JetAmerica Delays Launch One Month, Screws Travelers

I don’t know how many of you brave souls actually booked a ticket on JetAmerica, but if you were planning on flying before August 14, it looks like you’re out of luck. I received an email from someone yesterday who JetAmerica Delaywas looking to book a flight at the end of the month on JetAmerica.com, but the flights weren’t for sale. After further review, it appears that all flights between the original launch of July 13 and August 14 are out of the system.

Could this actually be a glitch? I tried to call the reservations line, but I gave up after about 10 minutes or so. I have this picture in my mind of a phone ringing repeatedly at someone’s house, but they had fallen asleep so it just kept ringing. Anyway, Jaunted picked up the story last night, and they did get through. They were told by reservations that it was a server error. Yeah, right.

Anyone know what kind of server error just magically deletes a month of flights but otherwise functions perfectly? That’s what I thought. If the reservations system is to be believed (which I tend to think is more trustworthy than what we’ll get over the phone), August 14 will see the first flights from Newark to Toledo and Lansing as well as from Minneapolis to Toledo. (I wouldn’t bet on that Minneapolis date.) On the 15th, they’ll have their first flights from Melbourne to Lansing and Toledo. On the 16th, we’ll see their first flights from Newark to Melbourne and South Bend. I now have to wonder if anyone will be onboard.

Let’s all recall that this was originally Air Azul. That airline announced plans and then quickly imploded on itself. After John Weikle got involved, the airline became JetAmerica and the routes changed. People were probably already wary about booking after that happened, but they may have figured that with the brains behind Skybus working on this, it would at least get off the ground.

Now with service delayed again, would you even consider booking beyond that date? I know that I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t think about spending a penny until I see an airplane in the air on an actual flight with passengers. Something tells me that the chances of that actually happening has just dropped dramatically.

If you were booked on JetAmerica before August 14, I would call their reservations line right now and demand a refund. Of course, if they keep insisting that it’s a server error, well, you may have to wait. The good news about public charters is that the money is held in an account until you actually fly, so you should be able to get your money back.

[Original photo from penner42 via Flickr]

Update 7/2 @ 138p – “Server error” my ass. JetAmerica has now sent emails out to booked customers explaining that they can’t get slots in time (they sound very whiny) so everyone booked before Aug 14 will get a refund. I will post the full letter in the comments section soon.

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39 Comments on "JetAmerica Delays Launch One Month, Screws Travelers"

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Nimitz
Guest

I’m shocked – SHOCKED – I tell you. This thing had such promise. Is there a Cranky Jackass Lifetime Achievement Award?

Cue Price is Right horn section, aaaaand roll tape.

dpb
Guest

When covering this in May I had a bad feeling about this airline. I still can’t find a real photo of this plane. The folks over at JetAmerica don’t seem too confident. I am willing to bet the airline won’t ever fly.

And did it always say, “*Sun America, Inc. dba JetAmerica” on its website?

David
http://www.theairlineblog.com

Anon
Guest

Do you know if Alaska has sued them over their name? I would assume Alaska Air Group still retains the right to that name.

The Traveling Optimist
Guest
The Traveling Optimist

Anybody out there caught up in the United ground stop today? I see that as a far larger issue than a half-baked one-off that can’t seem to get off the ground.

Anybody see the articles covering the EASA calling for Airbus to ground the A330/A340 fleet until the speed indicator issue is resolved? Probably way too soon for that kind of action but, again, a MASSIVE potential issue for USAirways and DL/NW, much less the other operators around the world.

JetAmerica? A pebble in the pond where some much larger boulders have dropped recently.

David Parker Brown
Guest

Optimist-

You can find those other stories on almost any other media outlet. I, for one, like to blog more about stuff off the beaten path or a different spin to a well covered story.

I think people who are interested in the airline business get a little excited with the prospect of a new airline and it becomes interesting with the concept it might not fly and the crazy politics that has gone into JetAmerica.

David
http://www.theairlineblog.com

Eric
Guest

I guess they are outsourcing their I.T. to the same outfit in Bangalore UAL uses.

At this point, I dont know if I would feel comfortable buying a walk up ticket 90 min before skd departure…oh wait, I dont hit the heavily traveled Toledo-Newark corridor that much :/

enplaned
Guest

Worth noting that Direct Air, another “indirect air carrier” (ironic given its name) has also recently pulled down a lot of flying. For instance, Allentown to Myrtle Beach was abruptly pulled down as of 7/15.

