DELAYED AT THE AIRPORT FOR THREE DAYS

February 5, 2023

DELAYED AT THE AIRPORT FOR THREE DAYS

 

We were delayed at the Colombian airport for three days due to the unprofessionalism of the Jet Blue Airlines staff.

The staff kept lying to us about the entire situation. Besides, we were denied reasonable meals and access to communication. This happened while the staff enjoyed themselves at a nearby VIP lounge. 

It all began on August 2, 2021, when Jet Blue Airlines flight #1558 was supposed to leave Bogota, Colombia at 10:15 am, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 

Unfortunately, 35 minutes after boarding the airplane, we were informed that the airplane developed a technical hitch, and that it was going to be checked out by technicians. At 12:00 pm, we were told to disembark from the airplane.

As soon as we were off the airplane we were placed on buses to take us to an underground gate which was far from other gates. Once we got to the isolated gate by bus, things started getting worse. Every hour, they would push the departure time further by one hour. By 2:00 pm we asked for lunch and were only offered bag of ships and a small bottle of water. Meanwhile, the cabin crew was enjoying a full buffet at the El Dorado VIP lounge with leather chairs, internet, T.V., and endless servings of coffee and sodas. One of the passengers took a picture that illustrates the contrast. 

At 4:00 pm, we were informed that the mechanics needed a spare part that had to come from Fort Lauderdale and that a new airplane would arrive the next day to take us to the US.  We were then subjected to the process of reversing all immigration process, which is hectic in Colombia. We collected our bags back and proceeded to a near hotel.  Other passengers we not lucky because their COVID tests which are required to enter the US had expired that afternoon. Therefore, they had to go to a nearby laboratory to wait for two more hours and re-do their test. Most of us got to the hotel at 7:00 pm. At 7:30 pm, we had our first and only meal of the day. Until then, we had an opportunity to communicate to our relatives and bosses that the flight had been canceled. It is worth noting that the Colombian in ground crew never offered us internet access or any mechanism to make phone calls to communicate the cancellation. Instead, they ordered us to be at the airport the next day at 7:30 am to catch the new flight that to the US. 

On the second day, most of us arrived on time following all instructions. We got to the gate and by 9:15 am they announced that the flight would be delayed until 1:00 pm on Tuesday, August 3.  It is at that point when we all started to raise our complaints to managers from Jet Blue and the airport authorities. Again, the crew intentionally kept us at the underground gate away from other gates. 

By 1:00 pm, we were surprised to be informed that the pilot’s working visa had just expired so he could not fly. We were also informed that the airplane that was sent to rescue us had already left with other passenger and approximately 30 empty seats. 

Once again, we were denied lunch. By 3:00 pm the passengers got really upset and demanded clear, honest answers.  Accordingly, the passengers got together and decided to leave the underground gate to present our situation to the public. We got together and started documenting all the abuse from the airline. Right away by 3:30 pm, we were ordered to quickly board the broken-down plane. Surprisingly, when we reached the plane, the pilot sent us back and told us the plane was not fixed and that he had not issued any order. We were taken back to the underground gate. We came to realize later that the quick boarding was only an attempt to prevent us from making our complaints to the public. What provoked us more is that the flight was full of babies and senior citizens in wheel chairs. 

The security staff laughed at us as we got back to the underground gate. It was at that time when Aero Civil, the Colombian airport authority, showed up and gave us options to rebook the flight through a different airline or to go through the entire process again and get on the next day’s flight. 

Consequently, on the third day, we were finally able to board the flight and reach our final destination. It was the worst experience any passenger would ever wish to have.  

 

 

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