NEW YORK – JetBlue called off almost a quarter of its flights for Monday but hoped that would be the last round of cancellations as it struggles to recover from the snowstorm that saw some travelers sitting on grounded planes for hours.
The airline had scheduled 600 flights for President's Day, more than the 550 to 575 flights it has on a normal Monday, but 139 of them were canceled, JetBlue announced late Saturday.
The latest cancellations were needed to make sure all flight crews had gotten the legally mandated amount of rest before returning to service, JetBlue Airways Corp. spokesman Sebastian White said Sunday.
"Canceling one more day's operations will really help reset our airline," White said Sunday.
All JetBlue flights were canceled in and out of 11 airports: Richmond, Va.; Pittsburgh; Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Austin and Houston, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Nashville; Portland, Maine; and Bermuda.
The cancellations followed hundreds of other canceled and delayed flights since Wednesday, when the snow and ice storm that had plowed across the Midwest struck the Northeast, grounding the company's airliners at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
White said JetBlue has been using several methods in efforts to reduce the backlog of passengers stalled by the storm, including charter flights, adding flights in certain regions, rebooking passengers who had some travel flexibility to later dates, and booking seats on other airlines.
He said the airline attempted to warn passengers of the latest cancellations by telephone and e-mail.
The disruptions also meant JetBlue faced mountains of luggage checked by would-be travelers. Some passengers complained that after their flights were canceled no one could find their bags.
White said the airline had teams out in the New York City area on Sunday delivering luggage to customers.