JetBlue Announces Passenger Bill Of Rights

JetBlue CEO apologized in a YouTube video for last week’s delays, and announced sweeping internal changes to prevent future occurrences.

• All non-airport crew members of JetBlue will be badged and ready to go if needed to be called upon
• Increasing number phone lines open for changing reservations
• Tripling the size of the group that schedules pilots and stewardesses

The airline announced a new reimbursement program for delayed passengers, retroactive to last Thursday, February 15.

• Delays 1-2 hours: $25 off a future flight
• Delays 2-4 hours: $50 off a future flight
• Delays 6+ hours: Free round-trip ticket

Fine showing of contrition and immediate action. We would fly JetBlue again. — BEN POPKEN

(Thanks to Michael!)

Comments

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  1. acambras says:

    Wow — I’m impressed. Especially with the reimbursement program. With the other carriers, you’re lucky to get an apology — and talk is cheap.

  2. homerjay says:

    Wow, this guy really is a ‘do-er’
    How refreshing!

  3. junkmail says:

    Now that’s a switch, a CEO kissing OUR ass for once! NICE.

  4. shiny says:

    I really, really hope they stay in business. Sadly, the larger carriers seem to stay afloat by specifically not doing what JetBlue is doing.

  5. Tallanvor says:

    Shiny: No, the larger carriers can simply get away with it because they know there’s not enough capacity in the system for everyone to choose not to fly with them. JetBlue, on the other hand, is small enough that this mess will have already cost them all of their profits for the quarter, and then some. They need to do something big to win back their customers (and hopefully convince new people to fly with them) if they are to have any hope of coming close to being profitable this year.

  6. Kornkob says:

    It’s good of him to say so. I’m curious what the terms of the reimbursement program for delayed passengers is. It’s one thing to say you have such a thing. It’s quite another if the terms are so filled with escape clauses that they don’t actually promise anything.

    I’ll believe it when it’s actually in place. A CEO’s word is only as good as his board of directors/shareholders want it to be.


    On another note, it’s interesting to me that jetBlue stock had been trending down since the beginning of the year right up until the morning of the 15th when it’s seen a change in direction. (See for yourself: JBLU on nasdaq)

  7. Die_Fledermaus says:

    Did they mention anything about getting a refund for bad weather? Say you think you might be stuck on a plane for 11 hours because of snow. Could you reschedule your flight for free? or are you destined to be trapped in the plane for 11 hours?

    There changes while great don’t address the problems of incredibly long delays where you are trapped in the plane and on the ground. It should be part of the “passenger bill of rights” that the plane will return to the gate after 2 hours of waiting and allow the passengers to wait in the terminal or even reschedule their flight.

  8. cindel says:

    I love JetBlue and use them all of the time from Dulles to Long Beach. CS were so helpful when I was late and missed my flight; they put me on the next and upgraded me.

    That’s what I’m talking about!

  9. BareFeet says:

    This is awesome. Now just imagine what would happen if all the airlines bit the bullet and agreed to something like this. And then imagine if they finally admitted that they make humans larger than 5’1″.

  10. robbie says:

    I suspect weather delays don’t count for reimbursements. Not that they ever did.

  11. mad_oak says:

    How to make a million dollars in the airline industry… Take a billion dollars, buy an airline…. Give Neeleman credit where its due though, the $25 and $50 amounts are a pitance, more so an enticement to fly at a future date and maybe not be so picky about the fare since there’s a coupon involved. But he is drawing the line at 6 hours and you can bet everyone from the attendants on up will start screaming up the chain as that magic hour approaches.

  12. godai says:

    Ummmmm.

    He mentions the Passenger Bill of Rights.
    Its all over the website about the Bill of Rights.


    But what are the rights?

  13. epp_b says:

    Now that is refreshing! Not only was it an apology, it was an admittance of internal problems and a list of real goals and actions to fix the problems; it was sincere. The fact that it wasn’t full of market-jargon and that it definitely wasn’t pre-scripted and just read off of a teleprompter (at least not obviously) says a lot about it.

    I hope JetBlue remains honest like this and does well in their business. Keep treating customers like this and I’m sure it will be the case.

  14. formergr says:

    cindel, I thought JetBlue doesn’t have a business or first class, so how were you upgraded?

    Also, lots of the legacy carriers will give you $ off vouchers or free domestic tickets in case of irregular operations (excluding weather as robbie notes above). Many do it outright, on others you just have to know to ask for it.

