March 13, 2007
For the last few years, I have bragged about JetBlue's inovative thinking to anyone who would listen to me. They segmented the flying experience, improved each link in the chain, and created the first real scale breakthrough in people flying since Southwest Airlines.
And then the crash, not of a plane, but a system. Horror stories abound.
For the last few weeks when I mention an innovative JetBlue employee or customer centric strategy, people just roll their eyes and say, "yeah, you heard what happened to them!".
They had a failure to imagine, that is what happened to them. They faced a huge speed bump in their growth. The real issue is how they responded.
1. Hired new operating chief to fix this in the system.
2. Wrote Bill Of Rights and went public with it
3. Cancelled slots to reduce flow and make way for system improvements
Moreover, they are heartbroken about this too. Check out this YouTube clip with their CEO afterwards.
For the last few years they have hired for and promoted human relations between airline and customer. In a dozen or more long haul trips I have been very satisfied, entertained and saved thousands of dollars. It is like Southwest without the cattle call.
I'm taking a stand here. JetBlue thinks differently about their people, their passengers and flying as an experience and not just a delivery service. I'm booked to fly on them later this week and I'm confident it will be fantastic. We have to give the leaders in innovation a second chance. If this happened to Delta (again) or United, we would just yawn. But it didn't, it happened to JetBlue of all airlines. Since they've been seperated as one of the two most profitable airlines, the long knives came out when they had their delay meltdown. I have it on good authority that competitors, posing as customers, piled on to make things worse. And we babbled, blogged and squawked about it. It's time to settle down and give them a mulligan.
They Must Keep Thier Promises to Survive on MSNBC
Recommended read: Flying High: How JetBlue Founder and CEO David Neeleman Beats the Competition... Even in the World's Most Turbulent Industry by James Wynbrandt