I received a call from c/net yesterday, inquiring about my little spat with JetBlue. I spoke with Senior Editor Charlie Cooper, who wrote an excellent article. Charlie was less concerned with my plight per se and more interested in how, in this day of blogs and YouTube and instant citizen "journalism", how companies like JetBlue can expect to get away with anything.
I agree. I think.
For the JetBlues of the world, it really comes down to an actuarial calculation that I am sure goes something like this:
"For every loudmouth like Bill Baker, who is just smart (or dumb) enough to set up his own blog and bitch, there are millions of people who will just sit back and take whatever bad service we can get away with."
The thing is, as I said to Charlie, my wife and anyone who asks - JetBlue had several opportunities to do the right thing during this process and each time they blew it.
Also, I have been totally up front with JetBlue all along. I told them that I was going to blog about it. I told them I was in PR and and knew how to reach the media.
Funny how within an hour of posting his story, Charlie heard from the PR guys at JetBlue. (Us PR guys - we always know precisely when to get into the game!)
Someone said to me "You're going to be the guy to bring down JetBlue." If only. Were I that powerful, I would get myself elected president or embarrass an automobile manufacturer into giving me a free car. Or something.
And, honestly - I don't want to bring down JetBlue. I want to bring "up" JetBlue and the rest of the airlines. If this whole episode results in a friend, family member or a complete stranger being treated humanely and with a modicum of compassion then job well done.
It will be interesting to see if I hear from JetBlue again. I have spoken to them four times and so far, all they have done is recite from the Contract of Carriage, which says that they don't have to do anything remotely resembling the "right thing."
Advice to JetBlue: If you plan to call me, think first. It's no longer about the money I had to spend and the time I lost getting home. It's bigger than that. Think about what might be the right thing here and then do it. Be creative. Be smart. Or just be humane.
By the way, just in case anyone reading this thinks I am some crank who just likes to complain: On my personal blog, a few weeks ago I wrote about a company that treats its customers right - Steelcase. I encourage you to read it. Needless to say - I am a lifetime Steelcase customer.