Tag: JetAmerica

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2009's Worst Travel Failure Is...

December 31, 2009 at 9:14 AM | by | ()

First we were doubtful, then we were excited, and then were worried, and then were saying "I told you so." The meteoric rise of hype for Toledo-based LCC airline JetAmerica and its plunge when the airline couldn't get off the ground defined 2009 for us. It was evocative of the recession, a reminder of the few glory days of Skybus, and a huge personal letdown since the airline would have provided us with $9 flights back home for the holidays.

But like any pipe dream, this one flushed itself out when JetAmerica couldn't secure the landing slots needed at the airports. But then, we never saw an airplane ready to fly...so maybe it was more than just problems with airports, considering how the airline cancelled flights only eleven days before the scheduled inaugural and then completely folded a few days later. Where are we, Europe?!

Deep in our heart of hearts, we did want JetAmerica to succeed, we really did. But common sense prevailed as always, and we had major doubts from the beginning. Way to prove us right, JetAmerica, we only wish it had been on something more positive.

Related Stories:
· All 2009 Travel Award stories [Jaunted]
· Jaunty winners for 2008 [Jaunted]

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Will JetAmerica Relaunch And Bounce Back From Disgrace?

August 10, 2009 at 11:29 AM | by | ()

Over two months after booking a flight on start-up LCC JetAmerica, which, if you recall, went belly-up in early July before even getting off the ground, we finally received our refund. Of course the little airline that could (but didn't) won't simply die; oh no no no, it's all about keeping the rumors out there that perhaps one day they will pop up again.

JetAmerica isn't Jesus though, and like Doubting Thomas, we're highly suspicious of any resurrection whispers. CrankyFlier agrees that they should just let it go, but points to the hopeful single statement left on the JetAmerica website, where CEO John Weikle hints at a future:

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The JetAmerica Failure Fallout Continues

July 20, 2009 at 11:09 AM | by | ()

Well, we've survived the weekend after hearing—last minute on Friday, of course—that beleaguered LCC start-up JetAmericahad crashed without ever getting off the ground. Although we've always preached caution in believing that they would ever hit the skies, it's still difficult to watch a potential airline fail, especially one touting such low fares.

In response to JA's pulling out of their operations and Toledo airport, Toledo Port Authority board member Jerry Stabler told the Blade that their calling it quits doesn't surprise him: "It's the other shoe dropping, there's no question about it. The fact that [John] Weikle was involved with SkyBus should have been a heads-up for us." Chabler actually echoed our sentiments back when JetAmerica canceled their first bunch of flights; we're betting he didn't book a flight like we did, though.

Which brings us to our next point: refunds and a possible JetAmerica rebound. We're still waiting on our refund, but many other would-be JetAmerica passengers are worrying about more than this; they now have to replace their JA plans with expensive tickets on legacy carriers, and travel through Detroit versus Toledo. The Lansing's WLNS spoke with a woman who had purchased $700 in non-refundable Broadway tickets because she had saved so much on airfare. The dilemma is now to book flights that cost the same amount and double the vacation budget, or stay home and sacrifice the tickets.

Knowing the ups and downs of JetAmerica, and its final fatal denouement, would you consider flying on them in the future, if they regroup and relaunch? Do you think John Weikle, founder of both failed SkyBus and failed JetAmerica, should maybe find a new career? More importantly, for those booked on JetAmerica, have you received your refund yet? Let us know in the comments!

Related Stories:
· JetAmerica Will Not Be Jetting Anywhere Ever [Jaunted]
· Customers complain about flight cancellations [WLNS]
· JetAmerica cancels entire route network; Toledo flights grounded [Toledo Blade]
· All JetAmerica Coverage [Jaunted]

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JetAmerica Will Not Be Jetting Anywhere Ever

July 17, 2009 at 6:01 PM | by | ()

What we all suspected would happen has finally happened today: JetAmerica has officially folded. From the AP:

JetAmerica, a fledgling discount airline that garnered attention with $9 promotional fares, has folded without ever getting off the ground.

The Clearwater, Fla.-based company says it's suspending sales to all markets and will immediately begin to process refunds to customers.

CEO John Weikle says:

We are reluctantly suspending our public charter operations effective today,” said John Weikle, CEO, who has been with the company since April. “Finalizing the slots required to support our charter program at Newark has taken longer than expected and we have decided to suspend our flights in order to refocus on different markets.

And company spokesman Bryan Glazer added:

It is unfortunate that so many consumers' will be affected. This was unavoidable. I worked closely with the executives of JetAmerica for several months and know they did their very best to overcome the challenges that the slot situation posed. But in the end, the business plan never called for paying for more than a half million dollars for slots.

