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JetBlue Sets a Good Example?

    • 38 posts
    February 22, 2007 8:46 AM EST
    So I just read this thread about air travel customer service. It made me think of JetBlue`s recent fiasco and resulting apology. For those of you unaware, during last week`s weather issues, JetBlue ended up stranding large numbers of planes, crew and most importantly, passengers for hours and hours at a time.

    In response, the airline took out a full page ad humbly apologizing to its passengers in several East Coast publications. They also posted a video apology from the CEO online, and announced that they have implemented a passenger bill of rights (also readable at that link).

    I`ve heard cynical reactions along the lines of "just more corporate damage control" and "a way to preempt the possible passenger bill of rights that`s circulating around Congress."

    What do you think? Is this just corporate damage control, or is it an example of how businesses should act?

    Having flown JetBlue before and been absolutely blown away by their customer service, I am inclined to take them at their word on this one. In my opinion, they did two things right here:
    1. They recognized that their business model is based on differentiating themselves from the other major airlines and a hat-in-hand apology is certainly in line with that.

    2. They did not promise that it would never happen again. Instead, they explained what specific steps they are taking to deal with the situation if it ever does happen again.

    I really would like to see more of this kind of behavior among businesses large and small—I think it would restore a lot of the faith in "corporate America" that has been lost over the years, even if it is to a large degree just trying to get out of a scrape.

    —Jess

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    • 38 posts
    February 22, 2007 2:22 PM EST
    I think Jet Blue`s CEO did a great job dealing with the problem as it came
    up. I don`t think their customer service did a great job.





    This is a great distinction. I can`t speak to how the the customer-facing staff (mis)handled the situation last week, but I can say that my few experiences with JetBlue customer service has been exceptional. As a frequent flier, I go out of my way to choose both JetBlue and Southwest because the f2f interaction is soooo much better than with any other airline.

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    • 38 posts
    February 23, 2007 1:55 PM EST


    JetBlue is a cattle shuttle. Hm....come to think of it, maybe they won`t go out of business. There always are people wanting rock-bottom prices, regardless of the service. If I look at it that way, then JetBlue shouldn`t have bothered with a public apology. They should`ve issued a release saying, "Hey, you get what you pay for, so deal with it!"

    :-)




    I`m not sure what you mean by this...JetBlue is not a discount airline. I have found that their flights (at least on the legs I fly) are often comparably priced or priced slightly higher than the majors.

    If by "cattle shuttle" you are referring to their short commuter legs, most of that has to do with the stranglehold the majors have on airport gates. They have steadily expanded their coast-to-coast service, and have never taken a cattle call approach to their customers that I can tell.

    Yes, the daily ops broke down severely the other week because they didn`t have a plan in place for such events. This was a failing of both higher-ups and management. But in all my years of flying—and I have seen and experienced a lot of massive screw-ups—I have never seen an airline respond as systematically as JetBlue, They immediately put those missing plans in place, they took full responsibility, and they were very transparent about the whole process.

    Out of curiosity, have you flown JetBlue much? You seem to feel they are much worse than the other airlines, when I`ve found the opposite to be true. I wonder if you`ve had some bum experiences?

    —J.

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    • 38 posts
    February 24, 2007 7:21 AM EST


    Inertia, in other words, can be a real b*&*^ sometimes. But for those of us poised to react quicker, change faster, and drive innovation rather than simply react to it, not only will we survive, we`ll thrive in an environment like this.



    I think this gets straight to the point. The idea that large companies are simply incapable of adapting, and so experience a slow bleed until eventual bankruptcy is what we`ve seen much of lately.

    Although, Craig, I disagree with your specific brand assessments—as far as I can tell, BB&B is still the industry leader, ahead of Linens n Things. There just seems to be to many suppositions in your assessment.

    That said, I also think that JetBlue is adapting. And I think the overall trend we will see in the successful companies is that of continued adaptation. To keep the thread on-topic, I also think that we`re going to see a lot more of this type of direct, "we`re not BSing you" customer service from those companies who both experience successful growth and who are perceived as mavericks (which is what JetBlue is). Given the overall public disillusionment with truth and honesty (reacting to both corporate America and the gov`t), I think the smart businesses will try to capitalize by playing the role of "humble customer servant who is human just like the rest of us."

    Ack, I need my morning coffee—I suspect that wasn`t as articulate as I`d hoped.

    —J.

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    Roughstock Studios | Notes From the Rodeo | Newsletter
    Strategic communications without the selling of souls.