NEW YORK (CAP) - Officials for the beleaguered JetBlue Airlines have announced a radical new plan they say will help eliminate any future cancellations and alleviate their increasing number of delayed flights. Beginning tomorrow, pilots will be barred from taking bathroom breaks in between and during flights.
"The FAA restricts pilots to just eight hours of flight time during any 24-hour period," said Jet Blue spokeswoman Alison Eshelman. "Throw in a couple of potty breaks for the pilot and co-pilot, and it's clear we have some wiggle room."
According to Eshelman, while FAA regulations may limit for how long pilots can fly in one stretch, there are no such restrictions in place to determine how many times they must be allowed to use the bathroom during that stretch.
Eshelman said pilots will be expected to "take care of their business" before the start of their shift, and then not again until after the end of that shift.
"Well, this is really gonna put a crimp in my pre-flight drinking," said pilot Tom Hammonds from his seat at a bar in Hancock Airport in Syracuse, NY. "I'll have to see about one of those special diapers that Lisa Nowak was wearing. That should do the trick."
Company officials expect that this will allow them to squeeze in an average of one extra flight every five days, a move that should put the airline completely back on schedule by early 2008. If the measure works well, the airline may seek to eliminate bathroom breaks for flight attendants and other crew members as well.
JetBlue is also reportedly working on other steps to help ensure their flights can remain on time. Another plan that could go into effect as early as next month includes boarding passengers at the same time as others are exiting their flight. Oncoming passengers would enter through the front of the cabin as per usual while exiting passengers are being shunted down the inflatable slide out the emergency door.
Shares in JetBlue were trading 4.7 percent higher at $13.85 on word of the new action. Goldman Sachs analysts also changed their rating on Jetblue from "ditch" to "buy" due to what it calls the company's "forward thinking."
- CAP News Staff