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Software glitches ground JetBlue fleet

The hits just keep on coming for the former low-fare media darling JetBlue, which last month took a beating for leaving passengers on the tarmac for 10 hours and then canceling about a zillion flights in the wake of an ice storm.

Now Newsday reports that another nagging problem is coming to a head: The carrier's fleet of 100-seat Embraer jets is having some software problems that produce "incorrect instrument readings" (yikes). As a result, JetBlue is grounding the planes two at a time and will begin making fixes immediately; the software tweaks are expected to last into April.

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JetBlue will replace its grounded fleet with four 50-seat planes contracted out from ExpressJet. Now, I've never flown ExpressJet, but I'm going to go out on a limb and guess the airline doesn't rent out planes with leather seats, larger-than-usual legroom, and 36 channels of live satellite television like JetBlue. That lack of perks probably explains the other half of this story: Everyone scheduled to fly on one of the substitute planes will be receiving a $25 travel voucher, according to a report in today's Toronto Star.

Think JetBlue regrets that whole "customer bill of rights" thing it initiated last month? That document sure is getting a workout these days, anyway.

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