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February 21, 2007


Funny how one bad (or in your case, horrific) experience can ruin your perception of a brand. I just had a miserable experience with my first credit card company and decided to cancel their services as a result. They had been so good to me for 8 years, and now this one bad incident has overshadowed everything.

I came across your American Airlines story at SlideShare.net where, coincidentally, I am uploading materials for the second International Congress on Accessible Travel scheduled for Bangkok this fall.

You illustrate what we call a person who is "Temporarily Abled Bodied" (TAB)experiencing a status shift -- and the stigmatization imposed by that inivoluntary change of social class. With injury and disability as new experiences your slide expose is particularly valuable because of the sense of entitlement you retain. Having been researching, writing, and speaking on the topic of barrier-free travel for several years I appreciate the fresh perspective you bring.

I posted your slide show and a link to your blog entry today at th Rolling Rains Report (www.RollingRains.com)

Lori - It always amazes me in the competitive world of commodity air travel that companies i.e., American Airlines do not get that a little kindness goes a long way to win loyalty. And horrid service results in the explosion of wom buzz. Wonder how many people will never fly United after viewing your PPT?

On the other side of the equation, the goodwill that jetBlue cultivated over the past 7-years has paid off. Yes, people are angry, frustrated and disappointed in the brand, but so many customers are willing to forgive and more forward in faith that jetBlue has learned a lesson that will result in even better customer care.

Oh look what I just got, a me so sorry me love you long time email from CEO David Neeleman

The mea culpa is nice, but I could use some payola, man. Show me le money, Dave.

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. As a customer scheduled to be on one of our flights during this period, we know we let you down. Following the severe winter ice storm in the Northeast, we subjected you 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 you experienced. 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 to you last week.

We have begun implementing immediate corrective steps to regain your confidence in us as part of a comprehensive plan 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 once again welcome you onboard and provide you the positive JetBlue Experience you have come to expect from us.


David Neeleman
Founder and CEO
JetBlue Airways

P.S. We pledge to keep you informed with more details about the implementation of our improved recovery plans in the coming weeks. There is no need to reply to this email about compensation inquiries. We will be contacting you directly by March 15.

I was trying to get to Fort Lauderdale on JetBlue last Friday AM and was delayed, only 1.5 hours (surprise!)

They didn't handle it very well @ Logan - no real data, no problem solving, etc.

I was concerned about being able to get home so we switched to Delta.

I did get a refund for portion of ticket I didn't use which I can use to go to San Jose.

Did love the YouTube piece, well done

It's true: how companies handle screw-ups says a lot about them.

I haven't flown jet blue yet: Southwest seems like a well-run airline to me, and I often fly it if it's available. The old-school american airlines (AA, delta, Continental, et all) all seem indentically bad to me.

I agree that Jet Blue has done an awesome job of playing a lousy hand here.

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