If you have traveled by air at any time in your life, you will probably agree that “the friendly skies” are not always so friendly. Airplanes are looked upon as flying taxis where passengers experience cramped seats, long delays, and customer service that falls short of acceptable. It has become the norm to simply endure your flight rather than enjoying it. And then along came JetBlue, this week’s spotlight company in our Shining Light Company series.
JetBlue Airways Corporation (Ticker: JBLU), is an American low-cost airline and the 5th largest airline in the United States. The company is headquartered in New York City with its main base at JFK International Airport. As of August 2015, JetBlue serves 91 destinations in the U.S., Caribbean, South America, and Latin America.
JetBlue Airways was created by David Neeleman who had a vision to “bring the humanity back to air travel.” In 1999, he set out to reinvent the traditional airline model on this principle. His philosophy was simple: Take care of your employees first; they will take care of your customers, and your customers will take care of your shareholders. Holding true to their company values of Safety, Caring, Integrity, Fun and Passion both in the air and on the ground, they believe it is their responsibility to positively impact their customers and communities. With a goal of bringing compassion and a human touch to their operations, JetBlue focuses its efforts in three key areas: Youth and Education, Community, and the Environment.
Community support is achieved through involvement and partnership with several national and local organizations. One such non-profit is Kaboom, whose aim is to create great places to play for every child in America. Other internal programs include Community Connection, a volunteer program designed to align corporate giving with the individual passions of JetBlue’s crewmembers through service opportunities, and From Blue to You, which further encourages crewmembers to participate in charity events that raise funds for JetBlue to match. “Flying it Forward” is a program created by JetBlue to provide a chain of free flights for those in need and are gifted from one person to the next.
Supporting youth and education, JetBlue launched Soar with Reading, a program designed to inspire children’s imaginations, and partnered with First Book to provide access to new books for children in need. The JetBlue Foundation, created in 2013, focuses solely on aviation-related education.
Even though JetBlue’s fleet is among the most fuel efficient in the industry, they remain focused on environmental consciousness. Their partnership with Carbonfund has enabled them to invite customers to help in the fight of reducing their footprint.
In another ingenious way of teaching the public about environmental sustainability and to improve the appearance of the terminal, JetBlue Airways opened its own “farm” at New York’s JFK Airport. Some of the herbs and produce are used by restaurants in JetBlue’s terminal; others are donated to local food banks. Airports are concerned about anything that would attract wildlife, especially birds, so the airline expects to grow 1,000 potato plants, along with an additional 1,100 plants such as mint, arugula, beets, garlic, onions and spinach.
Good leadership at the top is critical in any business. It’s not unusual to see JetBlue’s CEO Dave Barger helping to load baggage and taking tickets. He attends most new employee orientation sessions and takes every opportunity to thank his employees. Taking flights, spending time with the employees, and talking to passengers on flights to get their feedback all feeds into JetBlue’s commitment to offer exceptional service. A recent employee survey received an 80% response rate with 92% positive feedback about the company.
In May 2015, JetBlue was once again ranked ‘Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Low Cost Carriers in North America’ by J.D. Power and Associates, including 2005 when the category was combined with traditional network carriers. This marks the 11th consecutive J.D. Power award for the company.
It is clear that as JetBlue grows, so will their positive impact on the communities around them. They understand that by delivering exceptional customer service, aligning business practices with core values, and nurturing employees and communities, a virtuous cycle of business success will be created. For this, we are proud to count Jet Blue as a Shining Light Company!
DISCLOSURE: Shining Light Companies are exemplary companies who live out the Golden Rule in their business practices, demonstrate strong servant leadership and create compelling value through the products and services they offer. This is intended for general information purposes concerning only the values, corporate culture and business practices of the companies being spotlighted. It DOES NOT incorporate any analysis of the companies’ investment merit based on intrinsic value, fundamental analysis, etc. This must not be construed as investment advice or a buy/sell recommendation. These companies may or may not be included in our LightPoint Portfolios at any given time.