MARCH 5, 2007
Customer Service Champs
BW's first-ever ranking of 25 client-pleasing brands included JetBlue, until it got stuck on the runway
Bob Emig was flying home from St. Louis on Southwest Airlines this past December when an all-too-familiar travel nightmare began to unfold. After his airplane backed away from the gate, he and his fellow passengers were told the plane would need to be de-iced. When the aircraft was ready to fly two and a half hours later, the pilot had reached the hour limit set by the Federal Aviation Administration, and a new pilot was required. By that time, the plane had to be de-iced again. Five hours after the scheduled departure time, Emig's flight was finally ready for takeoff.
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This is another part of BusinessWeek's story on Customer Service.
Satisfaction (not always) Guaranteed
JetBlue, the airline with a once squeaky-clean customer-service record, fell hard this Valentine’s Day when an ice storm left passengers stranded on runways in New York for up to ten hours. But the downward spiral didn’t stop there: JetBlue had to cancel hundreds of flights over the next several days to ease its backlog. Intense media coverage combined with passenger outrage has left the company scrambling to offer full refunds, free flights, promises of major operational changes, and even a passenger bill of rights.
JetBlue joins the dubious ranks of other airline mishaps, including a legendary 1999 Northwest Airlines flight when passengers were trapped on board for seven hours after landing nearly a day late in Detroit. Recently American Airlines made headlines when hundreds of passengers were kept on planes at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport after New Year’s weekend thunderstorms hovered longer than expected.