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Jet Blue Kept Travelers on the JFK Tarmac for up to 11 Hours.

JetBlue Airways Debacle
Grey Skies for Jet Blue after long flight delays, Mark Wilkie
Jet Blue, the low-cost air carrier, makes amends for keeping passengers on delayed and canceled flights in New York. Will vouchers and a humble apology be enough? Well, Jet Blue's been in the news quite a bit recently. Seems they've blown all that good will they had going for them in one fell swoop, what with keeping passengers stuck on the tarmac for up to 11 hours before finally canceling flights. Horrible weather in New York combined with massive understaffing, led to a breakdown in communications between the powers that be at Jet Blue, so that even flights that landed JFK Airport didn't approach the gates to allow passengers to disembark. It's easy to imagine the frustration felt by those travelers.

Up 'til now, it's been hard to find much fault with Jet Blue. Friendly employees, cheap (or cheaper, I should say) tickets, televisions in the back of each seat. And did I mention friendly employees? A genuine smile really goes a long way towards customer satisfaction. Sure, there're no real amenities like meals, but airplane food isn't exactly known for its freshness and high quality, regardless.
Even on other airlines - okay, especially on other airlines - it's commonplace to see other travelers unpack meals from home. But spending a day on the runway will sour anyone's opinion of an airline company, and Jet Blue is no exception. This was a serious blunder, especially for an airline that prides itself on customer service.

David Neeleman, the founder and CEO of JetBlue Airways, plans to give vouchers to passengers affected by the delayed and canceled flights. Over 1,000 flights were canceled last week, when the ice storm hit New York. That's a lot of affected passengers. Compensation will vary, depending on the length of each flight's delay. Will David Neeleman win back the hearts, and loyalty, of former fans of JetBlue Airways? Only time will tell. The airline certainly shouldn't make such a huge error in judgement again any time soon.

In the meantime, how many CEOs of Fortune 500 companies do you know, that would present as humble and contrite an apology as this one? (click on the link for his apology.) David Neeleman also said that the whole debacle will end up costing Jet Blue around 30 million bucks, and that part of that is funding for more overtime staff.
More staff, better communication. That's a good start. ***

by Jennifer W. Miner