  15. orielbean says:

    @Kornkob – airlines are usually a horrible investment for an actual investor – a lot of times this ends up being VERY VERY good for consumers.

    If the service is hemmoraging cash and needs to increase the revenue base, they will offer deals and specials and so on. Look at your cable companies – they barely do anything actually useful for customers or have a deal worth a doily.

    Now look at your XM radio or Sirius – they wanted a yearly contract from customers, but currently you can get the month-to-month at a similar cost b/c they are worried about revenues, and their stock has fallen almost 40% in the past year.

    Airlines get special treatment from the government, as Uncle Sam has zero interest in running its own consumer airline, and yet airlines STILL can barely hang on year to year.

    When a company is the only game in town and gets favorable tax treatment, like the cable or gas companies – then the consumer is royally screwed.

    When competition is fierce and you have no way to make yourself stand out – ala online retailers – then you get the good deals.

    Investors love a good conglomeration, as it means that the overhead of two companies is combined into one, conceivably decreasing waste while keeping the same market share and growth momentum.

    Consumers should hate any conglomeration, as it means their choice is less and less companies are fighting for their cash.

    Investors hate competition, as it means that the particular company could lose share very quickly unless they display some sort of innovation or ingenuity, or have a CEO’s cousin as a US Senator… Warren Buffet was a genius b/c he knew which companies were positioned to move ahead and nail down market share by innovation, legislation, or reduced overhead waste within the corp.

  16. orielbean says:

    Goadi – the reimbursement policy for delays is part of your consumer rights now.

  17. no.no.notorious says:

    but now there will probably never be a delay for JetBlue ever again

  18. Kornkob says:

    @ orielbean: Goadi – the reimbursement policy for delays is part of your consumer rights now.

    I think what Goadi is looking for is a list of these ‘consumer rights’. And frankly, I’d like to see some detail in that space as well.

  19. zl9600 says:

    I’d not be so quick to fawn all over this airline. In fact, the Wall St. Journal did a much better job of reporting this objectively than just posting the CEO’s contrition.

    Mostly because it talked about the real reason the flights sat, which um sure doesn’t appear in JetBlew’s nifty little ‘we promise’ video:

    During an ice storm in New York this past Wednesday, JetBlue Airways Corp. let several flights sit for 10 hours, toilets overflowing, nothing to eat but snacks and, ironically, cabins so hot and stuffy that doors had to be opened to let fresh air in. Though some trapped passengers had been sitting since early morning, JetBlue didn’t call the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates Kennedy, for help until 3 p.m.

    The Port Authority has buses and staff available for emergencies around the clock, and buses began rolling quickly, says Port Authority spokesman Pasquale DiFulco. By 6 p.m., the evacuation of 400 people from planes to JetBlue’s terminal was wrapped up.

  20. zl9600 says:

    btw, I wasn’t complaining that Consumerist “just posted the video”. I just have seen this video making the rounds in the media this morning, and nobody is calling it the piece of PR puffery that it is or talking to anyone who might say “well, um, this is nice but HERE is where they messed up”

    I mean nobody has a cadre of Consumerist-istas to question every move by a profit-hungry corporation :)

  21. zl9600 says:

    BTW, I was not complaining about Consumerist posting the video, as I knew it would at least be debated here.

    What’s more of a joke is that major media are picking up this PR puffery without calling it as it is, just PR. No contrarian view of what really broke down at Jet Blew and why this cute little video makes Jet Blue Fan Boys happy for a few, it doesn’t address the root causes of what happened.

  22. AcilletaM says:

    Yeah, I’m not here to fellate Jet Blue like most of the commentors. What they are proposing isn’t reimbursement, they’re giving you a voucher for the next flight. Many airlines do this. Keep me on a plane for over 6 hours you’re not getting my next flight. Plus this is no benefit to the infrequent traveler. They should be issueing checks, not vouchers.

  23. BillyShears says:

    cindel says:

    I love JetBlue and use them all of the time from Dulles to Long Beach. CS were so helpful when I was late and missed my flight; they put me on the next and upgraded me.

    That’s what I’m talking about!

    Upgraded you to what? JetBlue has no first or business class; oestensibly it’s all a very, very nice coach cabin.

  24. orielbean says:

    @Kornkob and those who did not see this on their site – “This page will be updated Tuesday afternoon, February 20, with details of JetBlue’s Customer Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights will hold JetBlue to the standards that you have come to expect from us over the last seven years.”

