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Miles flown for stories
2014: 138,116
2013: 330,818

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Music Video to Commemorate a Lost Bag

To be honest, when I received an email saying a frustrated passenger made a music video to let off some steam after an airline lost his bag, I was very close to deleting it. First off, this concept as been done and secondly — well — sometimes bags get lost and it is by no means is it a good thing, but surely not something to write a story on.

However, I am glad I took the time to click on the link and watch the video. Turns out the bag lost held quite a bit of video equipment worth good money. This meant that the passenger was out his stuff, but he still had the skills to make this classy music video.

Hopefully someday his bag will show up, but until then, enjoy the music.

Airline Love: No ID and Trying to Fly? JetBlue Goes Above and Beyond

Image by Jeremy-Dwyer Lindgren

JetBlue Airbus A320. Image by Jeremy-Dwyer Lindgren

There are many stories out there about how experiences with airlines can be negative. Luckily that is not always the case and many times people can have a positive experience. Recently reader Russell Christensen had a positive experience with JetBlue and wanted to share. Here is his story in his own words:

Back in February I was traveling to Long Beach Airport (LGB) to attend my brother’s wedding via Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) on JetBlue. I was traveling with my wife, brother, and sister and we had a really early flight at 6:00am, but seeing how SLC is typically not the busiest airport I have been to, I figured that it would be ok to show up at 5:15am to check in and be to the gate right as we needed to board.

This idea was perpetuated by the fact that I had to drive from Idaho the night before and we didn’t get into Salt Lake till about 1:00am, so I wanted to sleep a little (which didn’t happen actually; I couldn’t fall asleep for the life of me). So, my wife, sister, and I drove to the airport and parked in the long term parking, thinking all was in order. We were making perfect time and were on track to get checked in and through security.

However, on the shuttle ride from the parking lot to the main terminal, my sister discovered that she had left her I.D. at the house we had spent the night at and a return drive that would take 30 minutes. Needless to say, if we returned for the I.D., we’d miss our flight. We decided that the best thing to do was to talk to the JetBlue ticketing agent to try and get booked on the next flight out (despite it throwing off our plans pretty severely) and hoping that we wouldn’t be charged a change fee.

Upon talking to the agent, she pleasantly told us that it was no big deal, that there are many people who forget their I.D. and that she thinks we should be able to get on the flight with no issue. Recognizing that we didn’t have a lot of time to get to the gate because we still had to deal with the TSA, she also made a note on our boarding passes that we could take the Business Priority Line through security. This made my day.

She proceeded to tell us that if we did miss the flight, to go back to her and she would simply book us on the next flight, no extra charge, yet another wonderful gesture on behalf of JetBlue. Her giving us access to the priority lane turned out to be a blessing because for 5:00am in SLC, the security line was enormous. I have flown out of SLC for years and have never seen security this long, ever.

My wife and I were able to get through security without an issue because we had our I.D.s, but my sister had to go through an intense screening where some office in D.C. was called and they asked her about personal info that only she would know (which is scary to know that the TSA has access to such private and intimate information).

Needless to say that we made it just in time to get to our gate and we made our flight to LGB. Were it not for such a flexible and hardworking ticketing agent who got us through the priority security line, we never would have made it in time. This reinforced my belief that when agents do their job–help passengers–the experience turns from nightmare to a wonderful experience.

Thank you JetBlue and SLC ticket agent from Feb. 16, 2012!

$100 Bribe to Ticket Agent Allows Unknown Package to Fly on JetBlue

JetBlue ERJ-190 (N238JB) "Blue CLipper"

JetBlue ERJ-190 (N238JB) "Blue Clipper"

Although millions of dollars are spent on airline security each year in the United States, it only took $100.00 for a JetBlue ticket agent to allow a unknown package to go onto a flight, coming from an unknown person.

