Jet Blue passengers say company ‘held them hostage’ on stranded planes at JFK in night of flight chaos

The company reportedly told passengers it does not provide refunds for weather related delays and cancellations

<p>Jet Blue passengers sleep on the floor outside a Starbucks in JFK International Airport after delays left planes stranded on the tarmac for hours.</p>

Jet Blue passengers sleep on the floor outside a Starbucks in JFK International Airport after delays left planes stranded on the tarmac for hours.

Travelers at JFK International Airport in New York were left furious after they were "held hostage" in JetBlue airplanes that were stuck on the tarmac for hours.

The situation unfolded Sunday night. Delays compounded, and at one point approximately 20 planes were stranded on the tarmac. Some of those planes remained on the tarmac for hours as they could not access a gate.

According to The New York Post, one passenger reportedly urinated in their seat because they could not access a bathroom, and another reportedly had a panic attack.

The affected customers flooded JetBlue with complaints and criticism, alleging that the company refused to cancel its flights until the last minute, exacerbating the delay.

“Been stuck at JFK for 12 hours, no communication no anything and they refuse to cancel the flight basically keeping us hostage for our luggages. Plus your terminal has no pet relief areas ! Not cool @JetBlue,” one traveler wrote on Twitter.

Another customer, Laura Mardkha, said she was left dealing with her crying children all night and saw another passenger fall into a panic attack.

“After a 2 hour delay, we’ve been stuck on the tarmac at JFK for 2.5 hours and have been told there’s no timeline on when we can get off. So far, many screaming children and one passenger had a panic attack,” she wrote. “Gonna need more than just a full refund this time @JetBlue.”

Other passengers accused the company of keeping the travelers locked on the planes for hours to avoid having to pay to house them overnight in hotels.

“I’m convinced @JetBlue kept everyone hostage in JFK long enough that now they don’t have to pay for people to have a hotel,” Anni Stoll, a passenger traveling to Buffalo that night, tweeted. “There are families w babies and we met a kid who was traveling alone like wtf!! :/ it’s so disorganized and we can’t leave who knows where our luggage is!”

Ms Stoll was scheduled to leave at 8pm, but after sitting on the tarmac for an hour she and the other passengers were reportedly told to leave the plane as it had been delayed until 6am the next morning.

Derek Dombrowski, Jet Blue’s corporate communications manager, told The Independent that it was working to remedy the problems that occurred Sunday.

“After this weekend’s heavy snow and freezing temperatures in the northeast, we are focused on safely resuming our flight schedule. We have made good progress in ramping up operations in Boston, LaGuardia and Newark. At JFK, we started operations on Saturday as planned but faced a number of conditions that have slowed the operation down,” he said. “We have combined some flights today to ease those constraints and are working to rebook customers. It normally takes a few days to fully recover when a storm of this size significantly impacts our two largest markets of New York and Boston, and our first priority continues to be restarting safely. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and we are working to get them on their way as quickly as possible.”

More than 75 per cent of JFK’s flights were cancelled on Saturday after winter storm Kenan dumped a foot or more of snow in some parts of New York City the day before.

Customers shared screenshots of text interactions they had with the company’s customer service team. During the conversations, the customer service representatives appear to blame Sunday’s events on the weather.

@JetBlue terrible customer service. You delayed our flight 8x then cancel it as I get to the airport. You have no flights available for Mon so I’m stuck in FL for an extra 2 days with my 3 yr old on top of the original 1 day delay the storm caused,” a customer going by the name @CallmeDelly wrote.

He shared a snippet of his conversation with the Jet Blue customer service representative, who said the company did not provide refunds for weather related events. The customer pointed out that there was no storm on Sunday, but the staffer insisted that there had been “delays all week.”

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