Thursday, 13 August 2009

Bringing humanity back to air travel – the JetBlue way

JetBlue have recently announced its dedication to ‘bring humanity back to air travel’. It claims to be ‘America’s first and only airline to offer its own Customer Bill of Rights, with meaningful and specific compensation for customers inconvenienced by service disruptions within JetBlue’s control.’ What does this promise really mean, and what kind of improvement is it going to bring to passengers stuck on tarmac? For me, there is not much to cheer about as the JetBlue’s definition of ‘humanity’ assumes keeping passengers onboard for 5 hours before they will be allowed to deplane. Besides, the ‘meaningful’ compensation includes a range of passengers vouchers good for future travel on JetBlue (how many ‘tarmac’ passengers will ever want to repurchase?). On the positive side, JetBlue will provide customers experiencing an onboard ground delay with 36 channels of DIRECTV®*, food and drink, access to clean restrooms and, as necessary, medical treatment. Oh, I forgot free movies for customers whose flight is delayed 3 hours or more after scheduled departure on flights that are 2 hours or longer!

If other airlines start to follow suit and each of them introduces their own Customer Bill of Rights, the 'air travel humanity’ may get many different shapes.