New Airline Ad Campaign Attacks American, Delta, and United

The Wright Brothers first took flight but JetBlue is using the ‘Alright Brothers’ to describe what’s wrong with fly on other airlines as part of their new campaign that seeks to describe what’s different about the airline.

Most airline advertising fails because it doesn’t tell you why you should fly the airline or because it can’t do so with a straight face.

Here’s one spot of the campaign:

Flying JetBlue domestically is a little bit better than flying coach on United, American, or Delta. They offer a little bit more legroom, like Delta they offer seat back video, and they offer free internet.

Most people don’t realize that Southwest Airlines carries more domestic passengers than any other airline. Flying Southwest is also better, employees don’t hate their jobs and they give you a little more personal space.

However JetBlue isn’t nearly as good as it once was, they even led last year’s checked bag fee increase. They’ve squeezed seats, just not as much. And their Achilles heel is operational reliability,

  • They are generally in the bottom half of the industry in on time operations
  • They don’t interline with other domestic carriers, so when flights cancel you’re stuck waiting for another JetBlue flight which can even take days
  • They have even had historically higher rates of involuntary denied boarding than other carriers, even with a policy of not overbooking their cabins (this is because of changing aircraft, swapping to planes with fewer seats than they’ve sold).

And of course JetBlue can barely be said to have a loyalty program.

I do think that Southwest and JetBlue and to some extent Alaska are better than Delta which is better than American (which I’d fly over United because I care about working internet). However make no mistake: JetBlue has worked hard to become more like its legacy competitors in recent years, not less like them.

What I respect more than an ad campaign though is action. Alaska and Delta make a performance commitment delivering checked bags and compensation you if they fail to meet that. I’d love to see JetBlue make a commitment and advertise it.

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, 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. Alaska I agree however I am seeing some fraying around the edges in customer service. As a member of their MM I am not too happy with some of the service at the gates as once was having said that the service does take time to catch up with growth.On board its the Alaska we all know and love. Still little quirky as they always have been. AA is a dump, United so so. DL is not as bad as it once was however they’re still leading the pack when it comes to whiners, ie ME3. I think a lot of us FF are tired of hearing their incessant whine’s

  2. @ ghostrider 5408
    Well said except
    Maybe Delta flyers have some very good reasons to whine
    And I’ve heard them say they are tried of hearing you whine about their whining
    Alaska Flyer here too

  3. I will never fly JetBlue again. They lost my wife’s luggage on the way to our honeymoon, and it took them more than a MONTH to find it. Somehow, it wound up thousands of miles away in Africa, and I’m betting we’d never have gotten it back if my wife hadn’t been so aggressive about badgering them day after day. They offered us no extra miles as an apology, no extra compensation, nothing. They did the bare minimum and that was it – reimbursed the costs we incurred, but nothing more. Hard to believe they’ve made an effort at getting even worse since 2015, when they showed us how incompetent their whole operation is…

  4. The way I see it… Delta and JetBlue try to differentiate themselves are “premium” airlines and thus charge a premium.
    Southwest tries to be extra friendly and give the appearance of fewer fees. Their model only works in some markets; as they’ve pulled out of numerous markets and routes, it’s clear the model is starting to crack.
    Spirit, Allegiant, and Frontier try to have the lowest possible costs, service, most fees.
    American…they are just a mess. They want to be high fare, low frills, bad morale.
    United… they aren’t really sure what they are… just a mix somewhere between DL and AA.

    I think this ad is too generic. AA and UA are who I think of in the ad, not DL.

  5. I’d add another to your list of problems with JetBlue:

    Rather limited route map. If I want to go from the East Coast to the West, or from either coast to Florida – then JetBlue might work. Otherwise – mostly irrelevant.

    “Just alright is fine by me. As an alternative to no service.”

  6. As great as Jet Blue can be, it does not matter as it is all negated by their horrible on time performance. EVERY flight I have taken between PDX-JFK (both ways) has been delayed.

  7. You miss why Alaska is better than the rest.
    It’s their customer service when there is a delay or something goes wrong

  8. Yep, the JetBlue of now’s business model has been reduced from its founder, David Neeleman’s, vision of “Bringing Humanity Back To Flying”, and later, his successor as CEO, Dave Barger’s, “You Above All” to “We’ve Joined The Airline Industry’s Race To The Bottom & Just Want To Suck A Little Less than Delta (& The Others Who Are Worse)”.

    In fact, just a few weeks ago, not only did JetBlue leave a friend I booked on its JFK-BUR nonstop completely in the lurch when they canceled his flight when he got to JFK, and rebooked him on its flight to Ontario (nearly 60 miles away from BUR) instead of one of its flights to LAX, but Delta really stepped up that afternoon and offered some of the best customer service bar none that I’ve seen anywhere, let alone for an airline after he reached out to me to say his flight was canceled and they put him on a flight to ONT instead of the much closer airport to Burbank – LAX.

    So, I reached out to Delta to see if I could set up his booking on one of their JFK-LAX nonstops so that all my friend had to do is present his credit card and picture ID and be on the way – and that’s exactly how they did it.

    It was a tremendous help, and my friend was really happy about how everything worked out.

    JetBlue, on the other hand, would only offer a 5:30am departure to LAX the next morning, which would’ve forced my friend to go back to his apartment in Midtown Manhattan, and arrive back at JFK at 4am the next morning.

    To say he and I were very disappointed with how JetBlue handled his booking would be an understatement – especially since he purchased the add-on for “Even More Space” on the outbound flight, and then paid the highest fare AND “Even More Space” for his return flight, so he certainly paid considerably more than the lowest possible fare for his itinerary.

    Anyhow, Delta really came through that day, and then some – and I cannot say it enough how impressive, and a pleasant surprise at that, it was.

    Lastly, JetBlue’s abandonment of its flyer friendly “Bringing Humanity Back To Flying” to join the industry’s race to the bottom is something I began writing about extensively two years ago, so it’s always gratifying when my commentaries and analysis from years’ past are yet again revealed as being insightful and spot on! 🙂

    Very gratifying!

  9. Addendum:


    Thanks for providing the link to Joe Branatelli’s 2014 great column re JetBlue crossing over to the dark side and abandoning David Neeleman’s vision of “Bringing Humanity Back To Flying” to “We Suck A Little Less Than Everyone Else.”

    I wasn’t aware of Joe’s 2014 commentary and analysis until reading it moments ago, and in 2014 wasn’t following the airline industry as diligently then as I have since 2016/2017.

    So, while obviously Joe’s commentary and analysis regarding JetBlue’s decline into mediocrity and seeking to suck just a little less than everyone else precedes mine by three years, I wasn’t aware anyone else had felt similarly.

    Just the same, credit for spotting that tragic decline at JetBlue by Joe in 2014 is rightfully his to claim!

    So, while I’m proud to have reached a similar conclusion a few years later, I’ll revise my comments above to say I wholeheartedly agree with Joe – and Gary’s VFTW post above – that JetBlue is a shadow of its formerly great self, and absolutely, it’s motto should be “Fly Us If Only Because We Suck A Little Less Than Everyone Else!”

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