Friday, February 16, 2007
Well, This has not been a fun week, well I guess I shouldn't say week but at least half a week. It has been exhausting and frustrating, but fun I would not say.
It started on Monday actually with a few call here and there questioning what JetBlue was doing in terms of their flights due to the "Nor Eastern" coming in. The answer, "We are continually tracking the storm to see what is going to happen. We don't want to cancel your flights if we don't have to." In other words, nothing.
Valentines day comes and the storm comes with it. In full force! Planes were stranded and passengers were stranded, and ice was still coming. There were supposed to be "Pockets" of weather that we were supposed to get our planes out through but that didn't happen. The reasoning...Planes were freezing to the ground, which means that the deicing equipment had to be moved in order to unfreeze those planes.
There were 259 of our 505 flights that were canceled. It was a nightmare. JetBlue is still suffering from it, and are now trying to realign planes and flight crews. They have decided to cancel for Saturday, Sunday and Monday all of our flights that are E190's (the smaller planes). Which is 155 flights of itself. This is to help get everything back on track, but it is also creating more frustrations for our customers.
I believe this was a learning experience for our company. They have learned (finally!) that it is helpful to cancel flights before a big storm, there have been many many times that we have been lucky and there have been "pockets" of good weather where we could take off. I think there are a lot of a angry people. I am not looking forward to going back to work, and am enjoying my few days off. I may work a bit of overtime tomorrow mostly because I feel bad for our customers. When all of this happened the call volume not only went up but got overwhelming. I'm talking so much so that our phone systems could not handle it, the phone company had to work with us to actually be able to hold them on the line long enough to say "We are sorry our call volume is too high please try again later" (not a direct quote but basically that is what it said), and then when they finally got through to us we basically didn't have enough answers for them. ... Some of the questions they want to know from us... Where is my baggage? Why did you cancel more flights? Will my flight actually take off since it is significantly delayed? Are you sure this flight will take off? Is it going to be back to normal tomorrow? Why are other airlines able to get their flights off the ground and you can't?.... The list goes on and on, and basically our answers are "I'm sorry but I don't have an answer for that" or "I can't tell you for sure but please keep checking with us", you get the gist of it ... And THEN if we had to get a supervisor for them (like to have them unchecked so we could cancel and refund their money) there was a 20-30 minute hold time for that. Luckily, I was able to get some WONDERFUL people on the phones who were very understanding, there were a few who weren't but for the most part everyone was pretty gracious. But now that the ice storm is over and we are still canceling flights...well, I don't think they are going to be so understanding about it anymore.
I feel so bad for them, it is a huge holiday for the east coast. Basically, it is like a spring break and they were planning on having a wonderful vacation.
So, say a little prayer for me this week as I will be handling a lot of disgruntled customers for days to come.