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What Is the Most Important Problem Facing Jet Blue?

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What is the most important problem facing Jet Blue?

With any business, there will be problems that it will have to face, whether the company is small or if it is a major corporation. Corporations across the Unites States face a series of problems everyday that they will have to deal with. And the question is how do they deal with the problems? Strategic management is defined by Hunger & Wheelen (2007) that set of managerial decisions and actions that determines the long-run performance of a corporation (pg. 2). Decisions and actions that determine the long-run performance of a corporation can either make a corporation succeed or fail. For instance, one of Jet Blue's problems that it faced was the winter in February 2007. A major ice storm swept over the Mid-West and Eastern United States forcing the airlines to either cancel flights or delay them. Hundreds of travelers were stranded in airports across America (New York Times, 2007). Jet Blue, on the other hand, did not cancel flights or delay them until it was too late.

Jet Blue was optimistic that the weather would lift and they would be able to get flights of the ground (New York Times, 2007) trying to keep the customer happy and to their destination. This decision failed when Jet Blue had to cancel more than a thousand flights (New York Times, 2007) at different airports between the Mid-West and the Eastern seaboard. You can imagine that customers were unhappy, confused, and didn't know what was going on or when they were going to leave. The same can be said about Jet Blue's CEO David Neeleman and his employees. Not only were there confusion between the company and its customers, but also customers were stranded in airplanes for hours waiting to take off or to return to the tarmac (New York Times, 2007). Mr. Neeleman announced that there would be change, and it would come quickly.

Could all of this confusion been avoided? Yes, it could have been. In this situation, Jet Blue faced a crisis that involves decisions to be made earlier and more effective. The breakdown of communications between Jet Blue and its pilot were part of the problem (New York Times, 2007), not making the decision to cancel flights earlier contributed as well, and Mr. Neeleman reacting to the crisis too late.

Common sense would have helped Mr. Neeleman and his company. In the situation were passengers were stranded on the runway for hours, didn't anyone think Ð''we have to get these people of the plane' and make the decision to do it? (Welsch, 2007). There probably was somebody who thought that, but didn't have the authority to make the decision. Again, common sense would have played here leaving Jet Blue out of the negative publicity and the passengers would have been safer in the tarmac rather than on the runway. Mr. Neeleman should have used common sense to cancel flights rather than trying to wait out the weather.

What recommendation(s) would you make to Jet Blue, and in what order of priorities?

The first recommendation that I would make to Jet Blue is to become a learning organization. Hunger and Wheelen (2007) describes this as an organization skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights (pg. 4). This would allow Jet Blue to transfer information throughout the company, make suggestions to change strategies and programs, and to improve work methods (Hunger et al, 2007).

The next recommendation that I would make is to allow personnel at the lowest level to make decisions. As Butch Welsch (2007) explains in his article, allowing the person closest to the situation make the decision will help reduce the decisions that CEO's and top management have to make but also result in better decisions being made. For example, the planes that were stranded on the runway the pilots could have made a common sense decision to get those people of the plane. Mr. Neeleman should have also made the decision to cancel flights early like his competitors and not worry about the bottom line.

The third recommendation that I would make is for Jet Blue to hire more people. Even though this is how Jet Blue can keep its airfares low, it will pay in the long run for more people to be employed by the company. In a crisis situation, people are needed to get the job done, i.e. people checking on flights due to weather. Along with this recommendation, I would also suggest that Jet Blue have some type of



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