Cancellations of Spirit, JetBlue flights continue Monday
It was a bad weekend for travel from Florida with more than 3,500 flights canceled Friday, Saturday and Sunday and hundreds more on Monday.
JetBlue, Southwest, Alaska Airlines, Frontier, Spirit and American Airlines had the most canceled flights on Saturday and Sunday, according to FlightAware. JetBlue and Spirit canceled one-third of Sunday's scheduled flights.
“Severe weather in the Southeast and multiple air traffic control delay programs have created significant impacts on the industry,” a JetBlue spokesperson said in an email. “Sunday’s cancellations will help us reset our operation and safely move our crews and aircraft back into position.”
Southwest Airlines also blamed an unspecified "technology issue" for the cancellation of 1,000 flights.
Spirit Airlines on Monday morning did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for more information.
The cancellations continued on Monday for Spirit with 223 canceled flights and 137 flights canceled by JetBlue as of 11 a.m. according to FlightAware.com. American and Southwest had only a few dozen canceled fights each.
'They should be ashamed of themselves'
Sally Jane Smith, owner of Travelsmiths in Point Pleasant Borough said the cancellations were "outrageous." She said she helped clients all weekend make alternate travel arrangements.
"They should be ashamed of themselves and they're not going to be giving things back to clients. I am very angry," Smith told New Jersey 101.5.
One client, a family of five including a baby, wound up spending $2,700 for new flights to get them from Cancun to Philadelphia after their initial flight to Newark was canceled by JetBlue.
Smith isn't buying the explanations of thunderstorms.
"Bulls**t," Smith said. "It was mechanical, it's pilots, they don't have the staff ... Make it only three flights to go to Florida instead of seven. The bottom line is unemployment is down. Why aren't they hiring more people? It's a lot of smoke and mirrors. It's been crushing our industry."
Smith said she is also helping clients rebook and find new flights without earning a penny in commission.
"I look at my day Sunday. All I did was protect clients," Smith said.
Bad end to a senior class trip
One of those affected was the Pineland Regional High School Class of 2022 whose JetBlue flight home was canceled on Friday. A parent said that the travel agent who booked the trip contacted the CEO of Jet Blue directly to get a charter flight out of Orlando.
Central Regional Superintendent Tommy Parlapandies helped arrange five buses to pick up 170 members of the class and chaperones at Newark Liberty on Saturday.
"My head of transportation Barbara Sargeant is the best and my bus drivers are awesome and I'm glad they were able to help out. They really came through," Parlapandies told New Jersey 101.5. "Anytime anyone needs help they always come through."
Joe Kelly contributed to this report.
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