There doesn’t appear to be a lot of substance to these types of carriers.

Johnny Plane
Guest

Hey Cranky-

I did a test booking on their website and this popped up

” About our fares, taxes and fees
All fares are NON-REFUNDABLE. Fares may be limited; the lowest available fares are displayed based on your flight date selections. Flights may be changed for $50 fee per flight segment. A fare is not confirmed until purchased and a confirmation number is issued.”

So no refunds available.

The Traveling Optimist
Guest
The Traveling Optimist

DPB –

You’re absolutely correct. I agree with your second phrase entirely….a different spin on a well covered story. Cranky has the opportunity with this blog, as he has done many times in the past, to clarify misconceptions, untruths and naive conjecture regarding significant events in the industry. While not an expert on all subjects or even an authorized spokesman I have for the most part found his experienced commentary in that vein to be enlightened and encouraging.

I encourage him to continue in such blog reporting on such matters.

The Traveling Optimist
Guest
The Traveling Optimist
In short, Cranky, you’re a far more reliable and trusted voice than any talking head on the news channels. Help get the word out to allay fears and counter media speculation and hysteria. What IS your opinion on the EASA action against Airbus? What IS your opinion regarding United’s issues in a larger sense? What are your thoughts on the 2nd Airbus accident in June? Different model but Airbus has famously recycled that airframe ever since the A300 came on to the market. Thank you for doing what you do. This is your blog and you’re entitled to write as… Read more »
David
Guest

Haha, you know CF I think I would actually like to see you do an airline news blog.

* United: If you’re flying, there will be delays. Good luck.
* Yemenia: A310 went down. That aircraft has nothing in common with the A330.

You get family and friends calling, emailing you whenever a big airline-related story happens?

David SF eastbay
Member
Did you see the June 29 interview with John Weikle in Travel Weekly? TW: Given what happen with Skybus, why do you think you’ll be able to succeed now? John Weikle: Skybus actually was a successful start. We had 80% of our seats sold. But the airline never ran on time. The planes were late 49% of the time. They canceled flights daily. We’re trying to avoid that this time by hiring Miami Air. That’s what we’re doing differently, We’re hiring experienced flight crews. — TW: By the same token, this is the second time that your backers have attempted… Read more »
David Parker Brown
Guest

HAHA! Can’t blame server issues anymore, so now it is slot issues.

Jay
Guest

Why would they rush into business like that without getting all their ducks in a row? Why did they have to sell tickets RIGHT NOW? What’s the bug hurry? Get everything set up. Confirm. Sell tickets.

Who ARE these people?

David Parker Brown
Guest

Jay-

Ever see The Producers? I can’ t help but think of it when I think of JetAmerica. :)

Dan
Guest

CF,

Care to add some insight on the “Indirect Air Carrier” issue? I’ve been around the industry for several years and have never heard that one.

Allen
Guest

While I agree there is reason to be skeptical, I see no concrete reason to actually believe this is anything except a technical issue. While it probably isn’t, there are a wide variety of technical issues and events that could have caused this. How it gets translated into English by customer support could very well be “server error”.

SmartCarte Thief
Guest

To my knowledge, an “indirect air carrier” refers to freight forwarders, secondary handlers, etc. Jet America, even operating as a FAR Part 380 through Miami Air, is still a direct air carrier. I could be wrong, but that was always my understanding.

I read an article a few weeks ago that the decision to not serve Rockford had nothing to do with the airport authority not offering subsidies. But apparently the decision to serve TOL, LAN, and SBN does. This is getting shadier than a Nigerian Amway salesman.

