Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

Notable CEO bloggers Jonathan Schwartz and Bill Marriott "get it." Their posts are personal, timely and tied to company events. It seems that JetBlue's David Neeleman is still a bit of a novice.

JetBlue established David Neeleman's Flight Log as the corporate blog - very corporate - as it exists not as the expected blog.domain.com URL, but under the more formal domain.com/about/ourcompany URL. To me, that means that it's part of the corporate structure rather than a somewhat independent site. It's purely semantic, but the perception matters.

Neeleman's blog is described as follows:
Each week I fly on JetBlue flights and talk to customers so I can find out how we can improve our airline. This is my flight log...
Great premise. If only he followed up on it. In October and November, there were only 4 posts each month; December saw 3; January, only one. And it hasn't been updated since February 1. So let me get this straight. The CEO of an airline flies every week (as one would expect him to do), but his blog is only updated a few times a month?

We all know that JetBlue has been in the news over the past week over a plane full of passengers that sat on a runway for 10 hours. Crisis communications is a natural function of a blog. If I were Neeleman, I'd have made sure that any and all updates related to this public relations and customer service disaster were clearly communicated on my blog.

Mr. Neeleman did take the time to write a very sincere and heartfelt letter to JetBlue customers; this is the very type of entry his blog needs. Perhaps he should take charge of the blog himself and relieve the marketing communications flunky of the underwhelming job he or she has been doing.

Here's Neeleman's letter in full:
Dear JetBlue Customers,

We are sorry and embarrassed. But most of all, we are deeply sorry.

Last week was the worst operational week in JetBlue's seven year history. Following the severe winter ice storm in the Northeast, we subjected our customers to unacceptable delays, flight cancellations, lost baggage, and other major inconveniences. The storm disrupted the movement of aircraft, and, more importantly, disrupted the movement of JetBlue's pilot and inflight crewmembers who were depending on those planes to get them to the airports where they were scheduled to serve you. With the busy President's Day weekend upon us, rebooking opportunities were scarce and hold times at 1-800-JETBLUE were unacceptably long or not even available, further hindering our recovery efforts.

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. We know we failed to deliver on this promise last week.

We are committed to you, our valued customers, and are taking immediate corrective steps to regain your confidence in us. We have begun putting a comprehensive plan in place to provide better and more timely information to you, more tools and resources for our crewmembers and improved procedures for handling operational difficulties in the future. We are confident, as a result of these actions, that JetBlue will emerge as a more reliable and even more customer responsive airline than ever before.

Most importantly, we have published the JetBlue Airways Customer Bill of Rights—our official commitment to you of how we will handle operational interruptions going forward—including details of compensation. I have a video message to share with you about this industry leading action.

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
Founder and CEO
JetBlue Airways

And here's his video message as well.

UPDATE: Neeleman's blog has been updated with the letter as of this morning. But where's the video?

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