JetBlue in Crisis Mode

Social Media crises are bound to happen; they’re inevitable. Does that mean corporations should sit back and let the crisis take over? Absolutely not.

This past weekend, JetBlue was forced to re-direct flights because of the early arrival of some wintry weather in the Northeast. Passengers on the plane from Florida were expecting to land in Newark, NJ. Instead, they were stuck on the plane at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut. Unfortunately, this was not a “regular” delay. The plane was on the tarmac for seven hours.

Photo Courtesy of JetBlue's Facebook Page

Now, it’s all over the Internet.

ABC explains the inclement weather leaves “JetBlue in damage control mode.” Clearly. Passengers are mad and lashing out. Even the pilot was frustrated with his own company.

So, I know we are all asking the same question. How did JetBlue handle the crisis?

COO Rob Maruster apologizes – On October 31, JetBlue’s blog featured a video apology from Maruster explaining the circumstances and asking for a second chance. Check out the video and comments here.

Was the apology enough? Apparently not. People want more than an apology. They were stuck on the plan for almost 8 hours, and they don’t think Maruster’s apology is enough. One comment even says, “Your words say one thing and your facial expressions say different. Your video is not one of true honest sincerity.”

People are still angry and they want answers.

Passengers are writing their opinions on JetBlue’s Facebook page. They want JetBlue to know their frustrations. According to the Facebook page, people are sticking by JetBlue. However, the reply to disgruntled passengers is scripted and insincere. It doesn’t recognize each passengers frustration.

Do you think JetBlue handled the crisis well? What could they have done better? Do you think Maruster’s apology is insincere?

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5 thoughts on “JetBlue in Crisis Mode

  1. ‎”Despite calls for doom, we’re planning to operate a full schedule today. Expect delays this evening as rain turns to snow in NE.”

    — JetBlue Airways COO Rob Maruster, tweeting @JetBlueCOO the morning of the snowstorm that would strand flight 504 for seven hours at Hartford’s Bradley Airport. 29 October 2011.

  2. Perhaps unsurprisingly, JetBlue was in this situation a few years ago. At the time, this apology from CEO David Neeleman was recognized as an almost-perfect apology in both tone and message.

    So, problem solved? Apparently not. Not only does this latest video feel wooden and insincere, but anyone who remembers the 2007 incidents should rightly shame JetBlue for failing to learn from its previous mistakes. Customers are right to be outraged, especially since the company had already promised this would never happen again. As for their attempts to handle the problem via social media (or lack of attempt I should say), anything short of groveling seems too little. It never should have happened in the first place, so I’ll be looking to see what JetBlue gives back to its customers to repent.

  3. I agree with Matthew that the apology video from 2007 came off as sincere, while the latest one is completely unconvincing. Rob Maruster’s video actually came out a day after JetBlue’s first attempt at apologizing in the form of a blog post – http://blog.jetblue.com/index.php/2011/10/30/dreaming-of-a-white-halloween-information-regarding-this-weekends-storm/. Keep scrolling, the actual apology doesn’t come until the second to last paragraph. I think JetBlue underestimated how upset people actually were, while overestimating how understanding people would be that the delay was caused by an unpredictable storm. JetBlue’s handling of the situation has left a bad taste in people’s mouths, but will it stop people from booking those cheap flights? Probably not.

  4. As you can see, most of us seem to be commenting on this particular post because we have all heard and seen this happen before. Infact, Matthew stole my thunder (just kidding) because my blog for this week is about the “perfect and the not-so-perfect apology.” You can bet i’ll be including CEO David Neeleman’s example in there. I am a little bias because I personally like JetBlue and so it annoys me even more when I see them going down this path. American Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest and Virgin America are on my list for my “favorite airlines,” and unfortunately 2 out of those 4 have been impacted and in the news for all the wrong reasons recently. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they will recover and get themselves out of this mess soon. Hey, no harm is hoping for the best…Right?

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