JetBlue quick to cancel flights this storm

Low-fare carrier cuts 25 percent of JFK flights Monday, nearly two weeks after stranding passengers there on the tarmac for hours.

NEW YORK ( -- JetBlue, which took a hit to earnings and a worse hit to its reputation when passengers were stranded for hours at its New York hub on Feb. 14, moved quickly to cancel 25 percent of its flights to and from John F. Kennedy International Airport Monday as a new storm hit the area.

JetBlue (Charts) also flies out of Newark Liberty International Airport and LaGuardia Airport in the New York area, but it has only limited service at those locations.

The discount carrier had 177 arrivals and departures scheduled at JFK on Monday. As of 5:00 p.m. ET, the low-fare airline had canceled 45 of those flights. Systemwide, JetBlue cancelled 79 flights out of 579 scheduled. (See correction.)

"We don't anticipate any more cancellations today," a spokeswoman for the company said.

The airline admitted that much of the problem on Feb. 14 came from not canceling flights as quickly as it should have, leaving passengers on planes that could not take off due to weather and could not return to occupied gates to discharge passengers.

It took almost a full week for the airline to recover from the fiasco, and it estimates that the problem cost it $30 million.

The airline, which offered what it called a "Passengers Bill of Rights" in the wake of the Feb. 14 storm, announced Saturday that passengers booked Sunday into or out of Richmond, Virginia; Washington; Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio, may rebook without fee or fare difference through Thursday.

There were 32 JetBlue flights to and from Dulles International Airport outside of Washington canceled Sunday, along with two to and from Pittsburgh.

Sunday it extended the same rebooking without penalty offer to passengers flying to or from the three New York-area airports; Newburgh, N.Y.; Chicago and Boston, as well as the four airports affected Sunday.

Shares of JetBlue took a hit on Feb. 20 after reports that the problems continued through the Presidents' Day holiday and the company's statement about the cost of the problem.

Still, its shares are up about 20 percent over the past 12 months. They've outperformed leading low-fare competitor Southwest (Charts) and matched gains at United Airlines parent UAL Corp. (Charts) but badly trail most old-line hub-and-spoke airlines such as American Airlines parent AMR (Charts), Continental Airlines (Charts) and US Airways Group (Charts).

JetBlue's $30 million fiasco

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of cancellations at JFK. regrets the error. (Back to story.) Top of page