The New Best Travel Story Ever (JetBlue, Big BUF)

I’ve been known for my #traveltweets for a while now. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, I love ‘em. So if you follow me on twitter, you’re just going to have to sacrifice some screen real estate when I go on a trip… which I do often. But this is the best one yet.

Glossary / Exposition

JetBlue - a low cost/best service carrier in the United States

Big BUF - Buffalo/Niagara International (flights to Canadia) Airport. Where even the JetBlue staff is unhappy. And the airport code is indeed BUF.

Silver Line Hell Time - The silver line of the MBTA is a fantastic idea - a gas/electric bus that takes you from Logan Airport to South Station (a main commuter hub of the city) in 15 minutes. Unless the tourists get in your way! It stops at all terminals and every passenger has to pay at the front door with CharlieCards, or CharlieTickets, or cash, none of which tourists know how to use (how hard is it to put cash into a machine?). So the bus sits at each of the 4 terminals for crazy amounts of time, then finally proceeds to South Station.

Massport - the people that are in charge of Logan Airport (BOS) and some other things.

TrueBlue points - the “airline miles” that I finally used to book my return flight from big BUF

My return flight was scheduled for 3:25 pm from BUF to BOS.

Good story, bro

Here we go.

Part 1: I took a bus, train, train, and shuttle bus to Logan and flew to Buffalo. And it was so boring and uneventful (even though the T got me there twice as fast as expected) that I barely tweeted about it.

Part 2: The return flight.

So good, it gets a subtitle and a paragraph break.

I get to the airport an hour before the flight (only n00bs arrive earlier) Check in, through security, and sitting at the gate at 2:45. At 3 pm, boarding time, the flight from Boston lands at our gate, right on schedule. The passengers unload. Intercom:

“I’m going to be honest with you. Unfortunately indicators in the cabin show problems with the landing gear. There is a ground repair crew on the way to diagnose the problem. But they won’t have an update for 30 to 45 minutes.”

For those counting along at home, that means we’ll figure out if the gear will be fixed after we should have alrready departed. Woot.

3:25: no update.

4:00: no update

4:15: “I’m going to be honest with you…” (thanks for the constant honesty)

The repair people are not sure what’s wrong with the gear and the plane can’t leave the gate until it’s fixed. That’s all we know. If you have any further questions or want us to do something for you, like rebook you or something, come form a line at the desk and we’ll do what we can.

I JUMP! And it’s too late. Line has 20 people in it already. Any chance of getting rebooked is gone. Unless… Everybody look to the left. Everybody look to the right… No, back left. There’s another JetBlue gate. Go figure. And an attendant at the desk. And only one group in front of him (the people that were sitting right next to me a few minutes before). I ask them, “what’s up? What did he say?”

There’s another flight, but it only has one spot on it. And there are four of us… Oh wait, you’re by yourself right?! Oh but they can’t get the luggage in time. Oh wait!? Do you have luggage?

Ha, luggage? I think I already covered the n00b section. Of course not. So I turn to the gate guy:

I heard there’s a flight to somewhere at some time with one seat left on it? I’ll take it. I don’t have luggage.

Click click, type type. “Hurry up, give me your boarding pass or you’re gonna miss it.” Me:

Me: So uh, where is this flight going?

Desk guy: To Boston. Direct. 5pm. Gate 11. Here you go!

#win. Good story right?

But wait, there’s way more

We took off on time at 5 pm, putting me 1h30m behind schedule (what schedule?). Landed in Boston, and decided to have dinner with @ryandawidjan and @lifeoffbi in Kendall Square. That means Silver Line Hell Time (see glossary), But Massport is running a trial where they pay for everyone’s fares on the silver line to reduce traffic. So 20 minutes of the “15 minute ride” was shaved off! Oh and I got a free transfer to the red line at South Station (because I already paid, right? Thanks Massport!)

Then I sat in Kendall square, continuing the game of iPhone monopoly that I started as the plane landed. Then I proceeded to lose that game of monopoly.

While I was waiting for Ryan and Fan for dinner, I got lots of Kayak text alerts

B6 #1216 delayed 3hr 50min

B6 #1216 delayed 4hr 10min

B6 #1216 delayed 4hr 50min

B6 #1216 cancelled

As if I wasn’t already extactic that I’m in Kendall Square and not big BUF with a dead laptop battery.

And still more

Tonight (a little over 24 hours later), I get an email from JetBlue. Have I mentioned how much I love JetBlue?

Subject: Apology from JetBlue


Dear JOHN P III GESIMONDO, We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience you experienced on JetBlue Flight #1216. We understand how challenging it is when your travel plans are disrupted.

According to our Customer Bill of Rights, we have issued each person on this flight a service credit in the amount of $50. In addition, as a gesture of apology and goodwill, we have issued each person on this flight a service credit in the amount of the one-way fare paid (excluding taxes and fees). Note: If you’re traveling on a TrueBlue award, you will receive a $100 service credit.

The credits will be placed in your JetBlue Travel Bank and may be used anytime during the next 12 months for another JetBlue flight. You will receive two separate emails, within the next two weeks, regarding each of your service credits. If you do not receive the emails with the details of your credits, please call us within two months at 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583) and have your confirmation number available in order to get information on how to find and use your credit. If you are a JetBlue Getaways customer, please call 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583) option #3 for assistance.

Our goal is to offer you the best in air travel. We look forward to welcoming you onboard again and giving you a renewed JetBlue experience.


Justin Thompson

Director, Customer Support

JetBlue Airways

The flight from BUF to BOS would have cost $50. But I used TrueBlue points. :) Which means I get a flat $100 credit. Plus the other $50. Do the math:

For ~$50 worth of points earned by doing what I like to do anyway (travel), I received $150 of future travel credit on my favorite airline and a flight back home 1.5 hours later. And this story.

Now that’s a #win.