How to make a great airline perfect??

Old Sep 19, 06, 3:54 pm
  #1  
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How to make a great airline perfect??

I just PM'd JennyD from the PR department of JetBlue. I am a recent convert from AA but am now addicted. Anyhoo the point of this thread was to kick around an idea or two for the folks at JetBlue about sensible ideas that might improve the airline, maybe re-thinking "accepted" ideas shamelessly taken from less nimble carriers that actually make little or no sense.

I will go first: lounges. One think I like about AA is that I can use airport lounges. The lounges may not always be great and sometimes are dreadful, but they are consistently quieter than the main terminal. JFK is, let's face it, a zoo. A lounge at the JetBlue terminal would be nice. It wouldn't need to be much - quiet is the main thing, so I can keep working while I wait for my flight. Some desks and comfy chairs, work stations, and a zone where you could make a business call without being drowned out by passers-by, announcements, and the like. I would strongly advocate that JetBlue stick with no elite status in TrueBlue, but that it reward its high-rev (usually business) travelers with access to a quiet lounge at JFK (and if it made sense, other airports too). And to make it make sense, "high-rev" as defined would mean you paid a bunch of money for the ticket in your hand. Not last week or last year, this time. So if for instance the capped price is $399 on a route, if you paid more than say, ooh, 75% of that ($300) then you are "high rev" and get to access the lounge. Incentivizes some (like me) to buy up the ticket while not costing JetBlue more in terms of mileage-earned premiums, keeps the cash flowing in (always a good thing) and keeps the foot traffic to a minimum. No membership tracking, no cost tracking, no nothing other than a simple fare query at the front desk. A box on the booking page on the website to show lounge-eligible fares and I would be in heaven.

Anyone else?
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Old Sep 19, 06, 4:24 pm
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Your topic of lounge access is interesting, because I have always thought that a sure-fire way to increase revenue for all airlines is to sell day-passes to the lounge (like they do now) but offer them at a 20% discount ONLY when booking the flight. So let's say a day pass is normally $50. Delta, AA, they all sell them. But if you could get a day pass for $40 for your entire party (those on the same PNR), would you? What percentage of people who buy into it would actually use it? I know it's a little off-topic, but it sorta goes with what you were saying. Either have lounge memberships or sell daypasses... but in your case it's the higher-rev pax for that flight who get in for free. How would we know what the cap for the flight is? Airlines often change their (max) fares between the time of booking and departure.
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Old Sep 19, 06, 4:39 pm
  #3  
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I like the idea of a discount to pre-purchase a day pass to a lounge, because it doesn't just offer an incentive to buy the pass, like membership it brings the cash in in advance of providing the service but unlike membership it ties money spent to service provided. Nice.

My idea would be that JetBlue would set and change the level as it wanted - they would give you the option and if you decided the value of the lounge warranted it, you could pay the requisite ticket price. On Day X the price for lounge access might be a $300 ticket, but if fares moved or JetBlue wanted to, on Day Y it could be a $340 ticket. Or a $280 ticket. Or a $200 ticket. Either way they lay it out there for you to make the value judgment.
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Old Sep 19, 06, 6:27 pm
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I am not sure if linking the cost of the ticket with lounge access would be the best choice for JetBlue. Although I have little experience with the carrier, I think a 3-pronged approach would work best. Sell memberships for those business travelers that give most of their business to JetBlue already, sell day passes (though not nearly at the cost of the major carriers...maybe more like $20), and perhaps reward TrueBlue members with free day passes for every award they earn, or a 3-month membership if you earn 2 awards in a calendar year, or something of that like.
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Old Sep 19, 06, 8:05 pm
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Get rid of the high fat snacks, and offer some fruit. You wouldn't have to get rid of the snacks all together but fruit would be nice. A nice apple, orange, plum, banana, grapes.
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Old Sep 19, 06, 8:12 pm
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Originally Posted by deltajfk
Get rid of the high fat snacks, and offer some fruit. You wouldn't have to get rid of the snacks all together but fruit would be nice. A nice apple, orange, plum, banana, grapes.
Wouldn't that be more expensive for an airline then the bagged food? How many times a week would you need new fruit just to keep it fresh.
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Old Sep 19, 06, 8:32 pm
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There's no such thing as perfect, especially in the airline industry. However, jetBlue does offer a great product and service - but as always, there is definitely room for improvement.

My number-one suggestion that I admit to be stuck on is an inflight magazine!!! The start-up cost will be the major investment, but once it is going, the actual production costs are not so terrible. jetBlue could bring in some nice ad bucks since advertisers would be interested in having that captive audience.

Suggestion # 2 (which has been discussed here and in other places several times): Allow customers to view the aircraft seat map before purchase! I think it will happen soon, it's on a matter of time. Kind of related to this...it would be nice to have the equipment type (E190 or A320) on the time tables and when viewing itineraries before booking. For those who are not as familiar with B6 as us FT-er's, it would be nice to have that info there.

