JetBlue To Most Loyal Customers: We're Too Busy To Help You, Sorry
from the ouch dept
Nearly six years ago, there was a fantastic article in Inc. Magazine about how JetBlue’s CEO and founder, David Neeleman, regularly worked on flights as a flight attendant to better connect with JetBlue customers and understand what they needed. It’s really a tremendous article — and it wasn’t initiated by a PR push, but by a reporter who just happened to be on one of those flights and experienced the whole thing first hand. It’s really an amazing story of customer service, something that JetBlue had a strong reputation for in the early days. I experienced a lot of that first hand as I flew JetBlue pretty often. However, a few years ago, things changed, culminating in the infamous JetBlue “Valentine’s Day Massacre” of ridiculously bad customer service on a busy day, which is now a Harvard Business School case study. While I wasn’t there, a separate incident around that time (involving getting stuck at the landing gate and unable to get out of the gate area for 45 minutes — yes on landing, not departure — due to overcrowding) had me switch to other airlines.
Neeleman insisted that he would fix the problems, but he didn’t get the chance. Just a few months later he was pushed out, and many people warned that this was a massive mistake, because he was being replaced by operational people who didn’t have the passion to fix JetBlue like Neeleman did. It seems like this has happened.
The company recently switched to a new reservation system, and it’s been a huge mess according to a bunch of folks who regularly fly JetBlue. Worst of all, the switchover basically screwed over JetBlue’s most loyal customers, changing the terms of their rewards offerings (expiring their points in one year, rather than letting them last forever if you had a JetBlue AmEx) and also telling those TrueBlue members they could no longer redeem frequent flyer passes using the website. Instead, they had to call. Yes, the airline that pioneered pushing flyers to use the website rather than call has gone the other direction.
And guess what a mess that caused? A good friend of mine who regularly flies JetBlue (at least once a month) wanted to redeem a “TruePass” for an upcoming trip, and after discovering that the website could no longer do it, she called and was told that hold times were 60 minutes or more. So she waited. And was then was disconnected by JetBlue customer service twice — once on purpose after she asked for the customer service representative’s name, and that representative apparently didn’t want to give it out. So, in response, my friend emailed in a complaint to JetBlue, and JetBlue’s response was: we’re too busy to look at your email or help you. Seriously:
Thank you for contacting JetBlue Airways regarding your TrueBlue account. JetBlue has just completed transitioning to a new reservation system and as a result, the TrueBlue help desk is currently receiving a high volume of email and can no longer accept them at this time. We apologize for the inconvenience.
The email then pointed her to the JetBlue website, though it again noted that “Old TrueBlue points that appear in your online account summary can not be booked through jetblue.com. To book Award travel using these old points, please call us at 1-800-JETBLUE.” Of course, that was exactly what she was complaining about.
Apparently JetBlue has decided that helping its most loyal customers is too much trouble. Sorry. Too busy. From the airline that pioneered friendly airline customer service to this… in just a few years time is really quite a travesty.