The problem? The airline couldn't secure landing slots at Newark Liberty International Airport. So once again, JetAmercia will need to reissue refunds for any of the passengers who had booked flights after the inaugural July 13 flight was delayed. As we were writing this, the JetAmerica website was still loading and advertising fares. However, booking a flight was not possible.

Still, this really stinks. Yes, we were mad at JetAmerica for not taking off as initially planned on Monday but we were still looking forward to flying one of their $9 fares. Oh well, we'll just wait for the next reincarnation to surface.

In the meantime, if you are part of the $900,000 pie that needs refunds, here is what Mr. Glazer says:

All customers will receive automatic refunds within 7-14 business days. Any customer not receiving a full refund in 14 days should call 727-451-3970.

Related Stories:
· JetAmerica coverage [Jaunted]
· Discount air carrier JetAmerica folds [AP]
· Minister, Hopeful Lawyer and Others Forced to Pay More Thanks to JetAmerica [Jaunted]

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JetAmerica Doles Out A $600,000 Round Of Refunds

July 14, 2009 at 9:29 AM | by | ()

If we had a nickel for every time there was news about the delayed JetAmerica, we'd have enough cash to buy a ticket on the airline. The most recent update, aside from their continued issue with the FAA and the almost complete lack of the once-touted $9 fares, is that the refunding of customers is apparently going smoothly.

Since JetAmerica announced their month delay, moving the start of flights from July 13 to August 14, affected customers have cried out for more than just a refund, but a refund is what they're going to get. Oh yea, and some minor fees waived if you opt to actually travel on JetAmerica in the future, when they get off the ground.

According to the Dayton Daily News, JetAmerica has already refunded $600,000 to over 6,400 passengers. After checking our credit card activity today, we can say that are not among the refunded...yet. Here's hoping it arrives before something crazy happens, but if we've learned anything after the Clear debacle, it's not to trust any company ever.

Related Stories:
· $600,000 refunded to customers, says JetAmerica [Dayton Daily News]
· The Battle Rages: JetAmerica Versus The FAA [Jaunted]
· All JetAmerica News [Jaunted]

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The Battle Rages: JetAmerica Versus The FAA

July 10, 2009 at 9:04 AM | by | ()

And the JetAmerica drama continues, as more details about their issues with the FAA emerge, and the struggle for landing slots continues. An article published yesterday in the Toledo Blade not only names the dates when JetAmerica's web began to unravel, but also quotes the Port Authority as being "not that optimistic" about the carrier.

So remember back when JetAmerica boasted of selling 20,000 tickets in their first 48 hours of having their website active? It turns that this publicity, and their May 27 press release even announcing their ticket sales, were the straws that broke the camel's back; they caused the FAA to contact JetAmerica and inquire about exactly what their plans were for landing slots, since they now needed them as an obviously regularly-scheduled carrier.

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JetAmerica Has Sold Out Its $9 Fares to Those Who Still Want to Fly JetAmerica

July 9, 2009 at 6:14 PM | by | ()

JetAmerica is extremely unpopular these days after pulling the plug on passengers just 11 days before the JA flights were expected to take off. (We keep getting upset letters from passengers and we're updating them here.)

But apparently, some people are still willing to give them another chance. JetAmerica has sent us this statement saying they have removed advertisements for its $9 one-way fares from its website. And why?

"The reason is because we are sold out of $9 fares in all but the Toledo, Ohio market for all future flights through September 2009. However, there are still plenty of one way seats available at fares starting as low as $19 one way," said JetAmerica spokesperson Bryan Glazer.

The $9 one-way fare ads have been replaced by a box that says "Ultra-low fares. Every Day. Every Flight." So we guess the sell-out bit is good news for the airline and $19 is still low. But what about when these flights will actually take off? That's still not known as there was no comment from Glazer about "slot issues or regulatory matters."

Meanwhile, here's a snippet of a letter from a once and former JetAmerica customer:

As far as I am concerned, I'll walk, hitch-hike, ride a bike, or drive before I will ever consider flying Jet America. They could give me free tickets, free hotels, etc ... I WON'T FLY WITH THEM ... EVER! They can take their 'discounts' for future flights and shove them. I'd join a class action suit if there was a chance of sticking it to them, but I don't see any chance of that.

Related Stories:
· JetAmerica stories [Jaunted]
· Minister, Hopeful Lawyer and Others Forced to Pay More Thanks to JetAmerica [Jaunted]

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Minister, Hopeful Lawyer and Others Forced to Pay More Thanks to JetAmerica

July 6, 2009 at 1:01 PM | by | ()

UPDATE: More new "grievances" have been filed below.

Last week when we broke the news that JetAmerica would be canceling its flights, less than 11 days before they were scheduled to take off, we asked readers who had booked a JetAmerica flight how this delay would affect them. And several of you wrote in to tell us just how inconvenient this all was.

