Thursday, February 22, 2007

Jet Blues

This morning in my inbox I received an email from JetBlue with the subject heading "An Apology from JetBlue." At first I deleted it. I'm on their email list since I've flown with them a few times and I get an email about once every two weeks or so advertising some special fare or other. But this time I decided to retrieve it from my deleted mail and check out just what they had to say for themselves.

As in their press releases, sound bites and television appearances of their CEO, they own up to their mistakes and are falling all over themselves apologizing for their mishandling of last week's weather situation. They have even instituted their own passenger Bill of Rights. Anyway, here's a bit from the email:
"Words cannot express how truly sorry we are for the anxiety, frustration and inconvenience that we caused. This is especially saddening because JetBlue was founded on the promise of bringing humanity back to air travel and making the experience of flying happier and easier for everyone who chooses to fly with us. We know we failed to deliver on this promise last week."

While I would probably have been tearing my hair out, cursing flight attendants and banging on the windows to get off that plane had I been one of those passengers sitting on the tarmac for 11 hours last week, I still say I'd probably fly JetBlue again. Other airlines who've been around a lot longer have made similar bad judgement calls. In fact I remember sitting on the tarmac for 5 hours once before take-0ff, but I couldn't even tell you what airline it was now. Sure, part of the reason I'd fly them again is that they're a bargain airline (especially now) but there are reasons I choose them over other bargain airlines--I like them.

I like that the company is employee owned. I like the comfy blue leather seats. I like that there is no first class. I like my private TV screen with channels I actually enjoy watching. I like that they serve food out of wicker baskets instead of those cumbersome rolling carts that block access to the restrooms during service. I like the friendly, sometimes even sarcastic nature of the staff which actually takes a bit of getting used to at first. And I like the prices--a LOT. So I'm inclined to forgive them and chalk it up to growing pains. If their aim is to bring humanity back to air travel, isn't part of being human making mistakes? At least they apologize for theirs. Also, I personally have never had a bad experience with JetBlue. So, yeah, I'll be back.

How about you? Ever flown JetBlue? What was your experience like and would you fly them in the future?

Update 12:45 PM: Oops, "my bad" as they say. I erroneously stated that JetBlue is employee owned, confusing it with other airlines who have gone that route in recent years. JetBlue was founded in 1999, it did not go public until 2002. Thanks to KipEsquire for the clarification. The question remains however, would you fly JetBlue in the future in light of their recent operational nightmare?

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At 10:51 AM, Blogger KipEsquire said...

"I like that the company is employee owned."

Where are you getting that from?

Owners of JetBlue stock.

Were you thinking of Delta? (Now in bankruptcy -- 51% of zero is how much?)

And remember, "controlled by the union pension fund" is not the same as "employee owned."

At 1:12 PM, Blogger KipEsquire said...

Back to the original question:


--Individual TVs help (though I bring my laptop and DVDs to watch anyway), but other airlines either are doing that too (Song, Ted) or have plans to (Continental).

--Competitive price (but not always the cheapest, especially NYC-LAS).


--Indecipherable FF program.

--Kids kids kids!

--Worst terminal at JFK (though I understand they're moving / expanding to the next terminal over).

The only airlines I absolutely will not fly under any circumstances are Southwest (a/k/a Cattlecall Air) and Northwest/KLM (has a miserable experience with them once).

(P.S. New to your blog -- liking it!)

At 4:49 PM, Blogger TCho said...

Oh, I cannot stand JetBlue. My problem with them is that they have lost a bag on every single one of my flights taken with them. But the deal breaker was when the lady in baggage services said to me, "Well you should have carried your bag on". There are so many things wrong with that statement, like their implication that it was my fault that their baggage handlers lost my bag, or that they're actually DIScouraging me to check my bag when most flight attendants welcome it.

At 11:41 PM, Blogger Spider said...

I have to give them credit for being proactive, taking responsibility for their actions and not blaming others... I think we are dealing with a "young" airlines in terms of one that doesn't have the experience to handle situations like they just dealt with...

At 11:48 PM, Blogger LSL said...

I travel quite frequently and I think the entire industry is a scam/mess. They're just trying to do the very minimum to keep customers coming back. For every airline, every business, it comes down to the specific people running the show, and you get good ones and bad ones. I continue to fly on any airline that I haven't had a MAJOR problem with. I'd only avoid Jet Blue if I were one of the people trapped for 11 hours. I just don't think I could go back after that!

At 4:24 AM, Blogger Joshua said...

I've never flown Jet-Blue; but I've known many who have - and have had positive experiences. I agree with Spider that it says a lot about how proactive they were with this situation. And I guess I've been lucky, in that I've never sat on an airplane for any extended period of time - for anything. I think that would send me over the edge.

At 8:20 AM, Blogger Y | O | Y said...

I always look to fly United since I've racked up big FF (minds out of the gutters, boys) miles. Price has got to be significantly less, or not served by United, for me to fly with anyone else.

I flew JetBlue once out of Long Beach CA years ago and I loved it. All airlines are running on shoestrings since customers buy on price not service. That has been exacerbated by the ability to cross shop on the internet.

Last flight on United from Albany to Atlanta for Pride last year...gate agent here didn't check me through on connector in Dulles so I lost my seat. At least the extra 4 hours were in the airport instead of trapped with snakes on a plane.

At 11:29 AM, Blogger Donnie said...

I've never flown JetBlue only because they don't fly into Chicago/Midway. I currently fly Southwest nonstop from Raleigh to Chicago...have only but good experiences with them.

If JetBlue ever had nonstop flights from RDU to MDW, I'd try them.

At 9:35 PM, Blogger Joe said...

I have flown JetBlue at every opportunity since they began SF-FTL back in the begining. Since I refuse to take anything other than a direct flight (lazy), I've never had my bag lost. (Twice on other airlines, memorably for the March In Washington in '94 when I spent the entire weekend in the same Queer Nation t-shirt.) I will continue my loyalty to JetBlue, even more so, in view of their handling of this meltdown.


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