JetBlue Employees In “Full Scale Revolt” As Airline Melts Down Financially, Mired In Court

JetBlue is struggling, and has been for years. It’s losing money. It lags the industry operationally. While they offer a decent product in the air, they’re confused on the ground. And the product in the air isn’t nearly as good as it used to be.

Ironically the airline chopped the quality of its product over several years to appease Wall Street. It’s no longer as enjoyable to fly, no longer makes the money it used to, and financial analysts are still nipping at its heels.

Over the years it’s tried several strategies to turn itself around. It tried to buy Virgin America but lost out to Alaska. It partnered with American Airlines, but abandoned that alliance as soon as a single district court judge ruled against it – thinking that it could appease regulators and get its Spirit Airlines acquisition done if it wasn’t fighting them on their American deal. But the DOJ’s anti-trust suit against their Spirit merger began this week, and they’re making payments to Spirit shareholders whether they win or not.

Best case scenario is that JetBlue gets to buy Spirit Airlines, which is losing even more money than JetBlue, after overpaying for the carrier and burning cash on lawsuits.

Employees have lost confidence in management, and it’s unclear what possible argument there is for CEO Robin Hayes. Aviation watchdog JonNYC, along with other sources, report that there’s an employee petition of “no confidence” in the CEO and the board’s Chairman in a “full scale revolt.”

JetBlue offers an extra couple of inches in regular economy, like Southwest does. Their wifi is free and people like their snacks. Business class meals are quite good, and flight attendants generally friendly. That makes the airline reasonably good to fly, compared to the low standards of competitors.

But their on-time and flight completion performance lag the industry, and check-in and gate staff often seem confused and unempowered. They’re a mess on the ground and they’re not reliable. They’re losing money, without a clear path to improve. And with the huge integration costs and distractions of merger integration, if their Spirit acquisition strategy is successful their performance may fall even further.

Employees have the sense of a sinking ship after years of mismanagement and the discontent has spilled out into the open.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. […] There’s no secret that JetBlue is struggling. Shares of the airline are down 29% in a year and two-thirds in three years. Their on-time performance has been poor. They’ve degraded their inflight product over the years, reducing the differentiation between them and competitors (although still offering a bit more legroom, seat back TVs, and free Wifi). Employees are unhappy. […]

Comments

  1. Gary, be watchful. I respect your viewpoint, but you may have jumped the shark here.

    I see it all of the time with other industries, so as a result, I’m buying 50k of stock. I will bet $1 it is higher in 6 months.

  2. Take out seats, make the airline first class . Less seats, more legroom. Buy hotels, rent a car,
    buy schools, convert in residential apartments. Make buildings as your city.

  3. Sorry, I love JetBlue. I fly every week and choose JetBlue 3 to 1 over two other major carriers with similar schedules on the same routes.. The planes, the crews, the schedules and the fares are all great. And their customer service is wonderful. I’ve flown more than 3 dozen segments per year on Jetblue for 12 years now. I loath Spirit and am old enough to recall what United did to Continental. I do wish B6 had stuck with their AA partnership. That was the pinnacle for B6.

  4. Hi. I have enjoyed flying with JetBlue over the years and still enjoy their now smaller snacks and friendly staff. I look forward to them solving what issues they may have and, like many flyers, will continue to support them on the Trinidad, Ft Lauderdale, NY and other routes, where one has grown to easily recognise and respect their generally helpful staff. Staff in an industry hit by the pandemic, like many, but still able to make flyers feel OK in a now so restrictive and controlled environment.
    Thank you JetBlue!!

  5. I’m not a frequent flier. Only 2 round trips in the last year. However, my JetBlue experience has been stellar. Not only in air, but also on the ground. Friendly, helpful people on board and in the terminals. Keep up the good work JetBlue.

  6. Customer service is Archaic.

    Attitude is indifference
    And Belligerent.

    This is not the Mentality that built this Company into a first class Contender.

    Sad. Very Sad and unnecessary.

    Just a matter of time.

  7. I hope the merger fails. I love Spirit, its a unique airline with great fares. If the merger happens Spirit will be gone and we’ll be stuck with one mediocre overpriced airline

  8. I have no idea what kind of “revolt” over here at JetBlue. Total misinformation on the part of the author. Moreover, pilots and flight attendants are very satisfied with recent increase in compensation and we’re looking forward for the merger with Spirit.

  9. I don’t know where Gary is getting his info, I work at JetBlue and know of no revolt happening here, we are busy working and wondering what will happen with the spirit acquisition, I’m confused by this article.

    Signed
    Internal employee

  10. I work for JetBlue and have seen no “revolt”. Not even rumors of one. We work hard to provide our customers with a great experience and the majority of them say we provide this. That we go above and beyond other carriers.

  11. At our place (airport) We are short on equipment managers treat employees differ that’s no good . We have lost some really good employees due to mis management. It’s unfortunate it was a great environment to work in now it’s becoming toxic. Am on my way out the door, I tried to get them go union but the union bashing worked. There’s no job security a couple in leadership just want to reprimand employees. I hope they notice and change this asap.

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