10th Anniversary stories- How I came to JetBlue


Jim Smith, Director of Properties, shares his story about how he came to the JetBlue family, 10 years ago:

10 years ago this month, I had the opportunity to accept a job offer from Dave Barger and Ann Rhoades, who at the time was heading up our newly formed People Crew, to help build a new airline that was going to bring humanity back to the airline business.

At that time, I had already been in the airline business for 19 years with several small, medium and larger legacy carriers and had a bird’s eye view of how poorly a business could treat a customer on a routine basis. To say the least, I was ready for a change and then came along this new airline with all the right ingredients, from leadership, to corporate philosophy and attitude. This new airline would surely succeed and was being built to last.

After accepting this new opportunity to be apart of this history in the making, friends and family would often say, “JetWho?” followed by, “it had to have been a difficult decision to leave an airline with many airplanes to go to work for an airline with zero airplanes” to which my immediate response was,” It was the second easiest decision I have ever made.” This remains to be the case for me to this day.

Having been a part of this amazing organization and having the opportunity to participate in many of our firsts including the arrival of our very first Aircraft N503 into gate 14 over at the old Terminal 4 International Terminal Building at JFK on December 5th, 1999 and welcoming home the delivery crew which included Mike Barger who was at command of that aircraft. Being present for the signing of our Air Carrier Certificate by the FAA at building 111 at JFK on February 3rd, 2000 after successfully completing our required Proving Runs, followed by the cutting of the ribbon for our very first revenue flight, flight 1 departing from gate 12 at 10:35am outbound to FLL on February 11th 2000 and being directly involved with the opening of every Blue City thereafter.

Now 10 years later I’m surrounded by an amazing army of 12,000 crewmembers who continue to deliver on the original promise of bringing back humanity on each and every JetBlue flight each and everyday and the making of a world class airline.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this amazing story and I look forward to working with everyone here in continuing this story during our second decade with great things to come.

I’m a Blue Believer!