What a difference a day makes. Yesterday, I had JetBlue up against the ropes. Like a prize fighter, under the leadership of David Neeleman, they are fighting their way back to the center of the ring.
In this article, Neeleman shows he is very aware how badly JetBlue has screwed up dealing with this situation. The article states “Mr. Neeleman said he would enact what he called a customer bill of rights that would financially penalize JetBlue — and reward passengers — for any repeat of the current upheaval. He said he would propose a plan to pay customers, after some amount of time, by the hour for being stranded on a plane.”
In addition to finally speaking up, Neeleman is quoted as saying “I can flap my lips all I want. Talk is cheap. Watch us.”
Shel Holz praises the company for effectively saying “I’m sorry” and notes it is one of the hardest things for companies to say (for legal and other reasons). More Shel:
A typical corporate response would have said, “JetBlue regretss any inconvenience the storm in New York may have caused passengers.”
What the spokesperson said was that JetBlue apologizes, adding, “What happened last Wednesday was totally unacceptable.”
Totally. How human.
The other Shel, Shel Israel, also weighed in generally favorably. He says, “JetBlue may not blog, but it is transparent.” He also lauds Neeleman for overcoming likely pressure from the lawyers and speaking clearly. Note also what he says about blogs:
This is transparency and it is a case study for how a CEO can use it. Using a blog would have been a better communications tool, but I think it’s important to remember that like a hammer, a blog is just a tool.
JetBlue has sinned, it has suffered and it has repented. The guy at the top probably ignored a whole bevy of lawyers telling him not to admit any kind of culpability. He says they’ll do better and next time the suffering passengers will be compensated.
The point about a blog being a tool and not an end in itself is one that I like seeing made in the blogosphere. I sometimes think we bloggers take our medium a little too seriously sometimes and are too quick to dismiss those who don’t blog.
In any event, kudos to David Neeleman for providing the necessary leadership to again put JetBlue in a favorable light. Though I have never been able to fly the airline (my routes tend to take me on USAir most often and Manchester, NH is not served by JetBlue), I am hopeful that their promised passenger bill of rights will eventually spill over to competitors. As someone who takes nearly 100 flights a year, anything that can improve service and reliability would be welcome.