Unexpected graciousness

I flew on JetBlue last night, and had one of those mildly unfortunate experiences we’ve come to expect in air travel: The plane sat on the tarmac at JFK for a long time waiting for a cleared runway — a bit too long, as it turns out. While we were waiting, the pilot “timed out” — exceeding the amount of time he could spend, under FAA regulations, before taking a break between flights.

This added nearly two hours to the flight time, since we needed to go back to the gate, locate a different pilot, and then wait for all the paperwork to be done. If we had taken off five minutes sooner, we would have saved those two hours.

On the other hand, if our first pilot hadn’t “timed out” while waiting for that runway slot, the plane might have been flown across the country by a very tired pilot. So the way things work out was probably for the best.

I didn’t think much of this at the time. In recent years, air travel has become one long exercise in patience and acceptance of inconvenience. On the way off the plane, I joked about it to the flight attendants — I complimented the airline on providing “the greatest number of pilots I’ve ever had on a flight.”

But then today I got a very nice email from JetBlue apologizing for the inconvenience, and offering a $50 credit toward any future JetBlue flight. So I started investigating on-line, because I was curious to see whether they were obligated to do this.

And no, it turns out they are not. This was just their way of apologizing for customer inconvenience, even though nothing that had happened was actually their fault.

I wish more companies were so gracious to their customers!

Leave a Reply