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JetBlue

Old 18th Feb 2007, 02:12
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JetBlue

Call it press hysteria as much as you like, but this was the most widely and accurately forecast storm system in years, and through poor planning or execution, JB got all the publicity they didn't need. Now politicians are in on this with the pax being "held hostage" scenario, you can expect some knee-jerk regulations anytime soon.



http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/17/bu...47d&ei=5087%0A

Can one very bad week for JetBlue Airways wipe out years of industry-leading customer satisfaction ratings?

That was the question hanging over the airline yesterday, as it tried to return its operations to normal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

On Wednesday, nine JetBlue aircraft full of passengers were stranded on the tarmac at the airport for more than six hours each, as a brutal ice storm froze in place the planes and much of the equipment that helps move and de-ice them.

It was one of the worst cases of passengers being stranded on tarmacs in recent years, coming after a similar episode at American Airlines in Austin, Tex., just before the New Year, and one at Northwest Airlines in Detroit in January 1999.

In each case there was very bad weather, but then the airlines compounded the problem by acting too slowly to get passengers off the airplanes. The airlines also, in hindsight, should have canceled more flights than they did.

The JetBlue episode is already adding momentum to an effort among some Democrats in Congress to introduce legislation they are calling a passengers’ bill of rights.

Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat planning to introduce such a bill, said: “If a plane is stuck on the tarmac or at the gate for hours, a passenger should have the right to deplane. No one should be held hostage on an aircraft when clearly they can find a way to get people off safely.”

David G. Neeleman, chief executive of JetBlue, said he was personally overseeing the airline’s recovery efforts this week and also acting as chief apologizer. “We love our customers and we’re horrified by this,” Mr. Neeleman said in an interview. “There’s going to be a lot of apologies.”

JetBlue, with a new fleet of planes, began business in 1999 and quickly shot to the top of customer satisfaction surveys conducted by J. D. Power and Associates.

“Head and shoulders above the competition,” said Linda Hirneise, who heads the travel practice at J. D. Power. After this week, she said, “the hope is that passengers have short-term memories. It did not appear JetBlue had a plan.”

Mr. Neeleman said: “Is our good will gone? No, it isn’t. We fly 30 million people a year. Ten thousand were affected by this.”

But he said JetBlue would have to be better prepared to deal with freakish weather in the future.

He watched Southwest Airlines, for instance, cancel flights quickly this week up and down the East Coast, and then more effectively regroup. “They shut it down,” he said. “We should have.”

By going ahead with more flights, JetBlue ended up with planes and crews out of position, stretching out the weather miseries for its passengers. “Day 3: unforgivable,” Mr. Neeleman said.

On Wednesday, JetBlue asked the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates Kennedy International Airport, to send buses to some of the stranded planes to get people into the terminal.

Passengers stranded three hours or more were promised a full refund and a free round-trip ticket to anywhere JetBlue flies.

Airlines, of course, are against any legislation that would dictate how they deal with delays and cancellations.

“We will change our operational strategy based on this,” Mr. Neeleman said. “We would prefer to be in control of how we compensate customers we have inconvenienced.”

David Castelveter, a spokesman for the Air Transport Association, an industry group, said: “I don’t think incidents as isolated as this require mandates on operational standards. You have to leave these decisions to the airlines.”

Very long waits on the tarmac are rare. The Transportation Department said only 36 flights last year pushed back from the gate and then waited to take off for more than five hours.

But about 60,000 flights pushed back and then waited between one and two hours.

What many passengers find most upsetting is not being told ahead of time of the delay and the often incremental nature of the announcements — a few minutes, an hour, a while longer.

Northwest, after its 1999 episode — when a Boeing 757 arrived in Detroit from the Caribbean 22 hours late and then sat on the snowy tarmac for 8 more hours — put a formal recovery plan in place.

It bought rolling stairs for 12 airports so that passengers could be unloaded even if all gates were tied up. It stashed small amounts of emergency snacks on planes and gave pilots discretion to decide when a planeload of people had been sitting too long and should head back to the terminal.

If a departing plane taxis out and waits for three hours, Northwest said it would bring the plane back to the gate.

American had a flight sit on the tarmac in Austin, Tex., for eight hours Dec. 29. Because of bad weather in Texas, 67 other American planes sat on tarmacs for more than three hours that day.

Now, American said, its policy is to make sure that passengers do not sit on the tarmac in their plane for more than four hours.

Mr. Neeleman of JetBlue said operations should be mostly back to normal today.

The carrier canceled 279 of 503 flights Wednesday, 217 of 562 flights Thursday, and said it expected to cancel about 100 of 570 flights yesterday.
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Old 18th Feb 2007, 09:44
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Poor poor little JetBlue.

American Airlines learned their lesson and now limits hostage times to four hours.

Jetblue already has a poor rating regarding on-time stats. (>15 pct - carrier related) - mostly due to aircraft going tech or in some cases logistics.
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Old 18th Feb 2007, 16:04
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Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat planning to introduce such a bill, said: “If a plane is stuck on the tarmac or at the gate for hours, a passenger should have the right to deplane. No one should be held hostage on an aircraft when clearly they can find a way to get people off safely.”
So ... another politician who completely understands airline operations and the way in which they can chuck 150 pax at a time back into a terminal that is not expecting them and may already be full.

