JetBlue flight 686 from Washington to Boston was delayed by a few hours on April 13, which wasn’t a big deal to most of the passengers. Except to Lonn Waters and his girlfriend, who planned to catch an Icelandair flight to Keflavik, Iceland, later that evening.
Today’s award for most creative definition of an airline cancellation goes to JetBlue Airways. Back in February, after canceling Judith Ganz’ flight from Dulles to Boston — that’s right, canceling — it redefined its action as a “schedule change” in order to pocket her money.
A few weeks ago, I asked Michelle Hansen, JetBlue’s director of customer support operations, if I could interview her about customer service issues. She later asked Morgan Johnston, JetBlue’s manager of corporate communications, to field my questions. Here are their answers.
JetBlue is one of only a few domestic airlines that doesn’t charge for the first checked bag. You’ve also gone easy on other fees. I’m a little confused. I thought passenger had embraced a la carte pricing. Why are you holding back, when you could be making more money?
You can’t put a price on customer loyalty and creating a unique travel experience. That’s what we do here at JetBlue by providing amenities we think of as standard and core to your travel experience. We’ve created a value product where our customers can experience 36 channels of DirecTV, 100 channels of XM Radio, unlimited drinks and [without] paying extra. However, should a customer choose to upgrade their experience, for an additional charge, we offer our Even More Legroom seats, first run movies with JetBlue Features, or specialty beverages.
For the majority of our customers, checking a bag is a normal part of their flying experience and one we feel it’s important to protect. Those customers who do request to check more than the one standard checked bag, we will accommodate with an additional fee. In the end, we believe that offering these free amenities will result in greater dividends than if we were to nickel and dime our customers. Read more “JetBlue says customer service “embedded in the core” leads to airline profits”
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