We'll be posting some of the letters after the jump, but before we get into that we are thinking that JetAmerica's refund of the passengers' flights is not enough. Because flights typically tend to be more expensive when you book under 14 days before your desired departure date, we think JetAmerica should refund the passengers' difference in price for the new flight as well.

For example, if you paid...oh let's say...$89 for a flight on JetAmerica but because of the cancellation, you had to pay about $250 on another airline, JetAmerica should pay the $89 and the difference which would be $161. Just something JA should think about. Now onto the stories....

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Breaking News: JetAmerica Delays Launch Date Until August 14th

July 2, 2009 at 4:49 PM | by | ()

Yesterday we got all sorts of worried that JetAmerica would not be taking off on July 13 as initially announced because we couldn't plug in any new flight dates until August. But a call to the reservations/marketing inquiries hotline let us know that the upstart airline's website was just having a bit of "server error" and that our reservation was still good.

Still, we remained skeptical and with good reason. Just as we were wondering why JetAmerica hadn't fixed its "server error," an email came in to us from a Jaunted reader booked on the inaugural flight out of Newark to Toledo. Jet America has now delayed their launch date by 30 days.

First, we thank you for your support in purchasing a ticket on Sun America d/b/a JetAmerica ("JetAmerica"). Unfortunately, however, you are receiving this notice to inform you that due to landing slot issues in Newark, that we are going to have to delay our first flights 30 days until August 14th.

We've posted the full letter after the jump but Jet America is willing to issue a full refund to all passengers within seven to 14 days. Additionally, passengers booked on this flight will receive "special incentives to rebook on future flights" when they call the reservations center after August 1. Those incentives include waiving the $20 reservations convenience fee and the $20 fee for the first checked piece of baggage and any seat assignment fees.

But what about all the fun things we had planned for Toledo on July 14th????

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Breaking News: JetAmerica Server Snafu or Pushing July Launch?

July 1, 2009 at 6:58 PM | by | ()

UPDATE: Jet America has been delayed until August 14th.

We were really banking on JetAmerica taking off on July 13 but perhaps the fact that the airline never even put out a real photo of its jet fleet, we should have known that their inaugural flight date was not sent in stone, or is it?

A tipster emailed us to say that it looks like JetAmerica cancelled all of their July flights. Sure enough, when we went to search for a flight on July 15 we were shown the next available date was August 14. Then when we tried again, the next available date was suddenly August 16. What is happening here?

Since we actually have a reservation on Jet America in July, we dialed their odd 727 area code reservations number hoping for answers. While we were on hold for over 10 minutes we were repeatedly prompted to email Michelle for "marketing inquiries", odd for a reservation number, right? Oh, and at the 11 minute mark we got our answers.

JetAmerica: There is a problem with our server, it is only booking flights for August and September, IT says all should be fixed by end of day tomorrow.

Jaunted: So flights in July are still wheels up?

JetAmerica: As far as I know, yeah.

So is this just a server malfunction or is JetAmerica pushing their launch until August? Send us your tips if you got 'em.

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Yes Virginia, There Really Is A JetAmerica

June 25, 2009 at 10:12 AM | by | ()

Christopher Grazel, COO of Jet America stands at right

Have you been following the news out of Toledo, Ohio? No, of course you haven't, but if you had you'd know that JetAmerica, that enigma of a new LCC, is starting to kick things off in their hub airport.

At a recent press conference at Toledo Express, the motto "Let's Get America Flying Again" was announced, and since then our contacts on the ground report that a full-out barrage of both TV and newspaper advertising has hit the Northwest Ohio area. Thanks to grants and some deep pockets of their own, the Toledo Port Authority will be spending $900,000 on promoting the start-up airline, even though when it first flies on July 13, it'll only be going direct to Newark, Minneapolis, and Melbourne, Florida.

Nonetheless, Toledoans are flocking to embrace the airline as a local news station poll asking "Do you think you'll use Jet America to fly out of Toledo instead of going to Detroit Metro?" has thus far received 85% "yes" responses. Is it because their laughable TV ads sound like an intro to a Billy Mays informercial? Probably.

Related Stories:
· Jet America spends bundle to lure flyers back to Toledo [WTOL-Toledo]
· Jet America Does The Impossible: Sells 20,000 Tickets In First Week [Jaunted]
· JetAmerica Coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: WTOL]

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JetAmerica Does The Impossible: Sells 20,000 Tickets In First Week

June 8, 2009 at 11:53 AM | by | ()

As skeptical as we've been about new LCC JetAmerica and its plan to service secondary airports like South Bend, IN and Melbourne, FL, it seems as though travelers are biting.

Our people in Toledo, JetAmerica's soon-to-be hub city, called in to report that the local news is boasting of Jet America's ticket sales: 12,000 tickets sold in the first 48 hours after their website launched, a number that was expected to reach 20,000+ by the end of that first week.

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