A Virginia family stranded at the airport in Salt Lake City after what appears to be extremely poor travel planning as well as their reliance on JetBlue’s “Buddy” fares has finally been able to travel home but not before they were subjected to an embarrassing, unplanned extended stay in the airport.
While the stranded Virginia family story highlights some of the issues with un-guaranteed travel plans, it is also one of the rare viral incidents that isn’t one in which an airline behaves in an unexpected and horrible way and inconveniences travelers.
The Saxton family were able to secure the special fares thanks to a friend or relative who works for JetBlue, one who is probably kicking themselves for the offer right now. How it works is that when all passengers, high and low-priority as well as standbys, are seated, the remaining seats, if any, are offered to the people who have received “Buddy” fares.
The Saxton family embarked on a vacation using the fares for the four of them but, at the peak of the busy summer travel season, encountered booked flight after booked flight, continually falling off the lists of passengers at the last minute.
After six days stranded at the airport, parents Curtis and Nicole and kids Dominic and Sadee were still stuck in one spot, without a place to sleep or shower and subsisting on the one meal a day they were able to afford. Their boy, 4, was even seen by paramedics after falling into ill health, and the child told reporters he was “hungry, hungry, hungry, hungry!”
Eventually, the family’s plight was featured on the news, and a good samaritan identified only as “Sue” donated $2,400 to fly the Saxtons back to their native Virginia. The night before the flight, United Airlines — not the airline they were scheduled to fly on — donated a hotel room so the family could shower and change.
JetBlue acknowledged the situation but was unable to decline to accomodate passengers that had paid for their fares in favor of ones with discounted, unconfirmed tickets. On one hand, it’s easy to sympathize with the family’s plight, but, on the other, it’s also frustrating to watch kids be subject to a humiliating situation due to poor planning and hopes that everything will work out okay.
Do you think the situation has reflected unfairly on JetBlue for offering the Buddy fare incentive?