Mr. Neeleman [of JetBlue] watched Southwest Airlines, for instance, cancel flights quickly this week up and down the East Coast, and then more effectively regroup. “They shut it down,” he said. “We should have.”
I take this as real progress. A CEO admits that they got it wrong and admits that more experienced operators got it right. The default is to rattle on about 'fine tuning' and how things 'did not go as expected' and blaming others. Basically, JB gets my vote for that alone.
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Old 18th Feb 2007, 16:17
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you get what you pay for...jetblue pax payed for TV , blue corn chips, and cheap flights.

that's the way it goes.

ASK a passenger to pay for resources to handle problems and they say: that's the airline's responsibility.

I especially liked it when Jet Blue blamed the problems for tug tires being frozen to the apron. At places with real snow, they put chains on tug tires!

short handed on crews...they are grounding the whole EMB190 operation just to get flight attendents for the 'bus ops.

Back in the old days, you would have plenty of reserve crews...granted they didn't do much during good wx days, but...



cheap flights=third world
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Old 18th Feb 2007, 22:42
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Cool

Being in JFK when the snow hit and the subsequent ensuing chaos, what I can't understand is how unprepared the whole place was. I mean they had been forcasting the snow for the previous 3 days, so they knew it was coming!

The people on the ground were working their tails off to try and get things moving but the lack of leadersip or reponsibilty from the airport authority was the missing ingredient from what I could see.
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Old 19th Feb 2007, 00:48
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Surely airlines have insurance coverage for a disaster like this?
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Old 19th Feb 2007, 11:41
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their deicing tecniques are at best suspect.....de icing one wing at a time in an ice storm!! thank god we didnt take off....even though i was on their aircraft for over 9 hrs. Can only get out of JFK today.......
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Old 19th Feb 2007, 12:42
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This happens every day of the week with other Airlines. A friend of mine last year in Amsterdam was sitting on a grounded EI plane bound for Cork, also for 8 hours. They had to pay for refreshments and everything. Never read about it anywhere, least of all in a newspaper!
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Old 19th Feb 2007, 17:04
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To the head of JetBlue: I can fix your airline quite easily. It will cost lots of money and things will have to be done MY way or pay me a 5million dollar exit bonus.

contact me via private message.

susasdaguna...you make a fine point. first off in certain freezing precipatation takeoff isn't authorized even with de/anti ice.

In other circumstances, doing one wing and then the other can be OK in certain precips.

At KPIT, the very best deicing systems were readily available to handle planes quickly and right at the end of the runway...


oh well
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Old 20th Feb 2007, 13:10
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So what's new???

Ya get what ya pay fer.....


PantLoad
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Old 13th Mar 2007, 02:14
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"Ya get what ya pay fer....."

And what migh that be, Pantload? Perhaps it isn't just your pants that are full.

Shouldn't you be threatening a strike or something anyway!

Signed,

A jetblue pilot!
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Old 10th May 2007, 23:30
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JetBlue founder ousted as CEO

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- JetBlue Airways ousted its founder from his CEO job Thursday, three months after the service problems that stranded passengers on grounded jets for hours dented the airline's reputation for customer service.

http://money.cnn.com/2007/05/10/news/companies/jetblue/

Dave F.
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Old 11th May 2007, 08:54
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Not too shabby for a newcomer, I would say.

Neeleman did (more than) a couple of things that I respect him for. He apologised for his company's lapse (Feb 07) and took responsibility for same.

JetBlue has faced on-time difficulties from the start. They operate from hubs that can be problematic and have also had numerous (but minor) tech issues with aircraft, all the while making a fairly decent dent in the market.

According to the article, Neeleman can now further his role as success-maker without facing stockholder pressure. Good for the company all around.
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Old 11th May 2007, 18:17
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Thumbs up Respect!

This guy's response to (largely) hub crises was exemplary.

If only more CEOs could take such a quality/value approach to customer recovery - instead of the defensive, cost-fear driven moves that are all too prevalent in the industry.

Agree - bit of respect required here!
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Old 12th May 2007, 01:38
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Hes a CEO, he probably got a package worth more than all the Pruners could spend in a lifetime. I certainly dont feel sorry for him......
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Old 12th May 2007, 02:29
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Neelemans total annual package is 275K, chickenfeed by airline CEO standards. He will get this till his contract expires in 2009.
He is a big shareholder, his money, not options.
Jetblue is far and away the best airline in the US and Neeleman has a lot to do with why.
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Old 12th May 2007, 04:00
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I was under the impression that he donated his entire salary to the jetBlue crew member crisis fund anyway, a welfare fund which bales out any employees who find themselves in financial straits due to unforeseen circumstances, long-term illness etc.

Echoing previous comments - they are by far the best of the US carriers to fly with and the approach from the top does work well.

Equally, his successor in Dave Barger is a very smart character with a lot of strong attributes of his own.
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Old 13th May 2007, 07:25
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Dave Barger cut his teeth at New York Air which was a decidely anti-union startup. He then further
refined his skills under Frank Lorenzo at Continental. A class act all the way.
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