A Free Idea for David Neeleman

By Mike Maddaloni on Wednesday, March 14, 2007 at 08:17 AM with 3 comments

I usually come up with ideas when I'm not expecting them. Yesterday, when walking back from The UPS Store, after having a great conversation with the manager Neal about customer service, a thought popped into my head about JetBlue’s woes with people being stranded on their planes. So David Neeleman, CEO of JetBlue, I offer this one to you for free, though I am not sure why you didn’t think of it earlier.

Whenever the status of a flight changes, or whenever it does not change within an acceptable time period, you get an email message. I am willing to bet US$1.00 that you have a BlackBerry (or if you are smart, a Treo 680!) and you are probably on it all day as it is. For example, if a flight does not take off within an hour of its scheduled departure time, you would know, and then you could find out why, and take appropriate action. This would surely have prevented people from being stuck on the tarmac for all of those hours.

Hopefully you are already receiving these emails as I write this. Many of the things we as people and businesses do are in reaction to something. If not, then a simple thank you reply in the blog is all I ask, though now that you are flying into Chicago...

Business • (3) CommentsPermalink


Mike, Unfortunately this probably would not have saved any of those people on the tarmac.  As illustrated that the aircraft were loaded and on ready to go, it was a case of flight operations management.  Being a aviation geek myself I can understand how difficult “Go/No-Go” decision is just flying recreationally.  Imagine when you have 150 paying customers expecting you to get them to their destination through any weather challenge…which is what usually happens.  They will be the first scream should they be delayed by an hour and also the first to sue should something go wrong.  Granted being stuck on a plane on the tarmac for 8 hours is unfathomable but trust me those pilots didn’t enjoy the experience either (their seats are not much more confortable than ours in back) and I will be the US$1.00 that it had more to do with the airport flight operations and the fact that JetBlue is a small entrepenurial airline (like SW) that is rubbing the legacy airlines (United, AA, etc…) faces in it by being as successful as they are.  I just finished reading a book outlining the war that Virgin airlines had to go through against British Airlines to get a couple of gates at Heathrow.  Now imagine have to fight 3-4 British Airlines (United, AA, Delta, US Airways…) to do business and get one gate at O’hare…or to get a gate during a snowstorm that shut down an airport and all flights right just as you were taxiing down the runway to depart.

Picture of Robbo Comment by Robbo
on 03/16/07 at 02:19 PM

Interesting perspective Robbo - so is this more of an airport issue than anything?

I too have sat on a plane for hours, in queue to be de-iced and for take-off.  In that case, there was “hope” of flight, so there were no issues, or overflowing toilets.

Picture of Mike Maddaloni Comment by Mike Maddaloni
on 03/16/07 at 03:53 PM

Sorry, I need to make a correction: British Airways, not airlines. 

By the way, if you want to an example of very very bad customer service…I would propose Comcast.  We have been dealing with then for the past months since we made the very bad decisions to switch from DirecTV.  You think we would have learned our lesson from when we first moved to Chicago and dealt with the same issues.  Being a CRM/CEM On-Demand Consultant I am truly amazed, in fact out of my brain, when we talk to 5 different reps and none of then write notes on our account about our issues…so we start at square one everytime we call.  And googling “I Hate Comcast” only shows that I am not alone.  I understand any service and product is bound to have issues…but their Customer Service is out of this world amazingly bad.

Picture of Robbo Comment by Robbo
on 03/17/07 at 01:35 PM

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