    I don’t see anything else there yet as of right now.

  25. Kornkob says:

    Upgraded you to what? JetBlue has no first or business class; oestensibly it’s all a very, very nice coach cabin.

    If you take a look at their website you’ll find that the forward seats on jetBlue aircraft have more legroom. While they might not call it ‘first class’ the fact is they have a section that is ‘better’ than the rear of the aircraft.

  26. cindel says:

    I was upgraded to a better seat. Don’t Hate.

  27. formergr says:

    No one’s hating, just confused and asking for clarification.

    I was poking around the FlyerTalk.com JetBlue boards, and saw this quoted”

    “The compensation will only apply to delays and problems “within JetBlue’s control” and excludes problems with weather, air traffic control, crew shortages, maintenance problems and failure to recover from any of those problems by the second day.”

    The source wasn’t included so take it with a grain of salt, but it sounds like under the new Bill of Rights/Compensation plan, JetBlue wouldn’t have owed passengers in last week’s fiasco any money.

  28. formergr says:

    Arg, reposting:
    No one is hating cindel, just confused and asking for clarification since in frequent-flyer speak an “upgrade” means moving to a better class of service (i.e. from coach to business, or business to first class).

    I was poking around the JetBlue boards at FlyerTalk.com, and read this:
    “The compensation will only apply to delays and problems “within JetBlue’s control” and excludes problems with weather, air traffic control, crew shortages, maintenance problems and failure to recover from any of those problems by the second day.”

    The source wasn’t attributed, so take it with a grain of salt, but under these restrictions, the new “Bill of Rights/compensation package” wouldn’t even apply to last week’s fiasco.

  29. shiftless says:

    Really lame, considering many passengers earn more than $25/hour. Lost time due to flight screw ups really costs a lot. At least it’s better than nothing.

  30. acambras says:

    I can understand weather and air traffic control being outside of JetBlue’s control, but crew shortages and maintenance issues seem a little different to me. It seems like improvements in jB’s operations could head off some crew shortages and maintenance problems.

  31. wka says:

    JetBlue’s “Customer Bill of Rights” is online now at http://jetblue.com/about/ourcompany/promise/index.html

    Observations:

    The “Departure Delays” all refer delays due to “Controllable Irregularit[ies].” I see no definition for this term elsewhere in the Bill of Rights or in JetBlue’s Contract of Carriage.

    The “Ground Delays” section does not refer to “Controllable Irregularit[ies]” in defining delays. This is a good thing.

    OVERBOOKINGS
    Customers who are involuntarily denied boarding shall receive $1,000.

    Wow, that’s pretty impressive. OTOH, I don’t know anyone who’s been bumped from a JetBlue flight due to overbooking.

  32. itchy feet says:

    Yes, it’s PR. But when was the last time an airline even made the gesture? Jet Blue deserves another chance to do things right. Time will tell if the company will does its job well, or just do it like all the other airlines.

  33. itchy feet says:

    Yes, it’s PR. But when was the last time an airline even made the gesture? I think they deserve another chance to do things right. Time will tell if they intend to do right by their customers, or just do things like the rest of the carriers.

  34. acambras says:

    The jetBlue CEO was on Letterman last night (Tuesday).

  35. sunnyskies says:

    Before we pat this man on the back – one might read the fine print – “Any delays caused by conditions outside the Airlines area of responsibility – read weather and general air traffic – are NOT covered.”

    So what does that leave?

    I love JetBlue – but they grew too fast, and quietly raised fares. So they caused this problem and are really not coming clean on it yet.

  36. highanddry says:

    I too was stranded last week on a JB flight and not to say that it wasn’t, very inconvienent, but when it is all said and done I was credited 2/3 ‘s of my round trip booking today, and have received credits toward future travel, that is if I plan to revisit my experience. The new Bill of Rights plan may be what many of your suggest is just PR, but to me it has not only made a good impression but truly impacted my finances. Nice to see a company that tries to exceed expectations, although a week too late in this case, it is a true attempt to say sorry rather than better luck next time.

  37. jhauck says:

    The whole “hostage” issue is being swept under the carpet. How many hours can airlines be allowed keep passengers hostage? I don’t care about money or travel vouchers. I don’t want to be trapped on the tarmac in a crowded, sealed coffin for hours for any reason. Last time this happened to me I had a terrifying panic attack.