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February 21, 2007

Jet Blue Is Sorry

Now this is smart customer relations strategy. Jet Blue just sent out an e-mail apologizing for all of the holdups, delays, inconveniences, and cancellations of the last week. And now I think I'm more enamored with the company, not less. You rarely see a major corporation this contrite, which is odd, because it seems like very savvy PR. Full letter below the fold. I sure wonder what Marty will say about this...

Dear JetBlue Customers,

We are sorry and embarrassed. But most of all, we are deeply sorry.

Last week was the worst operational week in JetBlue's seven year history. Following the severe winter ice storm in the Northeast, we subjected our customers to unacceptable delays, flight cancellations, lost baggage, and other major inconveniences. The storm disrupted the movement of aircraft, and, more importantly, disrupted the movement of JetBlue's pilot and inflight crewmembers who were depending on those planes to get them to the airports where they were scheduled to serve you. With the busy President's Day weekend upon us, rebooking opportunities were scarce and hold times at 1-800-JETBLUE were unacceptably long or not even available, further hindering our recovery efforts.

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.

We are committed to you, our valued customers, and are taking immediate corrective steps to regain your confidence in us. We have begun putting a comprehensive plan in place to provide better and more timely information to you, more tools and resources for our crewmembers and improved procedures for handling operational difficulties in the future. We are confident, as a result of these actions, that JetBlue will emerge as a more reliable and even more customer responsive airline than ever before.

Most importantly, we have published the JetBlue Airways Customer Bill of Rights—our official commitment to you of how we will handle operational interruptions going forward—including details of compensation. I have a video message to share with you about this industry leading action.

You deserved better—a lot better—from us last week. Nothing is more important than regaining your trust and all of us here hope you will give us the opportunity to welcome you onboard again soon and provide you the positive JetBlue Experience you have come to expect from us.

February 21, 2007 | Permalink


Now that's an apology! No blame defection, no cramped words.

Now they have to live up to their Bill of Rights, and if they do, they should receive accolades from their customers.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Feb 21, 2007 7:21:51 PM

WOW! That is amazing. Truly, truly amazing. They deserve our forgiveness.

Ezra, have you EVER seen a corporation write anything like this? I'm speechless.

I've been screwed over by corporations at one point or another for years, as I'm sure most others have, but this sort of apology is non-existent in the corporate world.

Good for JetBlue!

Posted by: jambro | Feb 21, 2007 8:24:42 PM

Damn. That makes me want to fly with them!

Posted by: senior | Feb 21, 2007 8:36:46 PM

I agree that this is impressive, but part of the reason it's impressive is that it never happens. If corporations issued this kind of apology every time they screwed up, they'd rapidly start sounding insincere.

Posted by: micah | Feb 21, 2007 8:48:29 PM

I don't know that this is such a dramatic advance - probably more worthwhile will be just what actions are taken to compensate people who were actually delayed and inconvenienced, many of whom, I suspect, would tell you that it will take more than a letter, however sincere, to mollify them... which is why I suspect Ezra, as well as the commenters so far, were largely unaffected (as was I). Second, I'd point out that many of us (me included) come to JetBlue with a lot of goodwill, both for its approach to online service and its general coolness; other, non-internet types - and far more conventional fliers - probably don't. For them this is just another story of airline mess-up and apology after the fact. I wouldn't understate or downplay just what a massive fuck-up just occurred that made this all necessary, and I would point out, as a frequent JetBlue flier, all the danger signs have been in place for months (I hadn't flown an on-time flight with them in at least a year, and we're talking the Boston to NY nonstop that Delta flies far more reliably... and still, there I was, picking JB), which tends to undercut the notion that this just happened out of the, er, blue. An apology is the least of what will need to happen to fix what ails JetBlue, and while I'm cautiously optimistic, I think "cool fliers" need to face that the passionate love affair with things JetBlue is probably over. Now, JetBlue will be one of a number of flying choices, also prone to mistakes and delays, like the others. In one sense that's probably healthy, if painful; in another, It's sad to see something quite so magical come down to Earth.

Posted by: weboy | Feb 21, 2007 9:43:41 PM

Maybe Hillary will draw some conclusions about the postivie value of an apology.

Posted by: Mickeleh | Feb 22, 2007 12:34:21 PM

Our Jet Blue Flight worked out OK, we arrived back in Tampa, Fl. on Feb 18,2007. Today is March 3, 2007 and
I'm still waiting.... for even a return phone call...
the apology is nice --- but I sure as hell would like my baggage!

Posted by: Luz Orihuela | Mar 3, 2007 9:46:57 PM


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