At earlier than 7AM yesterday, I got up to go to the airport with my mother for a 10:40AM flight from St. Thomas the short distance to San Juan, Puerto Rico. We had hoped to be able to tour around the city of San Juan, which we had never been able to do in our trips there. Alas, that was not to be. How that came not to be is not necessarily the most interesting of tales, but it is the tale I have for you, so here goes.
When my mother and I arrived at the airport, we were among the first people to arrive in what was then an empty airport, seemingly not very busy at all. Oh, how wrong I was. The family in front of us was a family of five that was trying to get, as a great many people were trying to get, to the United States today after a vacation. We were trying to get to Santo Domingo, but had a great many hours and so we were not particularly concerned. While helping my mom with the wheelchair she was in, I managed to pick up a tasty breakfast of chicken noodle soup and a cheese strudel muffin along with some bottled water.
Then commenced a long period of waiting while I drained the power from my cell phone and occasionally sought in vain for places to charge it up somewhat rapidly, as those were rather thin on the ground, and some of the ones, like in our gate, did not work. This is something I have seen a lot of, unfortunately, in St. Thomas, and that is plugs that simply don’t work for one reason or another, which is quite unfortunate. It is such a waste of electrical work, alas.
At any rate, what was at first going to be a wait of about three hours quickly became a wait of more than six hours and then ultimately a wait of seven hours, in the airport in St. Thomas, where some people felt trapped because once they had checked in–even if they were not going to be able to fly on that day–they could not get back out of the airport very easily. While my mother and I went up to pick up our lunch vouchers, which gave us a bit of a deal on some tasty basked chicken and vegetables, while also changing our boarding passes to seats next to each other, we waited some more, as the people around us frantically tried to find ways home in a timely fashion, through whatever connections they could.
At any rate, by the middle of the afternoon we were heading off after the maintenance problems on the plane had been fixed and it had gone to San Juan and then St. Thomas, with the passengers incoming leaving the plane, a hurried cleaning taking place, and then bags and passengers being put on a seriously delayed flight. The flight from St. Thomas to San Juan was short, as one might expect given how close they are, and soon we were on the ground in San Juan. Once we arrived there, we went all through the A Terminal, which was spiffed up from when we were last there during our trip to and from Trinidad, where my mother searched around for stuff while I sat at a plug trying to charge up my phone so that I would be able to show the e-ticket for the Dominican Republic when the time came. It was by no means an easy task, and before too long I heard my name announced and went back to the other side of the airport.
Once we were settled in and had gotten our business taken care of concerning the boarding passes and showing the e-ticket to the gate agent I wheeled my mother around to help her look for sunglasses and then I got dinner. This ended up being harder than I thought, because I got to the food court at 6PM and everything there closed at 6PM. I was hoping to get some chicken but had to settle for a cheeseburger and fries. That’s the way life goes though. When we got back to the gate at around the time we were supposed to be boarding, we found out that there was another delay, this one caused by seventeen passengers who were late coming from Boston, and so we waited for them an hour and then headed off at last to Santo Domingo. The flight was lovely, in the dark, and when we arrived in Santo Domingo at least the delays were over.
As it happens, though, that is not quite the end of it. When I was able to check my e-mail again, I found this reply from JetBlue about the numerous delays that had taken place throughout the day: “
We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience you experienced on JetBlue flight #B61135 on 26JUN2022. Our goal is to offer you the best in air travel and we recognize your experience did not meet that goal.
We understand how challenging it is when travel plans are disrupted. As a gesture of apology, we have issued each eligible customer on this flight a service credit for future travel on JetBlue.
- You will receive an email within seven (7) days with the amount of your service credit and redemption instructions.
- The credit will be placed in your Travel Bank and may be used anytime during the next 12 months toward another JetBlue flight.
We look forward to welcoming you on board again in the future and giving you a renewed JetBlue experience.” Now that is something that merits further thinking, but that will have to remain for another day.