One of my favorite parts of Apollo 13 is the “finest hour” scene. In the midst of one of the worst times at NASA, flight director Gene Kranz believes in the talent of his team and that will be able to land Apollo 13 safely.

If you travel a lot or have to pick family members up at airports, you know that there are delays, cancellations, and diversions. It is not a question of if, but when. The difference between a good airline/airport and a bad one is how they handle these bumps. In other words, will it be a “finest hour” moment, or a reason for people to never fly that airline or airport again?

A few hiccups
On November 17th, my brother-in-law’s flight from Fort Lauderdale could not land in Worcester due to fog and was diverted to Boston. Upon landing, Knight’s Limo drove passengers back to Worcester, where I picked him up close to 1am as opposed to the estimated time of 10:30pm. Was it inconvenient for me? I had to stay up late, but at least I only had to drive to Worcester and not Boston. Was it inconvenient for him? Yes, but he has been through this a lot and was happy with the communication and how the situation was dealt with.

A plane headed for Orlando last week would not start, so passengers were broken up into two groups: one group headed for Providence and the other group to Boston where they boarded planes to Orlando. Was this inconvenient? Of course it was, but at least they will be getting to Orlando, although admittedly later then expected.

Room for improvement
The problem I have is with the flight outbound to Orlando on the morning of November 18th. As I stated above, JetBue had to fly into Boston the prior night and that is the same plane that flies out the next morning to Orlando. JetBlue changed the origination for that Orlando flight to Boston and notified all the passengers on the 17th that they had to get to Boston for their November 18th flight.

Evidently since they gave notice the prior day, JetBlue does not have to provide ground transportation, but why can’t Massport? Seriously, think about you packing up the family for a flight out of Worcester on November 17th that will depart the next morning at 7:30am and then you get a message that you need to get to Boston instead. What do you do?

On the other hand, what if the message said the flight had been changed to Boston for the origination and that ground transportation would be provided from Worcester to Boston, or that you could go directly to Boston yourself? We have a $350,000 grant from the FAA to attract and keep an airline—let’s use some of those monies to provide ground transportation when needed to make less then desirable situations our finest hour

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