Good news for JetBlue fliers, I think. The mystery surrounding “Controllable Irregularity” has now officially been solved. Thanks to Flight Wisdom for noticing that JetBlue has put up their new contract of carriage (PDF) which not only includes the Customer Bill of Rights but it even defines Controllable Irregularity. So what does it mean?
Controllable Irregularity as used in Section 36, means a delay, cancellation, or diversion that is not caused by Force Majeure Event. For the sake of clarity, if in a chain of multiple events, the original irregularity is due to a Force Majeure Event, the cause of the subsequent event(s) reasonably related to the original irregularity shall be deemed an Uncontrollable Irregularity.
Oh man. Now we have to define Force Majeure Event and Uncontrollable Irregularity. Here’s Force Majeure Event.
Force Majeure Event mean an event(s) outside of JetBlue’s reasonable control and includes, but is not limited to, weather conditions; acts of government or airport authorities (e.g., Air Traffic Control Delays, runway closures, airport construction); acts of God, U.S. military or airlift emergency or substantially expanded U.S. military airlift requirements, as determined by the U.S. government; grounding of a substantial number of aircraft as a result of activation of the U.S. Civil Reserve Air Fleet; strikes or labor unrest; civil commotions, embargoes, wars or other hostilities, whether actual, threatned or reported; government regulation, demand or requirement; damage to aircraft caused by a third-party; emergency situation reuiring care, protection or response to protect person or any event that is not resonably foreseen, predicted or anticipated by JetBlue.
And if you can still see straight, here’s Uncontrollable Irregularity, which is mercifully short.
Uncontrollable Irregularity, as used in Section 36, means a delay, cancellation or diversion that is caused by a Force Majeure Event.
Soooooo, what does that mean again? Basically it’s what we thought it meant. The good news is that I don’t have to change my graphic. I think military coups are covered under “wars or other hostilites” or possibly “civil commotions” whatever that means. Dinosaur attacks, well, they aren’t specifically mentioned in there, but it’s definitely out of JetBlue’s control so that would also be a Force Majeure Event – meaning you get no moolah from the Blue people.
Remember, the whole Controllable Irregularity thing only applies cancellations and departure delays. The whole ground delay thing that occurred at JFK on Valentine’s Day would be covered regardless of cause, just like any other long ground delay.
Looking at the official Customer Bill of Rights, there are a couple subtle changes here from the original doc. One in particular is disturbing. If you are entitled to a refund, you don’t get any taxes and fees back. That can add up to a pretty significant chunk of the ticket, so it’s going to be a nice slap in the face to the inconvenienced customer.
In general, JetBlue has kept their legal obligations pretty light here. Whether people are satisfied or not will lie completely in the execution of the agreement. My guess is that JetBlue is going to be overcompensating since that’s their culture and they know they have a lot riding on their customer service right now. If that’s not the case, the media will be sure to let us hear all about it.