jetBlue is in the midst of a meltdown. They’ve scrubbed a boatload of flights tomorrow, the fifth consecutive day of cancellations following a Northeast ice storm. Passengers are up in arms.
There was a call for congressional hearings after a recent debacle by American Airlines in Austin, TX. Whether hearings accomplish anything or not, I see them as certain now.
I don’t know much about the airline business, but I can tell you why jetBlue is having the problems they’re having. To a large extent, it’s because there is no jetBlue!
I look upon jetBlue as a virtual company. It doesn’t own its planes. It doesn’t do most of its maintenance (much of which is performed in El Salvador). Its telephone reservation system is based in Salt Lake City and mostly staffed by women working from home.
Is jetBlue the top priority of any of their contractors?
jetBlue is perfectly staffed… as long as nothing goes wrong. In real life, things go wrong.
Unfortunately, what has happened to jetBlue will happen in more and more places with more and more companies. Since passengers won’t be locked in place for ten or twelve hours we won’t hear as much about them.
Companies are cutting away as much cost as they can and that certainly extends to any protection against unusual failure. There is no profit in standby contingencies.
You see this all the time in stores, with fewer staff members or less competent staff. Here’s what Floyd Norris of the Times said in his blog about the former chairman of Home Depot, Bob Nardelli.
In some ways, we bring this on ourselves. We’re willing to shop entirely on price. I’m guilty myself, even though it’s often bad in the long run.
Years ago, when most stores were closed on Sunday’s, my father used to say, “If you don’t want to work Sunday, don’t shop Sunday.” The same applies today. If you don’t want to suffer bad service, don’t shop where service is not a priority.
Easier said than done, I’m sure.
¹ – When he was drummed out, Nardelli received a king’s ransom in severance. Norris added, “Perhaps Lowe