundreds of moving people at their counter. I refused. She told me that the penalty fee was $100. I gave her my Amex card.
“It’s $100!” she exclaimed. “Either waive it or charge me,” I said. She charged me, even though my wife’s bag was well under the limit.
On one trip, the flight attendant admonished my wife harshly that one of her bags really wouldn’t fit under the seat in front of her, theoretically, since we were in a bulkhead row. “I did it on the way down,” my wife replied, “and your gate agent said nothing about it.”
“Well, I won’t allow it next time,” the flight attendant pontificated. When she asked a man harshly to stow his gear, I said, “She just has zero charm.” The flight attendant, hearing this, said, “How would you ask him.?”
I said to try, “Sir, may I help you with your bags?”
She replied, “Oh, right, that’s what I’ll do. I’ve heard it all.”
We were delayed on the last trip because a flight attendant was late getting to the plane, not having left his hotel on time. He arrived casually walking down the hall, in no great hurry.
They hawk things in the aisles as if you’re at a carnival, Cushions, ear phones, food, you name it.
When the flight crew comes out to use the lavatory, and the flight attendants prevent terror attacks by pushing a food service cart in front of them, both captain and co-pilot come out one by one, and they shoot the breeze with the flight attendants while getting some refreshments. This puts the lav our of use for everyone for far longer than it needs to be.
In Boston, their conveyor broke and they put four flights of baggage on one conveyor—you can imagine that—with the baggage claim agent constantly repeating incorrect information. On two flights we had to wait upon landing while some people raced for connections (all four flights were late) because Jet Blue books connections that would challenge an Olympic track star. And they won’t hold a flight even when the delay is their fault.
On one flight the video screens wouldn’t work. I carry reward cards for flight attendants because I’m in the top tier of most airlines’ frequently flyer programs, and if Jet Blue had them I can’t think of anyone to whom I would give one.
I’m changing planes next time, flying first, and making up the layover time with flights that are on time and treat me as a valued customer and not someone getting in the way. If it weren’t for passengers, they’d love their business.
© Alan Weiss 2016