JetBlue offers free trip to nowhere from JFK

NEW YORK Wed Aug 6, 2008 12:09pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Want all the hassle of air travel without going anywhere?

Step up for JetBlue Airways Corp's trial of bag check and security systems at its new John F. Kennedy International Airport terminal, which is set to open in September.

New York-based JetBlue is looking for 1,000 of its frequent flyers to show up at JFK on August 23 to check bags given to them by the airline, go through security and wait at the assigned gate for their imaginary "flight".

In return, the airline is promising unspecified "giveaways", free parking and lunch.

The U.S. No. 7 carrier is taking no chances with the systems at its new Terminal 5, following the chaotic opening of British Airways' Terminal 5 at London's Heathrow Airport in March, as baggage systems failed and staff didn't know their way around the new building.

Only last week, AMR Corp's American Airlines had to cancel flights from JFK after its baggage system software malfunctioned at a different terminal.

JetBlue, partly owned by Germany's Lufthansa, is no stranger to snafus at JFK, canceling hundreds of flights and stranding thousands of passengers last year after an ice-storm hit New York.

(Reporting by Bill Rigby; editing by Carol Bishopric)

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