Unless you have been out of the country (and I mean way out in the backwoods), you have heard a lot about a certain JetBlue flight attendant. JetBlue is no stranger to conversation, however, usually not this strange.
Normally when JetBlue comes up, it’s around how much better it is than other carriers. Looking more at what the company is doing, it was no surprise to find out that the experience JetBlue has created for its customers has delivered big results . FastCompany reported back in June that JetBlue was not only the top airline brand in the industry but also the #1 brand in the U.S when it comes to social currency.
Looking at the brand report and who else is in the top 5 (BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Apple), Jet Blue’s rapid rise is nothing but incredible. The airline is a little over ten year old and is in the same ranks as premium brands that have been around for decades. I also thought it was interesting that JetBlue was the only service company on this list. This is remarkable considering it is in an industry that is filled with customer frustration (mechanical break-downs, weather, and traffic control are just a few ways that your day can be spoiled while flying).
“People love to talk about JetBlue because the experience is so unexpected. Most airline travel has a particular pattern: small seats, bad entertainment, and little (if any) food. JetBlue breaks this pattern. Leather seats, your own entertainment system with dozens of channels, and at least some choice of food. People can’t stop talking about the experience because they have to express their surprise especially given the “value” price. They are so used to airline travel being poor, late, or uncomfortable these days that cases where a company seems to care and provide good service seems noteworthy. Satisfaction itself is unexpected.”
Following in the footsteps of Southwest, JetBlue eliminated a lot of features that added cost and complexity to the organization. Unlike Southwest, JetBlue wanted to be seen as more than just cheap so it carefully added customer facing features to improve the experience.
So if Southwest is the “Low Cost, No Experience” budget airline, JetBlue is the “Low Cost, Cool Experience” budget airline. Not a bad spot to be while the rest of the industry is busy consolidating unloved brands and merging legacy infrastructures (while finding as many ways as possible to nickel and dime you).
If you listen to JetBlue’s VP of Marketing, Marty St. George, talk about their product it definitely sounds like the company is constantly evaluating plans to keep customers satisfied and talking about the airline.
Speaking on the topic of adding in-air wireless to the fleet Marty commented,
This industry has a habit of adding-in product attributes that don’t really add up. We recognize that what the wireless world will be in two years onboard is really different than right now. People are using [wireless] for in-flight entertainment, their computer or iPad, and we don’t have that exact need because of the 36 channels [JetBlue offers]. At the same time, we have a customer base skewed younger, and more affluent, and we have done a good deal of research on the topic. We are down to the final stages of making a recommendation.
If I had to place a wager, my bet is that JetBlue will be the first airline to offer free wireless on all their aircraft in the next two years. While watching DirectTV is nice, being able to access the net from your laptop, smart phone, iPad, tablet, netbook, and PSP for free will be something that people will rave about.
It will be interesting to see if JetBlue keeps making the right choices to keep their customers talking. Keeping a brand cool over time is not an easy challenge but from the outside, it seems like the company is aiming high.
Picture Credit: Flickr