An Open Letter To JetBlue

JetBlue, you truly are the limousine service for airlines. Hell, probably better. Most limousine services don’t offer your own personal TV, with Direct TV, and some really awesome snacks. Not interested if I can’t watch the Food Network and eat cashews and chocolate chip cookies, folks.

I do have a problem though. I was a little more than disappointed to receive an email from you yesterday, one that I’ve opted out of numerous times because I’ve never been able to find the deals you promote, informing me of a special sale on airfare from Boston to DC for $7, one way.

Seriously? Amazing. My mind immediately started planning a mini-vacation. I envisioned a day of museum trolling, fancy drink slurping with lobbyists, and of course stalking good ol’ Barry ‘O, with the other good tourist folks. We all need a picture of the White House at 500 yards distance, right?

Well, I thought so. So I decided to put the past behind me and bring my daydream into fruition. I began my search for these purple unicorn $7 flights you’re promoting. Surprisingly, I found them pretty fast, the days weren’t all that off and bad, and so I began the booking process. My excitement was officially piqued as the purchasing page loaded.

Purchasing page loaded, holding my $14 round trip flight, yet the total was around $50. Wait, what? Where did my $14 vacation go?

I had to investigate. After all, my mini-vacation daydream was now crushed and compartmentalized in that part of my brain called “things that didn’t happen because I felt cheated or lied to.”

Jebus JetBlue, you were next to boyfriends and bad breakups, both of which I am still seeking vindication for.

So where did my $14 vaca go? I know, taxes and fees. I dug on your site for a while, looking for a breakdown of why my taxes and fees were more than my ticket. I did end up finding this:

Taxes & fees included in base fare: Quoted “Air Fare” includes base fare and, in the case of domestic transportation, a U.S. excise tax of 7.5%.

Not included in base fare: For domestic travel within the Continental United States * Passenger Facility Charges of up to $9.00 each way * September 11 Security Fees of up to $5.00 each way • Federal Segment Tax of $3.70 per domestic segment. A segment is a takeoff and landing.

Yeah, I totally understand that these taxes and fees are beyond your control. I get it. Just seems to make more sense to bring those uncontrolled costs up to the front of the table. Let me see that there are just some things that are truly out of your control, and that the costs have to be passed on to them in order to sustain. That’s called honesty. Honesty builds trust.

Have you ever heard of transparency? In this context, it’s this new-fangled marketing strategy that helps build customer trust and loyalty. I mean, imagine the repeat business and crowd sourcing opportunities?! You could save millions. MILLIONS!

Thus freeing up plenty of money to subsidize those nasty taxes and fees.

So, transparency. It’s a strategy that lifts the four walls closing in those meddling corporate meetings. You let the customer in – you let us decide what bonus and incentive packages we want. And why not? We are the ones keeping you afloat in the first place, right?

And after you let us do all of that, you let us market and promote your greatness. Because we own it – it’s now our greatness too. Human nature suggests we’re more than happy to promote that.

How will we do this? Silly JetBlue. How about Facebook and Twitter – both chock full of so many of us, that they’re now in the ranks of sovereign countries. Social media is a beautiful thing. Just quit trying to promote yourself, and let us, your (now just sometimes) happy customers do it for you.

Done, and done. Next.

So seriously, my solution? Honestly, a $50 round trip flight from Boston to DC is a hell of a good deal. Had it been promoted that way, I would have bought two and towed the better half with me.

But your alluring advertising had my mind set at getting a $14 round trip ticket. Fail.

Or what about 50% off? Research shows that most round trip flights from Boston to DC average around $150. 50% off of that = $75, which is still more than the deal you offered, yet still more alluring.

How does that happen? Transparency. You’re officially offering 50% off. That is half off the regular price. That screams DEAL!

Much more so than $7 one way, plus surprise taxes and fees, totaling more than the ticket, upon clicking submit.

Tell you what, JetBlue. I truly do love you and want to see you do nothing but the good that you’ve historically been known for. I want to help.

For a limited time, I’ll offer my expertise for $7.

Only valid at certain times of day, on certain days. $99,993 taxes and fees charge apply. Offer does not apply to holidays and weekends. Issued company phone and computer, 401K, Stock options, and health insurance are mandatory.

Does that sound better than Marketing Director, $100k, plus employee benefits?

Transparency.

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