Crisis Management with a human face: JetBlue

Braniff.  The first premium brand airline.  Long gone, of course…
Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, it can all go very badly wrong. JetBlue, the low-cost american airline which not too long ago faced people watching their own stricken plane on CNN, had a load of issues due to snowstorms Stateside in the last week. As a low cost carrier their margin for error in terms of timings and tech are less than zero. Countless people had their flights cancelled and lives disrupted. Of course there was a firestorm of negative press coverage.

PR 101 suggests putting out a reactive statement out and doing a few interviews in hopes of stopping the brand rot. Instead, in what might be a first, JetBlue CEO David Neeleman put out a very human, personal statement on YouTube which was noticed by a very clued up veteran in my office. He looks visibly shaken, concerned, humble and ultimately likeable. Also, he gets to speak without quickfire cutting and media distortions. So far there are even some sympathetic noises in the comments and the vid has a three star rating. The innovation and courage involved deserves credit.


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