Newspaper's Error Confuses, Angers JetBlue Customers

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote an article about JetBlue’s 1 year anniversary in Pittsburgh. In honor of that momentous occasion, JetBlue was offering a heck of a deal. TrueBlue members could “reserve a flight leaving Pittsburgh between June 26 and Nov. 15 and complete that reservation no later than June 30,” and by doing so earn a free flight.

Many of the Gazette’s readers did just that, but didn’t receive their free flight. Now they’re writing to the Gazette to complain about JetBlue.

What the Post-Gazette and that first JetBlue telephone representative failed to mention is that Ms. Clipper also needed to access a special Web address created strictly for the purpose of tracking the promotion. JetBlue included the temporary link (www.jetblue.com/pittsburgh) in a news release, but the Post-Gazette directed passengers to the company’s main Web site — http://www.jetblue.com, which lacked any mention of the free-ticket promotion.

In the past month and a half, 16 passengers have contacted the Post-Gazette, via e-mail or phone, to complain about the offer. Some blame the Post-Gazette for not providing enough information. Some blame JetBlue for not living up to its promise of a free flight — regardless of how the details may have been misconstrued. Only one of the 16 angry passengers — Kelly O’Toole of Marshall — has thus far persuaded JetBlue to give her the free flight. Ms. O’Toole, like Ms. Clipper, said she talked to a JetBlue customer service worker before booking her flight and was never told about the existence of a separate Web site

JetBlue is now “examining the Pittsburgh complaints on a “case by case” basis,” according to their spokesperson. One Gazette reader said that a JetBlue rep told her it was the newspaper’s fault. “We cannot be held responsible because [the reporter] failed to mention important details on how to qualify for the promotion,” said the CSR.

JetBlue’s spokesperson seems to agree:

“I certainly understand the frustration for people who thought they were doing everything right and it turns out they weren’t,” he said. But he argued that JetBlue did its best to communicate all details of the offer to the Post-Gazette.

“I’m sorry that you’ve received calls from individuals who didn’t qualify for this promotion,” he said in a prior e-mail. “While in the past your reporting has always been accurate, this time a critical point was missed.”

Confusion over 2-for-1 offer frustrates JetBlue customers [Post-Gazette]
(Photo:Meghann Marco)

Comments

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  1. Cowboys_fan says:

    I’m with jetBlue on this one, for the most part. It was a mistake on the part of journalist, albeit a small one. The csr’s however maybe should have known so jetBlue should shoulder a little blame. I think the post-gazette and jetBlue ought to come together and collectively compensate misinformed passengers. It sure shows what irresponsible journalism can do!

  2. Buran says:

    Why is it so hard for the paper to print the correct link, and for the airline to also put a link on its site once it realized where the problem was originating? It’s always faster to update a Web site than it is to fix a printed paper by printing a correction which many people will miss.

  3. not_seth_brundle says:

    JetBlue should step up and honor the promotion. The newspaper correctly printed the promotional offer, but incorrectly printed the terms of redemption. Which Web site people click through to redeem is ultimately just a technicality.

  4. DashTheHand says:

    Honestly, JetBlue SHOULD fix the problem now, re

  5. DashTheHand says:

    … regardless of the mistake of the reporter. Its not like they weren’t going to give those flights for free anyways, so just buck up and give the same deal for those people that were going to get it anyways. Trying to be a weasel and saying “you f’d up and didn’t use this portal instead of this one, haha, no soup for you” is just a douchey move.

  6. Lordstrom says:

    Obligatory “People still read papers?” post.

  7. ChrisC1234 says:

    I ALWAYS make sure I can check the fine print before trying to get some sort of special promotion. Just because the newspaper said it does NOT mean it’s real… Caveat emptor

  8. Brad says:

    While it is unusual for me to make a statement like this, I am with JetBlue on this one. Promotions such as this, often come with very exacting requirements. If JetBlue provided those details to the paper, then the paper is at fault. I believe that the Post-Gazette should compensate these consumers for their flights.

  9. nursetim says:

    @Buran:
    This was an offer targeted at the Pittsburgh market, so the airline likely wouldn’t put the link on their main website, hence the use of the special link.

    I think that JetBlue could fix this easily enough by giving the free flight to anyone who reserved a flight with a Pittsburgh ZIP code that didn’t use the special link. The paper should run a full page ad with the correct information to make up for their goof.

  10. nursetim says:

    @lorddave:
    The special link was not included in the ad, so unless you had inside info on the special, you wouldn’t know.

  11. cryrevolution says:

    @Cowboys_fan: I’m with you on that one.

  12. GreatCaesarsGhost says:

    @nursetim:
    The problem with JetBlue giving a free flight to anyone is people who were not drawn in by the promo will use it. Boo hoo for corporate America I know, but offering B1G1 is much different than a totally free seat if you flew with us in the past.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Dan over at Dansdeals caught the paper’s mistake in the first place back in june and has an interesting take on this:
    [www.dansdeals.com]