JetBlue Cancels Flights, To Present 'Bill of Rights'

JetBlue CEO and founder David Neeleman.
JetBlue CEO and founder David Neeleman.

After canceling nearly a quarter of its weekend flights, JetBlue said Monday that it will extend widespread cancellations, but said it plans to announce its own customer "Bill of Rights" after facing severe criticism from a Valentine's Day ice storm that snarled operations at its main hub in New York.

JetBlue said 23 percent of its flights to 11 cities were cancelled Monday, but that it expects its operations to be back on track as of Wednesday.

As a result of last Wednesday's storm, some passengers spent up to eight hours in planes stranded on runways at John F. Kennedy International Airport, unable to take off due to the weather and unable to return to terminals because of insufficient open gates.

Hundreds of passengers sat in planes that were sometimes not heated, that ran out of food and had no clean toilets.

During the following two days, JetBlue said it was canceling 17 percent to 27 percent of its scheduled flights "in order to help reset the airline's operation."

It continued that strategy over the weekend, when it canceled 23 percent of flights.

The company cited "further operational constraints at JFK, including a one-runway operation on Feb. 15, which resulted in long delays that flowed into Feb. 16.

A company spokesperson reiterated JetBlue's apology to its customers Monday, saying "what happened last Wednesday was totally unacceptable."

JetBlue CEO David Neeleman is expected to announce the company's own "Customer Bill of Rights" on Tuesday, which is expected to outline both self-imposed penalties and "major" rewards for its passengers if it experiences operational problems and cannot adjust to weather-related cancellations in a "reasonable" amount of time.

JetBlue declined to provide any further details on the program prior to Neeleman's announcement.

Gone from JetBlue's Monday schedule - representing 23 percent of the airline's flights - are 11 destinations: Austin and Houston, Texas; Charlotte, N.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Jacksonville, Fla.; Nashville, Tenn.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Portland, Maine; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; and Bermuda.

Speaking Thursday with CNN, JetBlue CEO and founder David Neeleman apologized for the cancellations and offered to reimburse passengers for the price of their tickets.

Story courtesy of CNN Newsource and CNN Money.