JetBlue is switching to a new reservation system so you won't be able to check in online, check your flight status or change your itinerary for 24 hours beginning at noon Friday, according to a report Thursday morning from The Associated Press. And if that weren't bad enough, you won't be able to book travel at all during that period.
The airline has taken steps to ease the transition and minimize passenger stress, including the removal of 56 flights from the weekend schedule and booking flights to only 30 - 60 percent capacity.
Still, those flying should expect longer lines at the airport. The switch, which has been in the planning stage for two years now, might cause delays, so the airline is recommending travelers arrive at least 2 hours before a domestic flight on Friday, Saturday and Sunday -- and passengers should allow 3 hours before an international flight.
JetBlue, which is always my first-choice airline, has in my experience always had exemplary customer service. They're generous with their snacks (always important) and the TrueBlue mileage program is easy to use. I flew to Nashville during the February 2007 snowstorm debacle, and though passengers were stranded at JFK -- some for 24 hours -- the company was doling out free water and diapers in the waiting area.
The airline is promising to rebook any customer who misses a flight due to longer check-in times on the next available flight. They're also staffing an addition 500 customer service reps to take phone calls if the phone lines become overwhelmed.
Why the switch? Can you say "money"? The new system will allow the airline to partner with other carriers that share the new system and make it easier to promote extras during the reservation process.
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