Sunday, March 4, 2007

My Questions for Neeleman

Because I wasn't allowed to take a video camera or an audio recorder in, I won't be able to give his word-for-word answer, but don't worry you heard his responses a million times before in the media. I'll give you the answers tomorrow, since it's 1:15am. Please note, I didn't get to ask him all the questions.

Thanks for submitting all your questions.


Questions for Neeleman

Valentine’s Day
What time did you wake up on Valentine’s Day? Were you able to spend Valentines Day with your wife?
Where you aware that there were 9 grounded planes at JFK some that had passengers on it for 8+ hours who had no food other than snacks? I’m curious to know if you even found out about it on Valentine’s Day. How far up the chain of command did it go? What is the "chain of command for Jet Blue Airways?
Where were you when you found out about the debacle, who told you and what was your reaction?
I was shocked that you did not make an announcement on the evening of Valentines Day or come to JFK, why didn’t you?

The corporate offices are a 9 minute drive, 5.14 miles away from JFK Airport. Did anyone from the corporate office come to give answers, bring food or lend a hand? If so, who? And what did they do?
Who was the high level executive first at the "massacre"? Mr. Barger (President, COO Director) and Mr. Owen (Exec. VP-Supply Chain and Information Technology)?
Please describe the efforts of the executive who was first on scene?

If Port Authority offered their services to get us off the plane as early as 8am, why were we still on a plane 9 hours after their offer?
Why couldn’t we get to our gate?
Why couldn’t we go to another airline’s gate?
Why wouldn’t other carriers help us rebook our flights as is the case when I fly with other airlines?
Why wouldn’t you offer to refund the cost to rebook with another carrier for people chose that option?

I’ve read somewhere that this is going to be a $30MM loss for JetBlue. What would be the loss if someone had died on your plane?

How did people checking the internet know the flight was cancelled before the crew members.

The message on the phone system asked us to go to the website for any other questions-
How do you suggest people on a plane use the website?
How does one use the advertised free wireless within the JetBlue terminal when it wasn’t working?
How do you explain to an elderly person who doesn’t understand email how to rebook their flights online?

Since Feb 14, Charlie, who has a chronic back problem and has to heavily medicate to even fly cross-country, had to get his first epidural cortisone shot in 6 months. Katty, who was recovering from shoulder surgery has since been in pain and now says she suffers panic attacks when the subway stalls between stops. How do you compensate people’s physical and emotional pain?

How do you compensate the lost opportunities that are a direct result of not being able to make alternate plans due to the breakdown in communications?

How did you hear about my blog? Why did you really call me in and not Kate Hanni from Stranded Passenger?
Whose idea was it to register the .net version of my domain and why?
Why did JetBlue decide to refer to the February 14th incident as “The Valentine’s Day Massacre?”
I was told you were interested in me consulting on the creation of a consumer advisory board. What is the status of this?

Would you agree with the following statement: "Northwest Airlines, in 1999, suffered a nearly identical delay/cancellation scenario, as the one Jet Blue Airways experienced on Valentine's Day 2007"?
The Northwest delay/cancellation scenario occurred in 1999, prior to the inception of Jet Blue Airways. It is reasonable to conclude that Jet Blue Airways was aware that such a malady could befall an airline? I heard you say on the Investor relations call on Feb 22nd that it should never happen to another airline again, but why didn’t the precedent set by Northwest be enough of a lesson?

Bill of Rights:
According to your investor relations call, you were already honoring 75% the Bill Of Rights prior to Feb 14th, however, it didn’t prevent the events on Feb 14th from happening. Why is it going to be different now?

I understand Rob Land, who helped pen the Bill Of Rights, was going to be in this meeting and that the outcome of this meeting was to help with the creation of version 2. Why are you creating a second version of the Bill of rights?
What do YOU think are its shortcomings?

Would you consider promoting the CURRENT JetBlue Bill of Rights as an industry wide incentive and allow the government to police it? What is the difference between the government regulating it and JetBlue if it is the SAME Bill Of Rights?
Are you opposed to being federally regulated? All other industries: Automotive, TV, Movie, Music, food and Drug, are.
What role should the Government have, if any, in a Passenger "Bill of Rights"?

If Government involvement is the issue, how would you feel about putting a certain amount of money into an escrow and allowing an independent entity to disperse the compensation on your behalf?

Looking over the Bill of Rights, it seems hardly fair that customers who experience a ground delay on arrival of 3 hours or more or on departure of 4 hours or more would get a free round trip ticket equal to the amount spent for their round trip. If I were on an overbooked flight on another carrier and volunteered to give up my seat, I would get a free ticket anywhere in the country and likely get an upgrade on my next flight out. It seems hardly fair that someone would get better compensation for voluntarily “inconveniencing” themselves as opposed to someone who is held against their will.

Another loophole that exists is what I like to call being penalized for planning ahead. Please indulge the following scenario. I am stuck on a plane for 4 hours. I, who planned ahead and bought a ticket 21 days in advance, paid $119 each way. The person next to me, who had to take this flight last minute and bought a ticket that day, purchased his ticket for $575 each way. We are both on the same flight, experiencing the same delay, however, he now has a voucher for $1150 and I have one for $238.
Consider this a freebie. A loophole I found in Overbookings is that it is common practice to over book a flight, say, 15 people (I’m just pulling this number out of a hat.) In these cases, the gate agents ask for volunteers to give up their seats in return for a free round trip ticket anywhere they fly in the US. Your current Bill of Rights, as it is written, incentivizes people to NOT give up seats because there will be 15 people getting $1000. As such no one would voluntarily give up a seat.

Do you think it’s humane to keep people on a plane for 5 hours?

Let’s talk about Robert Alvarez. Are you aware that two separate people wrote in to complain about Robert Alvarez?

Have you ever stated that you would "resign as CEO" if the Pilots of Jet Blue Airways were to join or form a union?
How many other airlines are not unionized?

According to your investor relations call, Mid-level management was at fault for keeping us on the plane among other things. Given that statement, how are you not firing anyone?

As CEO, how could you not be aware that so a large percentage of your staff are insufficiently trained?

I have a few concerns about crew time.
Did Jet Blue Airways ever engage in an initiative to extend the "duty time" of flight deck crew members without the approval of FAA officials in Washington D.C.?
Do you know the number of commercial aviation accidents, where fatalities occurred, that the National Transportation and Safety Board cited "crew fatigue" as either a "contributing" or "primary" factor?
Does Jet Blue Airways have any interest in extending pilot duty time?

Other Mea Culpas:
In September 2003 did JetBlue apologize for participating in highly confidential personal data sharing?
Why can I not find a press release with the apology on the JetBlue corporate site?
Was Jet Blue in any way compensated for sharing this confidential information?
Did Jet Blue Airways "counsel" know that the information was been shared?
Did you compensate passengers whose personal information was shared?

In Closing:
Would you be willing to sit with people on Flight 351 on a national talk show?
Can you make a video addressing the readers the blog?
What are your plans for tonight? Don’t leave your desk for 11 hours.