18 February 2007

OK - My 10 cents on the JetBlue fiasco

I am a very big fan of what JetBlue has accomplished so far. They had a great start and achieved a lot by breaking rules and focussing on doing what is necessary for the customer. But the meltdown at the company in recent history shows an astonishing lack of the one thing you assume but cannot touch at a company such as an airline - operational excellence.

Anyone who follow the pioneer (Southwest) knows that they (WN) learned very early on that you have to PLAN for every eventuallity. You can never spend too much time working on this. Plan plan and then plan it again. This is something that they dont seem to have done. With so much of their operation concentrated at JFK (itself one of the worst airports for scheduling in the country) you would have thought they would have planned for this event. Shoot - they even had a dry run (or as that a snow run!) at Christmas time.

However perhaps the worst sin of all was how it handled its customers. Every airline does a bad job here. But jetBlue has had a chance to do something better. It just didnt. If you follow the story like this one in the NY Times - you realize that they reverted back to the tried old solution to the problem of what to do with angry customers: IE "Call Security". Several people I know have contacted me and (I am not sure if it is that they just want to vent) the stories sound bad.

JetBlue Cancels More Flights in Storm’s Wake

Listen jetBlue - do something that no one else has done. BE STRAIGHT WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS.

And everyone else.... LEARN From this fiasco. Plan for the eventuality and PLEASE have a decent way to handle your customers. But dont dispair. Cheap prices will once again lure people back.



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