JetBlue (a story of making meaning)

It was one of those awful days at Oakland International (yes, I’m flying again). You know, where you stand in line for an hour or so while everyone struggles to get their shoes off and their laptops into the plastic containers. I caused a real commotion, and a stern warning from one of the security guys, when I went around to the back of that assembly line your stuff gets placed onto, to get a piece of my luggage that fell off. I really hate that “under pressure” thing when you’ve got all those people behind you, just trying to get through.

Fortunately, I was taking JetBlue to JFK. We boarded the plane, and I settled into my leather seat and waited for take-off. I’ve always liked JetBlue, ‘cause it’s so consistently easy to deal with. You feel like a human being instead of a sheep. From the moment you get on the plane, there’s a certain calm, and clarity to the whole thing. Maybe it’s the colors, which put me at ease. The seats are roomy and comfortable. And, I can’t explain how they do it, but there just isn’t the sort of luggage-stowing torture I’ve had on other airlines.

Also, booking the flight was a breeze. Their website is crystal-clear and talks to me in a relaxed, offhand yet businesslike way, just like the plane itself. Again, like a human being, instead of a statistical “consumer.” I don’t talk about my “dignity” very often, but these people seem to respect it.

Anyway, I’m sitting there, enjoying ESPN, when this guy gets on the public address system and announces that he’s the CEO of JetBlue. He welcomes all of us, and tells us that he’ll be one of our flight attendants. Then, he starts passing out drinks!
As he’s walking down the aisle, he asks people how they’re doing, not bugging them to tell him what they like and don’t like about the airline, just doing the normal things a flight attendant would do. Some people congratulate him on how much they like JetBlue, others had complaints, but most just enjoy the fact that the guy in charge seems to get that he’s dealing with people. You get the sense that this is one airline that actually focuses on me, instead of filling the seats.

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