DALLAS: JetBlue Airways Corp. will install around 150 computer terminals at its main New York airport to allow passengers to seek refunds or rebook cancelled flights during major disruptions.
The move is part of the carrier’s plan to ease the strain on reservation offices as it recovers from 1,102 cancellations, or about a third of its total flights, following a 14 February ice storm. New York-based JetBlue declined to provide a cost for the terminals.
“Instead of standing in line or calling reservations, you can go straight to a terminal and, with very few clicks, get a refund or credit or automatically book on the next flight,” chief executive officer David Neeleman said.
JetBlue initially will install the terminals at John F Kennedy International Airport, spokeswoman Jenny Dervin said. The airline later may add them at Boston’s Logan or Washington’s Dulles airport, where it has large numbers of flights. No time frame for completing the installations has been revealed.
Poor decisions by mid-level managers, a communications breakdown, and reservation and airport-operations staffs that were overwhelmed by more than 130,000 affected customers extended JetBlue’s problems beyond a normal recovery time, Neeleman said.
The airline said it will spend at least $30 million (Rs6,606 crore) on travel vouchers, refunds and operating costs for the six days of cancellations. The spending will result in a wider first-quarter loss and reduced profit in 2007.
Shares of JetBlue fell 3 cents to $13.16 on 23 February in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading. The stock has risen 19% in the past 12 months.
JetBlue earlier said it would train more than 900 non-crew employees it can dispatch to help with airport operations and customer service during widespread cancellations. It is also improving ways to communicate with crew members and creating a system to require its 2,000 part-time telephone reservation agents to work full days during similar situations.