We’ve all seen the news stories, outlining JetBlue’s woes in the NE part of the US this past week. I don’t know about you, but I just chalked it up to the airlines industry and their seemingly endless distain for their customers.
So I have to say, JetBlue’s Founder and CEO David Neeleman’s announcement of their new Customer Bill of Rights surprised me. Why? Because it actually has teeth. Real consequences for real customer problems.
Listen to how Neeleman’s set the stage for the release of the Bill of Rights.
The actual Bill of Rights is lengthy (Download Bill_Of_Rights.pdf) but here are some of my favorite guarantees:
- If your flight is delayed (prior to scheduled departure) longer than 4 hours gets you a voucher in the amount of your ticket.
- If you get bumped from a flight because they overbooked it — you get $1,000. Cash.
All of that is really great, but what I love most about what they did was issue an apology. It starts like this:
Dear JetBlue Customers,
We are sorry and embarrassed. But most of all, we are deeply sorry.
Really, when someone messes up, isn’t that what you need and want to hear? The combination of the sincere apology, the explanation of how it will be different and the guarantee of how it will be handled in the future is a pretty potent punch. I have to say — bravo JetBlue.
By the way, this is all retroactive. It’s going to cost JetBlue about $30 million just to compensate those who got caught up in last week’s mess.
So what do you think will happen next? Will the other airlines react at all? Will JetBlue re-gain the confidence of their customers?
I saw him interviewed on the Today show earlier this week. I’ve never flown JetBlue, but I’ve sat in a hot plane on the tarmack with no amenities for hours with USAir and got diddly, barely an apology.
I’d especially give JetBlue a chance right now because of all the attention on them.
I was impressed by the CEO taking the heat and not making excuses. Whether the other airlines learn something from this is a different question. My guess? Only if they find themselves in the proverbial hotseat.
I have to admit, I was impressed by how he stood up and took all the heat. He didn’t offer excuses. They just promised to fix it.
To the tune of $30 million.
I wonder if any of the other airlines will move towards the same sort of compensation for the problem flights.