Suggestion # 3: It's a little far-fetched, but can easily happen. Remove one additional row of seats from the A320. However, only do this on a portion of the fleet - this reconfigured mini-fleet can be used for transcon flights only. Since these flights burn the most fuel, tech stops are some times needed in the winter when the jet streams are unusually strong. 6 less seats = less weight due to less seats and less bags. Also, one less FA is needed when the plane has 150 total seats, as per FAA regulations. Therefore, everyone wins: jetBlue wins by not having to spend so much money making a fuel stop enroute, paying 1 less FA per transcon flight and by burning less fuel and the customer wins by all rows having equal legroom at about 34" pitch, which is amazing!

Suggestion # 4: Internet on board...jetBlue won the auction to provide the service and when it does happen...I think jetBlue should definitely charge (some kind of price structure, for example, like: $5 on flghts of 1 hour or less, $10 on flights up to 2 hours, $15 on flights up to 3 hours and $25 on flights up to 6 hours). Also, as an incentive and to take care of very loyal customers, jetBlue can offer promos with this service to existing TrueBlue members AND jetBlue AMEX card holders! For example, offer the service to jetBlue AMEX card holders free for one month of the year. TrueBlue members can be offered a discount such as 1/2 price for one month of the year. Also, this will further improve the inflight experience...for example, in the few cases that the TV does not work, jetBlue offers the movies for free...they can do this with the Internet as well and there is one more IFE option at no charge on such flights. Same goes for flights that encounter very long delays.

Suggestion # 5: Continue to offer the Bliss Spa kit on redeye flights for free...however, offer the same kit on all transcon flights for say $3 or whatever would more than cover the cost to bring in a few more bucks. Also, sell the kits in scattered vending machines at airports like LGB, OAK, BUR, LAS, JFK, BOS, IAD, FLL and MCO.

Suggestion # 6: Have ONE "Name the newest plane contest" for all TrueBlue members. Award the winner with a prize like free flights for you and a companion for one year (maximum of 12 roundtrips), a framed photo of the winner in front of the new plane with the name and of course the trip to Brazil or France.

Suggestion # 7: Advertise more heavily on college campuses (I know they are trying, but there is still much turf to be covered).

Suggestion # 8: Sponsor more sporting events (jetBlue used to sponsor some things at the Yankees...what happened to them there!?) MSG...Knicks, Rangers, Boston...Celtics, Washington...Wizards.............there are many opportunities in the sports area to advertise!

Suggestion # 9: Hold a "jetBlue Trivia" game with prizes to be awarded for jetBlue fans!!!
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Old Sep 19, 06, 11:19 pm
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well to the sporting event sponsorships part, I will say jetblue is a HUGE sponsor of the Buffalo Bills. Name is on their schedule and huge displays and announcements during the games. Im sure its a hell of a lot cheaper than buying ads in NYC or DC but its a start.
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Old Sep 20, 06, 10:54 am
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I know B6 has been doing a good job at improving their destinations. However, filling in the gaps in their current service would be nice. (i.e. year round daytime flight JFK-SEA.) Also, new service to MDW/ORD, DFW/DAL, and MSP would be nice. If they could do that, then I don't have to put up with NW and AA anymore.
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Old Sep 20, 06, 10:59 am
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Also, I do agree about the advertising situation. Proper advertisement is key for growth. For what it's worth, I picked up my brother from EWR last week when he flew B6 in from MCO. While driving down the NJ Turnpike near the airport, I saw a ton of bilboards and the only airline that I notice that did have one was CO (and they only had one- From exit 18W down to exit 14(exit for EWR)). This kind of advertising would great for luring travelers out of EWR.
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Old Sep 20, 06, 6:46 pm
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The ability to search between metropolitan areas would be a useful addition.

For example,
JFK <-> OAK/SJC (and maybe SMF)
LGA/EWR/JFK <-> FLL/PBI (and maybe MCO)
JFK <-> LGB/ONT/BUR
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Old Sep 21, 06, 3:48 am
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As long as the advertisement dont end up on the side of the plane, overhead compartment, tray table, or anywhere else thats seems a bit tacky ala america west / frontier-ish than I'm all for it.
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Old Sep 21, 06, 12:39 pm
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Get rid of the one-year expiration on TrueBlue credits, and not just by signing up and paying the fee for a TrueBlue Amex card. Get some parity with other FFP's by allowing any account activity to extend the expiration date of all the credits.

That's the number one reason I went from flying jetBlue several times a year to none this year. They don't go everywhere I want to go, and since I don't want to waste any miles/points/credits, I now fly airlines that let me build up my FF credits. It stung being half-way to another free B6 ticket and then losing all the credits. Especially since B6 is not a full-service network carrier, it's not realistic to expect that all of one's flying would be on B6 - so let the B6 credits last longer.

A tie-up with some non-US FFP to allow B6 credits to be used for non-B6 destinations such as Europe or S. America would be nice too.
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Old Sep 21, 06, 12:44 pm
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#1 -- Allow us to look at the seat maps before purchasing a ticket.

No matter how good Jetblue is, they won't get my business again until they do.

I know we can call an agent to find out what it looks like. But after a counter agent flat out lied to me last week about seat availability, I no longer trust what they are seeing or saying.
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