Anyone who has traveled frequently enough has likely had to deal with your flight being canceled or rescheduled and all the havoc that can ensue trying to keep the rest of your itinerary from being completely screwed up. But what’s a traveler to do when the airline screws up twice and cancels your ticket for a flight that you’re not even booked on?
This is what happened recently happened to JetBlue passenger Tim and his wife, who were scheduled to fly direct from Boston to St. Thomas on the morning of Feb. 16 with some friends.
The couple had booked their tickets months in advance and had all their confirmation numbers, etc., ready as the departure date drew near. Then they got an e-mail on Feb. 13 saying that their flight had been canceled and they would have to reschedule.
Only problem was that JetBlue had the correct flight listed in the e-mail, but the wrong date. The e-mail said that the Feb. 15 flight was canceled, not the Feb. 16 departure that Tim had booked.
When Tim contacted JetBlue to figure out what had gone wrong, he says a rep for the airline told him that their tickets had somehow been switched to that earlier flight.
The best the airline could do was put them on a late-evening flight on Feb. 17, which wouldn’t arrive until the early morning of Feb. 18, nearly two full days after he was supposed to arrive.
Meanwhile that Feb. 16 flight he’d originally booked had departed as planned with his friends aboard.
Since extending his vacation was not a possibility, this would mean that Tim’s holiday would be ruined, so he investigated other ways to salvage his trip.
Because of the bad weather in Boston at the time, seats on planes out of the city were at a premium, explains Tim, who eventually ended up looking at the New York City area airports for more reasonable options.
“I found a flight out of Newark, NJ, Tuesday morning at 8 A.M. that would get me into St Thomas at 3:30 PM,” he writes. “I booked that flight, reserved a one-way rental car and drove 5 hours to a hotel nearest the airport. I stayed at the hotel overnight and caught a flight out Tuesday morning putting me into my final destination approximately 24 hours late.”
Not only did he have to go in the hole for the expense of the rental car and hotel just to make it to the Newark flight on time, Tim faced additional expenses once he landed. His final destination was actually the island of St. John, but since his friends who’d arrived the day before had already picked up the rental car they’d all intended to share.
“The cost to salvage our trip involved new airline tickets, a rental car, a hotel, taxis and a ferry plus the lodging cost for a night we had already reserved/paid for,” wrote Tim in a detailed letter to JetBlue asking for the airline to reimburse him for the cost, which totaled nearly $2,000.
We also wrote to our contacts at JetBlue asking them to investigate what happened. It took a couple of weeks and several e-mails but today the airline gave us the following statement: “We want all of our customer to have a great experience with JetBlue. We have been working with the customer directly and believe we have come to a solution.”
It’s not much, and doesn’t explain exactly how this screw-up happened, so we reached out to Tim, who confirmed that he has been contacted by JetBlue and that the airline has offered to reimburse him for his expenses.
“I decided to accept the refund and move on with my life,” he tells Consumerist.