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JetBlue refunding passengers stranded on Connecticut tarmac

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:42 AM EDT, Fri November 4, 2011
Passengers on five JetBlue flights were stuck on the tarmac at Bradley International Airport for hours on Saturday.
Passengers on five JetBlue flights were stuck on the tarmac at Bradley International Airport for hours on Saturday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • JetBlue: Refunds are being issued to passengers on five flights
  • The planes were stranded at the Hartford, Connecticut, airport on Saturday
  • "It will take us a while to get (refunds to) everyone," airline spokeswoman says

New York (CNN) -- JetBlue has begun refunding the passengers of five flights who were stranded on the tarmac of a Connecticut airport for as long as eight hours on Saturday, a spokeswoman for the airline told CNN on Thursday.

Alison Croyle, spokeswoman for the airline, said refunds are currently being issued to passengers on all five planes that remained on the tarmac of Bradley International Airport near Hartford, amid the severe snowstorm that hit the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

"Yes, we started issuing refunds, but it will take us a while to get everyone," she said. She said the passengers were given a letter on Saturday notifying them of full refund for their trip and a roundtrip voucher for future trips, customer service was also told to call each customer and apologize.

CNN Senior U.N. Correspondent Richard Roth, who was stuck for eight hours on the tarmac aboard JetBlue Flight 504, said he had received a ticket price refund of $161.86.

Snowstorm strands reporter in airport
JetBlue: 'We let some of you down'

That flight was bound for Newark, New Jersey, from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but was diverted due to the weather.

In a video posed Tuesday on the airline's blog and YouTube channel, Chief Operating Officer Rob Maruster apologized for a "confluence of events" that led to the incident, which he explained as "various runway, congestion and other operational issues at Newark and JFK Airports."

However, Maruster said, "at no point in this weekend was safety ever compromised."

"But let's face it, you count on us at JetBlue for a lot more -- and we promise a lot more -- and we know we let some of you down over the course of this weekend and for that we are truly sorry."

Maruster said the airline intends to "fully participate with the Department of Transportation and cooperating with their investigation into events over the weekend, and we're also going to conduct an internal evaluation so that we can learn from this event because at the end of the day, you deserve better -- and we expect better from our crew members and our operation."

During the eight-hour ordeal aboard Flight 504, there was little food or water, passengers were fighting, and some had medical issues .

"I got a problem here on the airplane. I'm going to need to have the cops onboard," a flight crew member told the tower in a conversation posted on LiveATC.net, a website that monitors air traffic control conversations. "I need some air stairs brought over here and the cops brought onboard the airplane."

Passenger Roseann Kozma explained the situation in a phone interview with CNN affiliate WTIC from the plane.

"A couple passengers are fighting and there's a baby on here that's been crying the whole time," she said.

Read more about this story from CNN affiliate WTIC.

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