JetBlue’s Problems

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.

He was a man who thought he was worth unlimited amounts, and yet messed up the company by a desire to slash compensation expenses. He pushed out experienced store workers, figuring part-timers were cheaper, and did not realize in time that those knowledgeable workers were critical to the willingness of amateurs to shop there&#185

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.

&#185 – When he was drummed out, Nardelli received a king’s ransom in severance. Norris added, “Perhaps Lowe

My Apology to Krispy Kreme

Floyd Norris, writing in today’s New York Times, had this startling revelation:

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, the hot new stock offering of 2000 that stayed hot even as other new offerings plunged, has suddenly chilled. It blames the Atkins diet.

Don’t give Krispy Kreme my address. I’ve been low carbing it for 2.5 months now, and am down around 22 pounds. I’m pleased, even if Krispy Kreme isn’t.

Actually, Krispy Kreme has always been a bit of a disappointment to me. My reaction after eating my first Krispy Kreme donut, in Las Vegas a few years ago, was, “too small.”

I am a Dunkin’ Donuts guy. They are an Eastern chain of coffee/donut shops. Their coffee is my favorite – smooth and rich. Now that I’m not eating sugar, the smoothness of their coffee is even more important. Their bagels are… I’m not going to talk about it since one bagel has more grams of carbohydrates than I’ll ingest this week and next.

I have low carbed at least three or four times, always gaining back the weight. Every time I diet, I hope to have restraint down the road. I’m hoping for that now. If dieting only immunized you against weight gain in the future!

There must be a boatload of people doing Atkins or South Beach or any number of low carbohydrate diets to cause this kind of tumult at the donut shop. Certainly Subway is benefiting, with it’s Atkins wraps and salads. I hope the bakers all hang on until my diet is over

He who lives by the glazed pastry dies by the glazed pastry.