If you buy Radically Transparent–or download chapter 1 for free–you’ll learn how JetBlue’s reputation was severely damaged when it stranded passengers for hours in February 2007. The company had to do a lot of apologizing and reputation repair–including the creation of a YouTube video and a passenger bill of rights.
The crap just hit the jet turbine again.
This time, JetBlue is accused of making a passenger give-up his seat and instead spend part of the flight sitting in the bathroom.
Gokhan Mutlu, of Manhattan’s Inwood section, says in court papers the pilot told him to "go ‘hang out’ in the bathroom" about 90 minutes into the San Diego to New York flight because the flight attendant complained that the "jump seat" she was assigned was uncomfortable, the lawsuit said.
Mutlu is suing JetBlue for $2 million, probably because of the way he was treated and the dangers he faced:
When Mutlu expressed reluctance to go sit in the bathroom, the pilot, who was not named in the lawsuit, told him that "he was the pilot, that this was his plane, under his command that (Mutlu) should be grateful for being on board," the lawsuit said.
The aircraft hit turbulence and passengers were directed to return to their seats, but "the plaintiff had no seat to return to, sitting on a toilet stool with no seat belts," court papers say.
You might think, "we’re only hearing one side of the story here." And, you would be right. JetBlue has declined to comment about the lawsuit–standard practice for any company subject to litigation. But, this incident happened almost 3 months ago!!
Surely the passenger complained to JetBlue first, before filing his lawsuit. Surely, JetBlue should have realized that–even if the passenger embellished the details–news of this kind would hurt the company’s reputation.
Reputation management begins the moment you make contact with a customer. It begins during the transaction and immediately afterwards. It does not begin simply because a customer decides to make a public complaint.
JetBlue, wake up! What might have only needed a personal apology and a free flight voucher to make amends, will now take legal fees, maybe $2 million in damages, and many wasted hours repairing your reputation.