Several weeks ago we discussed the launch of JetAmerica and their entry into the low-cost carrier market by flying to smaller, underutilized airports. We also mentioned some problems that could potentially spell trouble for the start-up airline. We assumed that JetAmerica and the FAA were on the same page and that the finer details had been worked out to get the airline up and running. That now doesn't appear to be the case.
JetAmerica announced last week that they are "self-imposing a 31-day delay of the launch of its first flights, which were originally scheduled for July 13, 2009 but are now slated to take-off on August 14, 2009".
According to their news release, JetAmerica was advised (through an intermediary) in February 2009 that the FAA could accommodate their Newark operations. After JetAmerica had started selling tickets last month, the airline stated that the FAA notified them that they would have to secure landing and take-off time slots at the Newark Liberty International Airport. Thus a delay for the launch. Who's to blame for this situation? The FAA or JetAmerica for not verifying everything is in order before launching an airline?
The good news? Refunds are being offered. The bad news? If you really needed to get somewhere in the next month, you have to start all over again as your JetAmerica flight is canceled.
For flights between July 13th and August 13th, JetAmerica sent an email to those passengers that their credit card accounts would be fully refunded for any purchased ticket. Furthermore, JetAmerica will encourage those affected customers to rebook a future flight by offering them special incentives. By calling the airline's reservations center, customers affected by the delayed launch will be offfered incentives that include waiving the $10 standard reservations convenience fee, the $10 seat assignment fee, and the $20 fee for checking the first piece of luggage.
JetAmerica has set its revised launch for Friday, August 14th. Included in the news release, JetAmerica's Vice President of Operations, Brian Burling, stated, "People should not be quick to jump to negative conclusions about JetAmerica. I am particularly referring to internet bloggers and naysayers who are predicting the worst."
Uhm. Blogger? . . . Who? . . . Me? . . . Nah. You got the wrong guy. Just an ordinary citizen, passenger, world traveler here who loves to pass along low-fare information to our Airfarewatchdog fans. Interested in seeing an airline fail? No. I've been stranded before and it wasn't fun. Why would I want that to possibly happen to anyone, let alone more JetAmerica passengers?