Nine JetBlue flights at JFK airport were delayed for up to 11 hours because of serious inclement weather in 2007. Flights get to be delayed very often, so it would not be a big deal, but JetBule decided to keep its nearly 1,000 passengers trapped in the runway-bound planes for the entire time.
Passengers claim was that they were not informed, but according to the CBS News they were horrified. The article quotes one of the passengers:
“It was the worst. It was horrific,” Cheryl Chesner said.
Then, JetBlue Airways Corp. spokesman Bryan Baldwin explained to the media and talked about misfortunate decisions.
Benoit’s Image Restoration Strategy
First step in Image Restoration is simple denial or shift the blame to someone else. JetBlue took a step back and tried to shift the blame on weather conditions, not taking the full responsibility right away.
According to the CBS News article JetBlue CEO David Neeleman told CNBC television: “It’s going to certainly impact us, and it’s going to be many millions of dollars that we’re going to lose from this. I don’t blame our customers for being upset with this,” he added.
Also, in the first contact with press spokesman Bryan Baldwin was the first one that communicated with media and told them that: “We ended up with a gridlock situation where we couldn’t move any of the aircraft at the gates.”
Second stage is to evade responsibility. JetBlue initial response was based on defeasibility, which means that they did not know any better, as well as, weather condition accident that they had “no control” over. The JetBlue scandal in 2007, was treated as the case of accident that was the initial blame.
“It didn’t work as well as we planned,” Baldwin said. “It’s going to take longer than we anticipated to do that.”
“The airline said 10 incoming and outbound flights at John F. Kennedy International Airport were “significantly delayed” with customers on board during Wednesday’s storm. Reasons included congestion, frozen equipment and an effort to keep planes ready to go in case the weather broke, Baldwid for CBS News.
Third step in Image Restoration Strategy for JetBlue scandal was to reduce offensiveness by compensation the costs of the airfare.
JetBlue tried to calm a maelstrom of criticism after passengers were left the New York airports, which they were hold on for last 11 hours. Therefore, the company offered passengers full refund on their airfare and promise that they are looking into not making the same mistake in the future:
“JetBlue will review the day’s events to determine whether it could have handled the storm differently and how to prevent similar problems from arising again, Baldwin said.”
Fourth step is to take an action in crisis. The action that JetBlue took was acknowledgment of their actions and taking blame for their actions and agreeing that they could have make better informed decisions next time.
They promised to look into to situation to prevent it from happening next time.
Lastly, the final step is to apologize. The apology letter from Founder and CEO JetBlue Airways David Neeleman was directed to its frequent fliers.
“Words cannot express how truly sorry we are for the anxiety, frustration and inconvenience that we caused. This is especially saddening because JetBlue was founded on the promise of bringing humanity back to air travel and making the experience of flying happier and easier for everyone who chooses to fly with us.”
Letter explained that they agree and admit the mistake and want to make sure the situation won’t happen again.
“You deserved better — a lot better — from us last week. Nothing is more important than regaining your trust and all of us here hope you will give us the opportunity to welcome you onboard again soon and provide you the positive JetBlue Experience you have come to expect from us.”
David Neeleman also created personal video response, where he explained the situation and apologize to its consumers.
In summary, I think that JetBlue successfully defend their image. The CEO’s apologies were sincere and I think the video apologies were personal and more effective. The argument was that they were acting unethically holding their passengers in the plane for over 11 hours; however, they agreed that they made a mistake.
According to consequentialism, JetBlue knew that they should have acted differently and they try to fix their image and apologize to its consumers.
Elliott, C. (2007, February 21). JetBlue’s apology – Elliott. Retrieved April 17, 2016, from http://elliott.org/blog/jetblues-apology/
JetBlue apologizes after passengers stranded. (2007, February 16). Retrieved April 17, 2016, from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/17166299/ns/travel-news/t/jetblue-apologizes-after-passengers-stranded/#.VxOe_Xhurww
Reals, T. (2007, February 25). JetBlue Attempts To Calm Passenger Furor. Retrieved April 17, 2016, from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/jetblue-attempts-to-calm-passenger-furor/