These days, whenever an airline experiences major delays, passengers are quick to take to Twitter and voice their discontent. That much could have been expected when passengers of JetBlue Flight 504 were stuck on the tarmac on Oct. 29 for over seven hours at a Hartford, Conn., airport, after having been diverted there because of dangerous weather conditions. Now the pilots themselves are joining the conversation.
In a conversation posted Oct. 31 on LiveATC.net, a Web site that monitors air traffic control conversations, the captain of plane's flight crew told the tower, “Look, you know, we can't seem to get any help from our own company. I apologize for this, but if there is any way you can get a tug and a tow bar out here to us and get us towed somewhere to a gate or something. I don't care, take us anywhere,” said the captain. "I think we've got more help from you guys than our own people.”
A spokesperson for JetBlue wouldn’t comment Monday about the pilot’s complaints, reports the L.A. Times. "Getting all the flights deplaned at the same time in a small airport is not unlike trying to get an elephant into a smart car; it’s not an easy fit,” said a company blog post on Sunday, Oct. 30. The statement apologized “to those impacted by this confluence of events,” and offered customers fee waivers to change or cancel their flights. In a video posted on the company's blog, JetBlue COO Rob Maruster says, "But let's face it, you can count on us at JetBlue for a lot more."
JetBlue can't be faulted for the brutal weather conditions on Oct. 29. But if a pilot is voicing frustration with his own company while still in the cockpit, it's safe to assume that crisis communications channels are not as open within the company as they need to be.