JetBlue Complaint - Not Doggy Friendly - JetBlue Check-In = No Integrity
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA -- On December 18, 2008 I was scheduled to depart San Diego to Seattle, WA with Spencer Evans and our two dogs on flight #276. We had purchased 2 rounds trip tickets for our dog the same day we ordered our tickets to assure our dogs would be able to fly. We have flown with ours dogs multiple times on American, Alaskan and United with tremendous service and kindness to our dogs. With our love of JetBlue and the new pet policy we figured this would be the ideal situation for both the dogs and us.
We arrived at the airport via taxi since we would be in Seattle for 10 days and did not want to leave out car – It was $45, but an expected expense. With close to 2 hours until our flight we are waiting in line to check in – dogs on leashes and ready to get into the bags. At Check-in we are addressed by Francis a customer service representative who tells us that one of our boston terriers is far to fat and has to be weighed. We pop adorable Dude on the scale and sure enough he is 26 lbs. We knew he was chubby, but it was never a problem with any other airlines. We were told we would not be able to fly since Dude was 6 lbs over weight- 6 POUNDS!!! Francis then tells us our other Boston Terrier is also to big- she weighed 20.5 lbs. We are both flabbergasted that we are being told we cannot take them on the plane. After Francis continues to tell us Dude is too fat and cannot fly due to TSA requirements, we point out TSA does not have a weight limit on Alaska, American or United. Instead, the dogs just have to fit comfortably in the TSA approved Sherpa bag that will slide under the seat in front of us. Francis continues to become ruder and ruder as shes speaks with us and says that she won't do anything and can't do anything since 6 lbs of dog is a safety concern.
Francis then proceeds to grab her manager- he comes out 15 minutes later and yells at us for not reading the legal information for JetBlue which requires a dog to be under 20 lbs which includes the weight of the bag. He is also extremely rude to each myself and Spencer.
I ask both Francis and the manager if we could pay an extra fee for Dude and Fiona- in turn paying for 2 additional dogs ($200 total for the one way ticket for each). Since Francis told us no other dogs were on the flight, we thought this was ok. Francis also told us the Pilot could approve the dogs flying, but refused to contact him or tells us how we could get approval else where.
Not 10 minutes later Francis steps away to help another customer leaving us waiting. The women checking in is bringing along her 3 year old daughter who weighed at least 30 lbs- but paid nothing for her daughter since she was riding on her lap. To me, this is a safety hazard for the child and extra weight to the plane that is not being paid for –
I must pay an extra $200 round trip per dog and pay additional dollars for extra bags and overweight bags, but a 3 year old is free. Not only is this ridiculous, but it is something I have alerted TSA to look into.
We talk with Francis for another 30 minutes to come up with other ideas how our dogs could fly. She suggests we call a psychologist and lie to get the doctor to sign that Dude is an emotional pet. Not only is she asking us to lie, but she is not helping the current situation. The manager leaves us and refuses to talk with Spencer and I again.
Francis’ only other idea is to try to get the dogs to ride in cargo on American. She suggests we go buy two $200 crates for each dog- we now have 40 minutes until our flight, and not enough time to even book the dogs, let alone pay and hop on our own flight. To make matters worse, Francis tells us this should be fine, even though America is not currently flying dogs in cargo since Seattle is below freezing. She says it should warm up soon and American can just keep the dogs in the crates until they can fly. Needless to say- the weatherman has predicted that Seattle will not warm up above freezing (or even 25 degrees) in 10 days. Francis tells us that is not her concern and that we should have paid attention to the details. She hands me the phone to try try to reach United or American to book and the dogs and tells us she would “try to get us on another flight.” Her trying consisted of walking away from the check-in counter and proceeding to help someone else.
After realizing we were going to miss out flight anyway, and dealing with extremely rude JetBlue service, that we would drive from San Diego to Seattle. Not only were we visiting for Christmas, we were also interviewing with several companies- all interviews had to be cancelled since we would not arrive on time. We took another $45 taxi home and packed the car and started to drive to Seattle.
Both Francis and her manager did not realize the danger, struggles and future JetBlue dollar losses of their actions - all because of an irrelevant 6 pounds. I would understand charging for additional weight, or if their was a weight requirement on the plane where each person could only take X additional pounds and each passenger could only weigh X amount for safety, but that is not the issue. I understand the more weight, the more fuel is used, but that is why we said we would pay additional dollars to cover the 6 lbs that would sooooo drastically affect the fuel consumption.
Never have a dealt with such rude customer service of any airlines, especially in a time when the airlines are struggling so much to get customers. We have already alerted family and friends who have pets to not fly JetBlue. In addition, I will continue to tell my company who flies from San Diego to New York and Boston monthly to fly with another company. We did receive a refund, but minus the $100 change fee per ticket, but it cost us nearly an additional $800 in gas, over 49 hours of traveling, 2600 miles to the car, 2 missed interviews and missed job opportunities.... all for 6 lbs!
Perhaps you will tell me that Francis was just doing her job and following rules, but it was her rudeness and telling us to lie that showed she did not have integrity, she was just trying to make some innocent travelers lives hell.
Needless to say- we drove to Seattle- it took over 26 hours due to the terrible snow and ice. We survived and told everyone our story.