Wonko Beeblebrox
Guest

The JetAmerica letter is wacky.

eponymous coward
Guest
http://theairlineblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/jetamerica-delays-launch-blames-newark.html “[Jet America VP of Operations Brian] Burling says that the airline has “no immediate plans to change our flight schedules,” saying that “initially, JetAmerica planned to fly 34 weekly flight segments starting on July 13, 2009. On August 14, 2009 the number of flights is still slated to expand to 40 per week.” And, as if to try to head off any ensuing negative press coverage, he said: “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.” Oh, SNAP, Cranky. I guess… Read more »
Dan
Guest
SCT, I never heard of 14 CFR Part 380. But I googled it and looked at some of the definitions. It’s pretty clear that a direct air carrier is an operator who holds its own operating certificate and operates aircraft accordingly. An indirect air carrier is one who operates through another carrier, using that carrier’s certificate. What confuses the heck out of me is that carriers ala Miami Air (they do a lot of professional sports charters) usually operate under a Part 121 Supplemental certificate. Cranky, do you have any insight into JW comments about experienced flight crews as quoted… Read more »
David Parker Brown
Guest

I really hope JetAmerica is successful. Why wouldn’t anyone be? Another airline to blog about. It isn’t like JetAmerica hasn’t done their fairshare to worry bloggers about not only what their intentions are, but how this will all work out.

David SF eastbay
Member

“”””We just found out about this on May 30th……”””””””

Well if they found out on May 30th, it’s to bad JW couldn’t have mentioned in the Travel Weekly June 29th issue interview that there may be a problem starting service.

It’s funny but the interview had a picture of John Weikle and I looked at it and thought would I trust this man, and I thought no.

Well hopefully it’s just a rough start and things will improve later on.

Nate
Guest
Holy @*@#$#$*T%*$ One of the first things I do before launching a schedule is: 1. Get an Airfield Operating Agreement from the Airport 2. Line up gate space/counter space 3. Research operations @ the airport, hell, even spend a few days sitting there and doing nothing but watching (its scary to see all the plane spotters who cream over seeing Shamu – Southwest land, while I’m barely awake and don’t even perk an eyebrow). 4. Review our schedule with all the airports involved. These steps above are all Airline Planning 101: The Basics. It’s funny that when my airline bid… Read more »
David Parker Brown
Guest

I wonder how many of them were $9 tickets. I wouldn’t feel soooo bad if someone lost $9 (well maybe like $15 after taxes/fees) in this deal…

Tom
Guest

Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority CEO Michael J. Stolarczyk, had this to say about the delay:

“We are disappointed to hear about this situation, and our first priority is with our customers here in Toledo. We need to embrace and support JetAmerica and we sincerely appreciate the support of our community. The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority is also trying to mitigate their inconvenience as much as possible. We will see JetAmerica fly in August and beyond.”

trackback

[…] for flights starting July 13 but now says it won’t start flying until Aug. 14, according to The Cranky Flier blog. […]

Nick Barnard
Member

Hmm.. United II strikes again.

Another Tom
Guest
Remember, an airline needs an operating certificate from the DOT (economic authority, management competence) and another from the FAA (safety). An indirect carrier has no DOT certificate, but operates under the provisions of Part 380, which is basically for the purpose consumer protection. The airline actually operating the airplane requires the appropriate FAR 121 authority. EWR didn’t have arrival/departure slots until this year. Is it possible that Jet America’s management thought they didn’t apply to scheduled charters? For the years that LGA and ORD had slots, one couldn’t show up there unannounced. Some old timers remember that when New York… Read more »
fliesfreq
Guest
Please name for me one entrepreneuer who didn’t fail several times before a success? Skybus was a success until Bill Diffenderfer and Ken Gile ran it into the ground. I wonder if some of the big boys at Continental Airlines is pulling on the FAA now requiring Jet America to have slots whereas they were not required to have the slots until late May or early June. DOT CFR 380 rules do not require indirect air carriers likke Jet America to have slots. Why is the FAA changing the rules for JetAmerica? Could Continental or Northwest be out to get… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
I don’t buy it. 1) It should be very clear to any potential Part 380 operator that you need slots to fly into a slot-restricted airport. If the airlines need slots for recurring operations at the same times, why wouldn’t they? 2) It should be even clearer that getting slots after 12pm at EWR was going to be tough. When do most of the delays happen? You guessed it…after 12pm. 3) They are ruining things with regards to Part 380 operators receiving grants. It is already difficult enough because most of these airports do not want to deal with anyone… Read more »
David SF eastbay
Member
So jetamerica is suspending service. Not sure how you can suspend something you haven’t started, but we get the idea. Sounds like they may come back with a new plan and new cities, but who is going to trust them. Guess that will mean a new name to fool the public. I feel bad for people who thought they had jobs and now are out of work, and for those that thought they would see some airline service their city needed. Here’s part of the write up Ben Mutzabaugh wrote for USA Today in the Sky: The airline said in… Read more »