BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — In the past month, hundreds of JetBlue travelers have expressed frustration on canceled flights around the country.
7 Problem Solvers heard from a Pittsburgh passenger diverted to New York's JFK Airport, before her final destination in Miami. It put her trip back 30 hours. Travelers getting to Buffalo from Boston and Fort Lauderdale also had cancellations.
"Airlines are having a rough time keeping up," said ABC News Transportation Correspondent Gio Benitez to 7 Problem Solvers Michael Schwartz. From his national coverage on this issue, he reports JetBlue is cutting 8-10% of flights during the busy summer ahead.
According to FlightAware.com, from March 31 to April 9 JetBlue canceled its 9:40 PM flight from Fort Lauderdale to Buffalo 50% of the time. On four occasions, the flight was delayed but not canceled.
This past weekend, JetBlue and Spirit airlines canceled more than 600 flights. Other airlines have also had cancellations for a rough take-off in April.
"We ended up driving," explained Michael Culeton, of Buffalo. He recently went to Fort Lauderdale, but couldn't get back home to Buffalo after JetBlue canceled his flight.
"First it was delayed an hour," said Culeton. Then he said the flight was canceled entirely 20 minutes before takeoff.
"They were nice, but [JetBlue airport staff] couldn't offer any options," explained Culeton. "They offered no hotel vouchers, they offered no rental car vouchers, they offered no additional flight vouchers."
Culeton said he was given a $100 voucher, but canceled his flights he was supposed to take in May. He booked through Delta, but said he just doesn't have confidence in airlines right now.
"Michael it's not just the airlines," said Benitez. "You also have air traffic control towers. So you have air traffic control issues, you have staffing issues at airlines too and then you have weather, and some of these airlines are having a really tough time keeping up.
Benitez said it's also poor logistics on top of everything else.
"Critics have said that some of these airlines have planned poorly, and in some cases have planes in wrong places," explained Benitez. "So when you're talking about bad weather, and having planes in wrong places, then you're going to also have issues with cancelations."
JetBlue sent 7 Problem Solvers Michael Schwartz this statement after the chaotic cancellations in one weekend:
After a number of tough operating days this week that began with severe weather challenges and air traffic control delays up and down the east coast, we are continuing to work to minimize impacts to our customers. Despite hiring more than 3,000 new crewmembers already this year, like many businesses, we remain staffing constrained and these disruptions exacerbate an already challenging staffing situation. In order to get our operation back on track this week and provide additional recovery options for the potential of additional April weather events, we cancelled some flights this weekend and will be making a small schedule adjustment through the rest of the month. We sincerely apologize to our customers for these disruptions, and we are working to cancel flights in advance whenever possible so they have time to adjust their plans and do not need to show up to the airport.While we believe April will continue to be challenging, we are bringing on hundreds of new crewmembers each week as we prepare for summer travel. We have also reduced our schedule from May through the summer. Given we anticipate continued industry challenges and heavy demand into the summer, we are planning more conservatively and trying to be proactive where we can with cancellations due to disruptive weather and air traffic control events.
If you have travel troubles, or any consumer issues you want help looking into, email Michael at 7ProblemSolvers@wkbw.com