JetBlue‘s new terminal at JFK opens up on October first, and the airline is making sure to run it’s operations through the gauntlet before going live. We all remember what happened in Heathrow’s T5 earlier this year when they didn’t test their operations thoroughly enough: thousands of passengers and their luggage were separated and stranded, resulting in unruly passengers, thousands of complaints and an embarrased British Airports Authority.
To help simulate life in the fully operational T5, the New York City based airline has invited passengers to take the terminal on a dry run on August 23rd. That morning, over a thousand True Blue frequent flyers will converge on the terminal in a mock booking. Upon arriving at the airport they’ll be divided into groups and instructed on their roles — for example, four random people may be put together, given “luggage” and assigned an “itinerary” heading to Las Vegas.
Passengers will then go about as normal, checking in at the kiosks, sending their luggage through the system, going through the active TSA checkpoint and going as far as the gate before the simulation ends. Then, they’ll do it in reverse as if just arriving from their destination.
The trial is meant to test the opertion of the entire integrated teminal. As JetBlue spokesman Bryan Baldwin mentioned earlier to Gadling today, each of the systems have been tested independently, but the true trial will be under operating conditions with real passengers — which is what they want to create on August 23rd.
For their time, passengers will be awarded with JetBlue branded goodie bags, be fed and several may even win a flight or two on the airline. And they get to see the innards of the new T5, the long awaited oasis in JFK mayhem.
Unfortunately, the event has already booked and overbooked its capacity, so if you haven’t already responded to your invite (or didn’t get one), you may be out of luck. Keep an eye on Gadling and we’ll try to get some good photos and reports of T5 during the event.