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31 August 2006 @ 11:16 am
JetBlue: Well, we wouldn't want to offend a group when an individual has less buying power.  
Remember the guy I mentioned yesterday who was not allowed to fly until he removed a shirt with Arabic and English writing on it? I wrote JetBlue, and received an answer.

My initial email:
Please review this BBC News article.

Now, with that in mind, please explain to me how a shirt being "offensive" to some other passengers is enough to put a person through the nonsense to which JetBlue subjected a customer. Let me see if I understand: people were concerned about what the Arabic on his shirt meant yet couldn't be bothered to read the English translation directly beneath the Arabic writing. These are the people you cater to, rather than simply telling them to mind their own business?

If I showed up for a flight wearing a shirt denouncing the Bush administration, would I too be denied a seat? If JetBlue is going to censor speech, I'd like to see a dress code policy letter so travellers can avoid having their plans disrupted by similar small-minded nonsense.

JetBlue needs to make a public apology for what it supported as well as firing the person or people responsible for this ridiculous event, or else wave a good portion of your business a fond farewell as we fly away on a SouthWest airplane.

Now, here's the response from JetBlue:
Thank you for giving us an opportunity to address the situation reported on DemocracyNow.org and other sites. We are working with the TSA to fully understand the situation, and we have not concluded our fact-finding yet.

Our fundamental responsibility as an airline is to provide safe and secure travel for all of our customers. This requires us to be sensitive to the concerns of all of our customers, while also upholding the rights of the individual. We value diversity, among our customers as well as our crewmembers. We take our responsibility seriously, and should there be an opportunity to improve our effectiveness, we will take the appropriate action.

We appreciate your interest in this matter as well as your understanding of all our customers' needs. We remain available should you have any further questions or concerns.


Jason Ward
Director Customer Commitment
JetBlue Airways

Uh huh. Notice their immediate mention of DemocracyNow.org rather than the article I mentioned, which was posted on the BBC News website. Three guesses where most of the heat they're getting is coming from, and the first two don't count. Color me unimpressed by the weasel-words received.

Here's my response, which I think will probably go unanswered:
Actually, I do not care about the needs of ignorant people who think a terrorist is going to advertise his intent by wearing a t-shirt with Arabic writing on it, especially when they won't be bothered to read the English translation beneath it.

What happened was that ignorant people make a stink and JetBlue employees did not or would not tell them that their concerns were ridiculous nonsense. If the customer wearing the shirt had made it through a security check like everyone else, then there is no excuse for pulling that customer aside and refusing to let him fly because of the intellectual content displayed on his clothing.

If you do not understand why this is seriously troubling, then again, I'll be flying Southwest Airlines. It is perhaps sad that common sense at the ticket counter ought to be refreshing, but in light of recent events like this, that's exactly how it feels.
Current Mood: unimpressed
Sooozieeepiscosubito on August 31st, 2006 04:28 pm (UTC)
Judging from the letter you received in response, I'm betting it's a form letter, and I wonder if anyone actually read your initial email at all, other than to scan it for subject so they knew which form letter to reply with.

I agree you probably won't get a response from your second email, but if you do, I wouldn't be entirely surprised if it was the same email they sent the first time around.
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on August 31st, 2006 04:31 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, it's got to be a form letter. I'm wondering just how much scrambling there was to generate that form letter at the JetBlue Customer Rebuff department this quickly after the event. Probably just changed a phrase or two from the standard "unfavorable news report" letter.
L Alouisadkins on August 31st, 2006 08:49 pm (UTC)
It is - I got the same exact response.
Ace Lightning: flightacelightning on August 31st, 2006 10:55 pm (UTC)
i've always had good experiences with JetBlue, which is based out of JFK Airport in New York. they seem to be extremely concerned with making sure that their passengers are comfortable, both physically and psychologically. in fact, i suspect that their treatment of the man with the Arabic t-shirt might have started as a misguided attempt to put other passengers at ease. if that's the case, then JetBlue's management seems to be scrambling to give the appearance of standing behind their employees, while simultaneously realizing that they've shit in their hat and they need to do something about it. the form letter would be a stopgap response - something to send out while they work out what they're going to do about the problem.

(i've just checked, and SouthWorst doesn't serve the NY area directly; they have a deal with ATA Airlines. ATA's service sucks used kitty litter through a bendy straw, and they're not even all that cheap.)

Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on August 31st, 2006 10:59 pm (UTC)
Doesn't matter. JetBlue should have told the idiots to stop worrying, it was a guy wearing a fucking t-shirt, and that was the end of it.
Ace Lightning: dragonhillacelightning on September 1st, 2006 12:35 am (UTC)
what if the original complaint had been someone refusing to board the plane because there was an "Arab terrorist" among the other passengers? that would kinda put the airline in a bind; which customer do you offend?
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on September 1st, 2006 01:07 am (UTC)
Easy. You tell Mr. Idiot Racist that he won't be receiving a refund if he voluntarily chooses not to get on the plane.

I'm sorry, Ace, there's just no excuse for JetBlue fucking with a guy because of his shirt. It's completely ridiculous to cater to fearmongering morons, and I'm beyond sick of it.
Ace Lightning: lightning rodacelightning on September 1st, 2006 06:43 am (UTC)
it seems to have been a gate or ramp agent who told the man with the Arab-lettered shirt that other passengers found it objectionable. that agent made a seriously unwise decision. but i wouldn't go condemning the entire airline until we see what kind of statement they issue about the incident. shitfire, they might decide to give him a lifetime free pass on JetBlue or something - as well as discipliningfiring the agent.
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on September 1st, 2006 12:37 pm (UTC)
You'll notice that was one of the things I mentioned in my letter to JetBlue as being something they need to do, fire the agent and make restitution for his/her ridiculous behavior.

If JetBlue actually DOES something along those lines, I'll be satisfied. Otherwise, fuck them as a company.
Ace Lightning: flightacelightning on September 1st, 2006 10:05 pm (UTC)
we shall see...