JetBlue is a terrific airline to fly on but their JFK operation sucks.
The lines for skycap and bag check were huge this morning. The car dropped me off and I was immediately in a long line at the curb. When I asked a maintenance worker having a smoke what the line I was in was for he said curb check-in, and as I was not checking bags I breezed on by. Several people hollered out that I was cutting in line ahead of them, only to develop a rather pissed off and stupid look on their faces when I told them they were in the skycap line… it’s really amazing to me how people can step into a line for something and not at least ask what it is for.
JetBlue employees are, I have found, helpful and good tempered across the board and JFK was no exception. However, finding an employee was the challenge and it reflects a significant understaffing condition in that hub. Clearly there have been challenges at JetBlue as they struggle with the growth that they have experienced, nowhere is it more clear than at JFK.
Okay, JFK is undergoing a big renovation and it’s just not easy to get around there at the moment, however that doesn’t excuse JetBlue for not putting signs and lane markers to help guide customers to the right point of contact from the minute they hit the curb.
The self-service kiosks are abundant but offer spotty performance. I was unable to check in on the first kiosk I went to, getting instead a "oops we couldn’t do it, you need to see customer service" card, however I made a second attempt on another kiosk and checked in fine. System problems are not uncommon but in this case it could have resulted in one more person in an already long line if I had not tried again.
Perhaps my experience this morning reflects on the growth that JetBlue has experienced and their struggles to stay up with it, however it doesn’t excuse it. There one saving grace is that the employees seem to care and that appeals to customer’s more generous side in willing to put up quite a lot but that doesn’t make it right.
Contrast that to United, which I’m just avoiding flying on whenever possible, and not only are there delays and hassles but the employees generally don’t seem to like dealing with customers, everyone from surly flight attendants to over worked customer service agents dealing with hundreds of passenger connection problems and lost bags. Of course there are always exceptions on a daily basis but I’m not alone in observing that United’s employees are awfully pissed off about what’s happened to that airline, their pensions, and the stock price over the years.
Ironically, the best part of my JFK experience this morning was the TSA security checkpoint, which was well organized, fast, and efficient in spite of a busy terminal. It’s quite a statement when one can say this about TSA.
Tags: JetBlue, United Airlines, UAL, JFK