An Apology from JetBlue’s David Neeleman

I was one of those unfortunate people who had to travel on Valentine’s Day last week, smack in the middle of the big Northeast Storm. After getting assigned to two Delta flights out of La Guardia airport, which eventually cancelled, I booked myself on a JetBlue flight out of JFK, which also cancelled. After giving up flying that day, I returned home to learn that JetBlue suffered a massive breakdown in operations, which resulted in significant passenger invconvenience and some suffering.
I trust they will recover and win back confidence from their customers. Today, I received a promising letter from JetBlue’s CEO, which includes acknowledgement of the situation, admission of wrongdoing, and actions underway. There’s even a big mass advertising campaign underway.
These communications are the right thing to do, and I hope the level of response continues beyond the immediate aftermath. Come to think of it, this is the first time any airline CEO has emailed me an apology. That’s impressive, especially considering that my inconvenience that day really was no worse than I often experience on most other airlines. I suppose expectations are higher for JetBlue, and that’s at least one reason the company has received so much attention amidst this breakdown.

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

Published by Max Kalehoff

Father, sailor and marketing executive.

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