On behalf of the JetBlue community, I really am sorry for your friend's experience. We are working very hard to reduce call times, but a reservation cutover has been compared to an engine change in the middle of the Indy 500 for good reason. (More here on that: http://www.planebuzz.com/2010/02/the_super_human_it_effort_a_re.html)
I am the director of corporate communications for JetBlue, and I appreciate the opportunity to give you a little more color commentary on what's happened, what's happening now, and what's going to happen at JetBlue.
Yes, Feb. 14, 2007 happened. As a result, we created the industry's first and only Bill of Rights that provides customers relevant and meaningful compensation for flight delays resulting from events within JetBlue's control. That was entirely Mr. Neeleman's idea, and frankly, his best legacy to the airline he founded.
Harvard Business School did, indeed, do a case study on it. Only it was about our textbook recovery, not the necessarily the incident alone.
The core of the issue though is long hold times for our specialty desks, which include TrueBlue, as we complete our cutover to Sabre. Long hold times are not the norm, obviously, but for the next several weeks, as our crewmembers develop expertise with the new system, we will experience longer than usual hold times and transaction times. An email was sent to all TrueBlue members in January notifying them of this cutover, and the anticipated consequences. Hold times are going to about 20 minutes in the off-peak hours (as you would expect, off-peak is usually when the world is asleep).
Points don't expire as long as you earn points by flying JetBlue or using the JetBlue Card from American Express on eligible purchases at least once in a 12-month period.
And finally, we are never too busy for our customers. Ever. Hold times at 800-JETBLUE are 0 minutes. Yes, our specialty desks are holding calls, but we are adding newly trained crewmembers to those desks every day. I will put the passion our crewmembers have for our customers up against anyone - airline or other industry - any day. They are gaining experience in this new system quickly and they are highly motivated to serve our customers, and I know they would want your readers to know that.
Thanks for the opportunity to give our side of the story. And again, I really am sorry your friends did not get the level of service they have come to expect from JetBlue. I hope they give us another opportunity to earn their loyalty.