Free Enterprise Staff  | March 17, 2016

Jet Blue CEO Robin Hayes Talks Culture, Customer Service, & the Competition

When you want to get in touch with Jet Blue’s customer service department, something funny happens: You’ll find that it’s remarkably simple to contact the company.

That Jet Blue makes its customer service phone number as well as other portals so easily accessible to the general public is a testament to the airline’s commitment to keeping its customers happy. Its efforts have paid off, with the low-cost carrier receiving the highest customer satisfaction ratings among its peers for 10 years in a row, an impressive feat given an industry that is not exactly known for pleasing the masses.

Continuing that legacy is on the forefront of Robin Hayes’s mind. The president and chief executive of Jet Blue, Hayes is charged with guiding the carrier during a time when consolidation has reduced the number of major American airlines and amid mounting competition from international upstarts.

Last month at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Aviation Summit in Washington, D.C., we got the chance to interview Hayes, who also participated in one of the event’s panel discussions. Our first question: Does he ever fly incognito on Jet Blue to get a better perspective on what the airline experience is like for the average customer? Watch Hayes’s response in the following clip.

Jet Blue has long prided itself on its cost competitiveness and the unique flight experience it has created for its core customer base. How does Jet Blue distinguish itself from its competitors, and will it continue to offer customers a free checked bag? We posed those questions to Hayes, who offers his take on those two issues in the following two clips.

Though it might primarily be known for its domestic network, Jet Blue has increasingly added global destinations and partnered with larger international carriers to augment its worldwide capacity. You can watch Hayes talk about Jet Blue’s plans for the future in the following clip.

With added international routes and more aircraft come a number of challenges. Like any airline that has managed to grow over the past decade when oil prices were rising—they have since plummeted—and economic growth was tepid at best, Jet Blue has had to contend with a host of obstacles. As Hayes explains in the following clip, he’s always loved every aspect of the flying experience—but he and the airline are constantly working to address common passenger pain points.

Anyone who has ever flown a commercial jetliner is well aware of how grating certain parts of the process can be. (You’d be hard pressed to find someone who enjoys sleeping in an airport overnight because of a continually delayed flight time.) While certain events are out of anyone’s control—an airline cannot prevent a snowstorm from pummeling the Northeast during the winter months—Jet Blue is set to unveil a number of programs and technologies designed to enhance the customer experience.

In the following clips, Hayes describes a handful of the new features that Jet Blue passengers will soon notice from the moment they check in for their flight and through security and even mid-flight.

But what about the boarding process? Boarding a flight is hardly ever a streamlined or efficient process, with long waits and crowded aisles the norm. Hayes talks about that particular problem and whether Jet Blue has devised an actionable solution in the following clip.

Business history is teeming with examples of companies that were once at the top of their games—only to later suffer substantial defeats. After more than a decade, however, Jet Blue has managed to fly above many of its competitors. What’s the secret to the company’s success? It all comes down to culture for Hayes, who describes one of the carrier’s latest programs specifically engineered to ensure that every member of its workforce remains enthusiastic, accommodating, and representative of the Jet Blue ethos.


Editor’s Note: Please join us for the 16th Annual Aviation Summit on Thursday, March 2, 2017 in Washington, D.C. or follow on Twitter at #Aviation17.