Friday, April 22, 2011

Disenchanted with Jet Blue

I remember my first flight on Jet Blue Airways.  2004, shortly after my college graduation and after a long road trip from Baton Rouge, LA to Buffalo, NY, my friend and I flew back to Baton Rouge on the fairly new airline.  I remember loving everything about the flight.  We had our own individual tv's with direct tv and snack options - not just those crappy snack mixes from the other airlines that have like 200 calories for 4 bites.  I also remember they had funny little cards about how to exercise on the plane, courtesy of Crunch Fitness.  We thoroughly enjoyed our flight and I raved about Jet Blue to everyone.

Fast forward 7 years (holy cow, I graduated from college nearly 7 years ago).  Flying is a little different.  Those exercise cards have been missing for as long as I can remember, but we still have snack options and tv's, though we've flown more than once with tv's that don't work.  If they don't work, you can get a $15 credit for your next trip, but you're s.o.l'ed on this flight.  But really, those tv's aren't my main focus: I'm flying with a toddler.

Waiting to get on board, I've got Noah's car seat in a carrier bag on my back, bags of stuff, and a very wiggly 16 month old ready to get situated.  Boarding for our flights to and from Florida was late, so we were becoming anxious.  When they finally started the boarding, we heard something that we weren't expecting at all.  When we expected to hear "Pre-boarding for those who need extra time and those traveling with small children" we heard instead "those passengers in rows 1-5 and in the extra leg room seats."  What?????

Jet Blue doesn't have 1st or business class.  It's all exactly the same, but for $15 extra dollars (which we've done more than once) you can get a few extra inches of leg room.  Great for a a lap child trying to run around, but not necessary when we've already purchased a 16 month old his own seat.  

So now, my husband and I are stuck juggling the car seat on one of our bags, a bag of toys and books, a diaper bag, food, and a wiggling 16 month old and waiting until their fake first class takes their seat before we finally get our chance to get on the airplane.

Now, maybe this seems like a silly complaint, after all.   We'll have plenty of time to get situated and have plenty of time on the plane.  But, the problem is, now we're all getting ready to board, all the children are going nuts in the terminal because they know they're waiting for something AND, now that there are already people on board the plane, it's harder to get through the aisle of the plane with all of our stuff.  Even random passengers in the terminal thought this was ridiculous, to have the people who need more time to board the plane wait.  What is wrong with this picture?

Now, there is more to the story than this.  My disappointment with Jet Blue goes deeper than pre-boarding. All may be silly, but still true, none-the-less.  I've dealt with rude (and I mean rude) attendants checking in and trying to get our bags checked in.  But, now, both flights to and from Florida, as I'm trying to get the car seat unbuckled and back in the carrier bag after every other passenger is off the plane, the flight attendants start their clean up and start complaining about the messes that are on the floor (not at my seat, because that would obviously be rude, but the row next to or in front of ours) and talking about how disgraceful and disgusting it is that parents would allow their children to make such a mess.  

My guess?  That flight attendant never flew with children.  I almost spoke up yesterday, after the flight attendant complained about cheerios on the ground in the row next to ours.  How could that mess have been made?  A mom was in a row with her 3 children 5 and under by herself.  Yup.  a 5 year old, 3 year old in a car seat, and 1 year old lap child and her.  Her husband was in the back with other family, but somehow she got the hot spot by herself with those 3 kids.  If cheerios keep the kids quiet and peaceful for the flight, than let the mess be made.  Because, if you have a lap child, you can't actually be on the ground cleaning up the mess because you're holding a baby, but, it is a baby, so there will be a mess.  

I was just so shocked and annoyed that they were complaining that I had to share.  No longer is my favorite airline the warm and wonderful company I once thought it to be.  It's now rude and jaded like every other company I know.... aside from the Disney Corporation.  Those cast members really should show the airlines how to treat people!

And, I wrote this complaint up to Jet Blue this morning, so we'll see if I get any response.  I'll keep you updated.


  1. Not to play devil's advocate, but thats gotta be the suckiest part of a flight attendant's job. I mean, sure they probably should have waited until everyone was off the plane to vent but everyone vents at some point. On my last flight I witnessed a kid fill the pouch in the seat in front of him with tissues he was using (he was 12 so it was really his mess to clean up not his parents or the flight attendant) and then leave them there. I pitied the flight crew immedately. lol. That being said, it was completely unprofessional to hear someone complain about costumers when you are a costumer and are still there.

    I am not a parent and I am sure it is super frustrating and exhausting to fly with children- esp toddlers- but I think having flown 4 different airlines from NY to MCO, Jet Blue overall does the best job for the best price. I mean we have paid $59 each way going down to Disney! Which is the best price of any carrier. And very few airlines serve snacks/drinks for a flight under 3 hours. Plus, I actually like the TV policy of giving you a credit when the one on your seat doesn't work. I usually read or listen to my iPod on planes anyways.

    When we flew Delta they did not do the pre-boarding at all (I remember the woman sitting next to us complain since she was flying alone with two toddlers) and in February Southwest did not do it on our return flight. Maybe its a time thing if they are not consistent? I don't know how it works but after I heard the one woman complain on the Delta flight I always listen for it now. I hope you mentioned that in your email to Jet Blue- I would be curious to know what the explanation is. Whether or not someone has enough time to get situated or not, I think it adds a little bit of a stress level to parents not to have those few extra moments to get situated.

  2. I can't speak for the pissed off flight attendant but I fly JetBlue & Continental all the time to Orlando. I'd say for all my flights over the past year or two, people with children are never allowed to board first. The staff at the gate usually joke during the announcement that since the flight is to Orlando, and almost everyone is going to Disney World, it means most people have children. So boarding early wouldn't do any good. It usually gets a chuckle out of the people waiting to board and it makes sense to me.

    My ex is also a flight attendant for Continental and he said the same thing when I asked him about it one day. Having families board first gives the very few that don't have children a disadvantage at the overhead bins, etc.

  3. I've heard that in MCO they don't b/c "every flight is filled with kids" but my last flight out of MCO (January), Noah was one of only 2, so...

    And I absolutely agree that the flight attendants have a lot of crap to deal with and cleaning up after messy kids sucks.. but just WAIT to bitch about it until the passengers are off the plane! I try to clean up our mess, but I'm still the LAST person off the plane..

    I don't think I conveyed my frustration well in writing (more frustrating to me!). The attitude that Jet blue has shown twice this year is just not up to par to what we'd previously come to expect - they're now more like everyone else, which sucks! That would be like if WDW Cast Members started treating you like you were at Chucky Cheese.. you expect more after so many years of good service!

  4. :( sorry you had this experience. hopefully your next flight(s) will be better.

    BTW- you're still a babe being out of college for only 7 years! ;) I'm going on 15 now! ah! time flies!!!

  5. So sorry you had to go through this. I remember very clearly how challenging it was to fly with kids. Maybe Jet Blue execs should give it a try. See how long they last without a meltdown, lol