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As cancellations pile up, airline passengers feel the jet blues

JetBlue Airways and American Airlines planes on the tarmac at Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Va., Nov. 23, 2021.STEFANI REYNOLDS/NYT

For the second straight weekend, JetBlue customers at Logan Airport in Boston were left holding their bags. Or getting comfortable in a chair. Or looking for a hotel room.

The airline, facing staffing issues, canceled dozens of flights at Logan over the weekend, according to FlightAware, a website that tracks airport traffic.

As of late Sunday night, JetBlue had canceled 49 flights and delayed 105 flights, according to FlightAware. Those numbers accounted for the majority of the total 64 cancellations and 212 delays at Logan, the website said.

A JetBlue spokesman confirmed the cancellations, which he blamed on a severe staffing shortage and troublesome weather across the country.


“After a number of tough operating days this week that began with severe weather challenges and air traffic control delays up and down the east coast, we are continuing to work to minimize impacts to our customers.” spokesman Derek Dombrowski said in an e-mail.

A meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Norton said weather was not an issue in Boston Sunday. “Weather has been fairly quite all morning ... [there is] no adverse weather to report,” the meteorologist said.

At the JetBlue terminal Sunday afternoon, stranded passengers milled about, periodically checking flight information displays for a glimmer of good news.

But as “canceled” was illuminated over and over, some sat, with their suitcases piled high, seemingly lost.

“They gave us a new flight on Tuesday,” said Tinna María of Höfn, Iceland, who sat in Terminal C with her partner, Björgvin Freyr. “We have no clue what we’ll do until then.”

The couple, who said they have traveled many times to the United States, were en route to Orlando. They had a connecting JetBlue flight at Logan, which they learned around midnight Saturday had been canceled, they said.


According to JetBlue, although 3,000 new crew members have been hired this year, staffing is still constrained and the airline must adjust its flight schedules as it heads into the busy spring and summer flying seasons.

“In order to get our operation back on track this week and provide additional recovery options for the potential of additional April weather events, we are canceling some flights this weekend and will be making a small schedule adjustment through the rest of the month,” Dombrowski said.

Staffing shortages among the nation’s airlines are nothing new this year.

After the COVID-19 Omicron wave ravaged the country at Christmas and in January, airlines were struggling to staff their planes as a result of sick workers and bad weather.

Still, the sudden shifts in scheduling are difficult for travelers.

Barbara Del Castillo, 19, was visiting the Boston University campus with her 17-year-old sister, Jaqueline, when they found out their JetBlue flight back home to Naples, Fla., was canceled. They were supposed to fly home Saturday at 3:45 p.m., Barbara Del Castillo said.

Then came an e-mail that said “Your flight is canceled,” Barbara said.

Their flight was rescheduled until Sunday at 8:10 p.m. The sisters had to pay for an extra night at their hotel. They spent much of Sunday waiting around the JetBlue terminal.

“We’re just sitting ducks at the moment,” Barbara said.

Ramsey Khalifeh can be reached at ramsey.khalifeh@globe.com. Katie Redefer can be reached at katie.redefer@globe.com.