On November 19, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was at Charlotte Douglas Airport testing out JetBlue’s security. Their goal was to try and get an unaccompanied package onto a flight headed to Boston and unfortunately, they succeeded. An undercover TSA agent told a JetBlue ticket agent that he needed to get a package to Boston that day and would pay the agent $100.00 for helping. The agent took the $100, put it in his pocket and proceeded to follow the unknown person’s instructions. The ticket agent chose a passenger’s name at random, which just happened to be an unaccompanied minor, and the package went through the screening process with no problems. Although the package was harmless, the TSA pulled the package just before being loaded onto the aircraft.

“That’s really alarming,” Anthony Amore, a former high-ranking TSA official at Logan Airport told a local Boston CBS station. “When you have multiple layers in place you hope that they all stand in the way of a terrorist or someone who wishes us harm. In this instance, many of the layers were cast aside and we were left with this one layer of checked baggage screening.”

When the local station asked the TSA for a comment, they were told, “While we cannot comment on the specifics of an open investigation, TSA can assure travelers that, like checked baggage, every package tendered at the airline counter is screened for explosives.” JetBlue confirmed that they are “fully cooperating with the TSA’s investigation” and “the involved crew member is no longer employed at JetBlue.”

I do not share this story to cause additional security-related fear, nor do I want to “teach the terrorists” how to commit crimes against passengers. I share it, since I think it shows how spending so much money on the front door of airline security and so little attention on the back is a big mistake. Although JetBlue is partly to blame for training issues, this could have happened with almost any airline. They just happened to have a bad-seed-employee in the wrong place at the wrong time. Currently, the TSA is not talking about how often they conduct these sorts of tests and how often they get a package through.

Sadly, this story is just one of many that place many questions on back-door airport security. At the same exact airport, just a few days earlier, a teenager was able to sneak onto the airport secured area, illegally board a US Airways aircraft without being caught (unfortunately, he died en-route). There is also the story of the pilot who pointed out that airport security workers could by-pass security and caused him a lot of grief. Similar stories keep popping up and I have a feeling more will continue to do so. As passengers continue to give up their freedoms and are willing to put up with many annoyances to fly, while at the same time seeing how porous the security is behind the scenes, people will take note and demand for change.

Image: kenjet

Domestic Dispute Results in Pilot Threatening to Crash Plane

The nose of a Jetblue Airbus A320

The nose of a Jetblue Airbus A320

Ah, a fight with the significant other. Coming up with a good argument to prove your point is always key. Threatening to crash a plane you will be flying with people aboard is NOT ok.

A JetBlue pilot flying out of Logan Airport in Boston was questioned by the FBI after he sent an email to his girlfriend threatening to crash his plane, if she would not reconcile their relationship. A search of his phone showed that he did send the email and he is currently at a Boston area hospital for psychiatric evaluation.

Bryan Baldwin, manager of corporate communications for JetBlue, wrote in an email to WBZ-TV, “At no point were any customers or aircraft in danger. We are working closely with Boston authorities to ensure our crew member receives appropriate medical attention.”

Most likely just an empty threat, but one that is being taken very seriously.

Image: sfphotocraft

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Airline Livery of the Week: JetBlue’s 10th Anniversary

JetBlue celebrates their 10th anniversary with a special livery.

JetBlue celebrates their 10th anniversary with a special livery.

Happy 10th Birthday to JetBlue. To celebrate, the airline painted one of their Airbus A320′s in a special livery. Normally the JetBlue livery has unique tails with the rest of the fuselage being the same on all aircraft. This celebration was too big to just stay on the tail and the 10′s go up to the wings.

Dave Barger, JetBlue’s CEO said, “since 2000, we have succeeded in building a new airline category that focuses on friendly service, free snacks and drinks, comfortable leather seating with ample legroom and complimentary satellite radio and live TV on personal seatback screens. We look forward to our next 10 years and thank all of our loyal customers and crewmembers for an incredible decade.”

JetBlue is based out of New York with a fleet of about a fleet of 150 Airbus A320′s and Embraer E-190′s. They are known for providing free satellite TV, XFM radio and unlimited free snacks.

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Image: NYCAviation