On Wednesday, Dec. 9 in Salt Lake City, Crewmembers from Reservations, Marketing and Corporate Communications gathered near the Salt Lake City Support center for a wrap party recapping the All You Can Jet pass promotion and examining its results for both JetBlue and its Customers.
Though the pass allowed unlimited travel between Sept. 8 and Oct. 8, 2009, many Crewmembers were hard at work well before that, especially those in Reservations who were selling the pass until it sold out. And the heavily increased call volume continued throughout the promo, as Customers made changes to their often complex itineraries.
Yet all that work was anything but for naught, as AYCJ was by far one of JetBlue’s biggest promotions of all time, and certainly the airline’s biggest news story since its founding.
Wednesday’s Wrap Party highlighted exactly how big a deal AYCJ was for JetBlue, coming from various perspectives, and was a tribute to Reservations’ massive role in its success.
The Crewmembers from Marketing expressed their gratitude and gave a recap of the promotion. With no one knowing what kind of response to AYCJ to expect, Salt Lake Crewmembers suddenly found themselves having to manage an immensely popular new product, with a unique set of rules, as well as helping Customers who were just figuring out how to use the pass themselves. Despite these challenges, Crewmembers helped drive a promotion that was not only profitable and newsworthy, but one that brought in a host of wonderful new Customers, earning their loyalty as the month went on. Making AYCJ work was in every way a collaborative effort, with every workgroup needing to be at its best to accommodate and impress the new group of super-frequent Jetters. But one of the most common pieces of feedback collected in surveys about the promo and anecdotal interviews was that every time an AYCJetter called to book a flight or make a change, it was a pleasant experience. “They’re just so nice!” remains a refrain among the pass holders in reference to the Salt Lake Crewmembers they spoke with.
Next up, three Salt Lake-based Crewmembers shared their personal experiences working the phones during AYCJ. Lindsey Petersen talked about the shared learning curve with Customers as everyone tried to figure out how to use the pass to its full potential, giving the example of one Customer who made a massive spreadsheet and simply shared it with her instead of trying to explain his extremely detailed itinerary. Once everyone really understood how to make it work, the excitement among the pass holders is what stood out to Lindsey. She often heard Customers exclaim “This is so cool!” and felt proud to work for a company that continues to innovate.
Cheryl Sadiq said it was JetBlue’s Caring Value on display that made her proud. She shared the story of Adam Faust, a young child who suffered a horrific burn. His parents were able to get treatment in Boston because of the pass, and with a few phone calls to the right people, they were able to transport their son to his final sessions free of charge after the AYCJ period had ended. To Cheryl, it was touching to see JetBlue follow through and prove that it truly is a caring company.
Laurel Blomquist rounded out the speakers, telling tales of all the interesting people she got to know over the phone as they called throughout the month. An expert animal trainer supplied her with tips on housebreaking her dog, while others asked her for suggestions on where to jet and what to do. Laurel also received a thank you call from a grateful woman who was able to visit her mother in hospice care several times due to AYCJ, and spoke with another woman who received the pass as a 60th birthday present and was able to spend time with her two sisters she hadn’t seen since they’d moved apart.
Overall, the theme coming from the Salt Lake Crewmembers was that yes, it was a challenging month, but it was also a personally rewarding one for a variety of reasons.
The Wrap Party then featured a ticket giveaway based on answers to questions like “How many calls were taken for AYCJ?” and “What was the highest number of flights taken using the pass?” (The answer to that second question is 84, amazingly.)
Finally, some of the more prominent pass Customers got up to talk about their own experiences. As Corporate Communications Crewmember Morgan Johnston pointed out, AYCJ was JetBlue’s biggest-ever media story (and a positive one, at that) and a trending topic on Twitter, but not because of a PR effort on the airline’s part. It was because of the Customers creating and sharing their own stories using the pass.
First, the newly wed couple David and Michelle Pacheco, who maintain
isawyouonjetblue.com, shared some of the stories behind their month of ambitious weekend travel. Leaving straight from their jobs on Friday evenings and returning on a Sunday night red eye each week, David and Michelle crossed off five locations on their must-see list in a highly efficient manner. They visited SFO, SEA, MCO, SJU and LAS, and filled each stop with as much adventure as possible. David talked through their month, and Michelle read a poem she wrote, thanking JetBlue for allowing them to experience the thrills of both San Francisco’s World Famous Bush Man and Costa Rica’s zip-lines, and much more, all in the same month.
Closing the party was a talk by Brendan “Terminal Man” Ross, who was probably the biggest AYCJ celebrity to emerge from the promotion. Brendan’s story is well documented on his blog on Wired.com, which is excellent reading for anyone interested in what Jetting looks like taken to an extreme. He shared some interesting details about his adventure, which he called “the strangest 15 minutes of fame you could have.” For one, his initial Craigslist post seeking someone to buy him a pass, was a joke among a small group of friends that somehow spiraled into him sleeping in airports for a month on behalf of a national magazine. But he said the experience was amazing, and heaped praise on everyone at JetBlue he spoke with on the phone. Brendan said he began the month noting the names of exceptional Reservations Crewmembers to write kudos letters to later on, but abandoned the plan after the first four provided an excellent experience, as would the following 24.
As announced at the West Point Leadership Conference, the pass will be back in one form or another in 2010. Given its popularity, this is hardly surprising. However, now that JetBlue has had some practice, round two will incorporate the feedback gathered from Customers and Crewmembers to make it bigger and better.