JetBlue CEO David Neeleman posted a videotaped apology to JetBlue customers about the Valentine's Day disaster on JetBlue.com and rolled out on a media apology tour - including a stop on the Today Show. The apology and the efforts to "make things right" is going to cost the company big time. I wish there was a customer service looking glass to see how having the guts to apologize (and dole out significant sums of cash) will be returned to them.
I personally have warm feelings for JetBlue - they bring me to my Florida home during the winter and to visit friends and family in Colorado throughout the year. A Google News search reveals that JetBlue was owning the screw up (at least in the press) the next day. Forbes posted an article (filed under Leadership) entitled "JetBlue's Survival School" saying among other things "...if you were looking for the textbook version of how to handle the aftermath, experts say you'd want the company's CEO, David Neeleman, as your professor."
This in no way diminishes the horrible experience of the trapped passengers in New York, or the stranded passengers elsewhere, but I have to applaud JetBlue for having giant cojones in facing the passengers, the media and the problem. Check out the video (OMG - could someone have given Mr. Neeleman a run-through?) and the Customer's Bill of Rights. I proclaim the effort gutsy.
This is in stark contrast to the February 17th experience a group of Waltham, Mass. high school students had with Delta Airlines. The group was heading to Spain during February vacation week (ostensibly to work on their Spanish skills) but they didn't get there. Delta treated them poorly, and as is typical for most airlines, instead of finding a way to make the customer happy (and therefore retain a customer and potentially win new customers with positive word of mouth) they took the
sleasy way out and offered them $200 toward a future flight. GAH! I wish I could locate some of the local television coverage - because they interviewed one young girl who scoffed "Yeah, like I would fly Delta again. Oh wait, I haven't flown them yet." Ouch.
In 2003 I had a
horrible miserable disastrous American Airlines experience. American somewhat redeemed themselves with one courteous desk agent (Ginger) and one courteous customer service rep who received my furious email with a copy of my customer service PowerPoint (also supplied on CD for training purposes!) who replied with a sincere "Oh my God - we did that?" and provided two airline tickets to somewhat compensate for the horrible treatment. You can check out my take on AA's 2003 customer service below (or on Slideshare). As always, your thoughts are appreciated.