JetBlue reverses course, decides to not cancel as many flights today
LONG ISLAND CITY, NY — The beleaguered airline JetBlue announced a new policy today that guarantees no more than 30% of flights will be canceled. The policy, which excludes Boston’s Logan Airport, was welcomed by frustrated customers and their family members.
JetBlue Airlines’ top leadership met late Monday night, and into the wee hours of Tuesday morning to discuss the reversal of a recently implemented cancellation policy. After an exhausting, and vigorous debate, according to folks in the room who spoke with TTN, the airline called the emergency meeting to discuss a recently enacted proactive cancellation policy.
The policy in question is known as the “proactive cancellation policy” or PCP. In the policy, which was implemented in early January, any employee at the airline can cancel a flight or delay and was actually encouraged to do so. For example, a gate agent having a bad day can cancel any flights she or he would have had to service at their gate. Or a pilot who maybe had a bit too much to drink in the Hilton Garden Inn hotel bar, can just cancel all of his or her flights for the day.
Does the ground crew see a cloud in the sky? Cancel the flight sitting at the gate — even if it’s boarded. You could even just delay the flight if you wanted, up to 4 hours, in 15-minute increments.
Employees were encouraged to cancel or delay flights, as part of a company morale-boosting effort that was codified in the PCP.
Jim Dickson, JetBlue CEO said, “Listen, after 2 years of pandemic induced flying, the staff are burnt out. We wanted to give them something different, something powerful. Give them the reigns a bit. Let them know how hard it actually is to run an airline these days by letting them sit in the pilot’s seat, so to speak.”
He went on to say, “It’s hard to attract and retain talent, especially when we pay them so terribly. This was an attempt to give them some of the control back, to appease the unions, and hopefully try to actually operate this airline so our stock options will be worth a bit more.”
The policy was indeed roundly lauded by flight attendant and pilot unions, although was less popular with gate agents who bore the brunt of the cancellations and often found themselves in the firing line with irritated customers.
Reportedly, the IT department was also quite thrilled about the policy which, in their eyes, finally allowed them to “matter” in the eyes of the company, by giving them some control. One IT member, canceled literally every flight out of one airport so he could stay home and play Fortnite.
However, despite the popularity of the policy, the unintended consequences were more than the company could bear and were starting to affect executive bonuses for the year. Hence the emergency meeting by senior leadership.
The new policy still allows any employee to cancel or delay a flight but caps out the delays to a total of 30% at any given location. Why 30%? This figure is more or less what Allegiant Airlines’ on-time arrival rates are and the leadership team reportedly said, “Hey, let’s make sure we suck just a little less than them.”
The new changes were mostly well-received by employees, who begrudngliny agree that “delaying Travel Blogger Nomadic Matt’s flight earlier this week went a little too far — he is a nice guy after all — and we should probably dial it back a bit.”
The changes affect all JetBlue airports except Boston’s Logan Airport which recently saw nearly all flights canceled or delayed for several days. When asked why Logan was excluded from the policy, JetBlue gave no official answer, but a member of the ground crew was reportedly overheard saying, “Cuz f*%$ Logan.”