January 5, 2015

MediaPlanet Roundtable – Learning Outside the Classroom: A Roundtable Discussion

We are proud to have our very own Director of Corporate Social Responsibility featured along with National Geographic’s VP Content- Education and Children’s Media, Jennifer Emmet  and Nook’s Chief Bookseller James Mustich  in a MediaPlanet Roundtable discussion on the changing face of literacy in the U.S. Presented here is her portion  of the conversation with MediaPlanet.

Mediaplanet: How can we utilize advances in technology to promote literacy?

Icema D. Gibbs: Technology is the next frontier for on-the-go engagement. As a partner to several educational entities, we’re able to help them with resources to meet our joint literacy goals. For example, we partner with Random House Children’s Books for our annual Soar with Reading initiative which encourages reading during the summer months. We recently introduced an app to the program, allowing us to enhance the reading experience beyond physical books with digital games and activities that appeal to children.

MP: What are some creative/unexpected ways to foster a love of learning in young children?

IG: You wouldn’t necessarily align an airline with literacy. However, during focus groups and research our customer and crewmembers shared that education is important to them and should be for the brands they support. Our Soar with Reading program provides age-appropriate books to children in underserved areas. We introduce reading in unique ways to our customers and communities. Not only do we provide activities and resources, we engage our customers at all customer touch points including in the community and via our website and inflight entertainment to join us in donating books to kids in need.

As an airline, we actively support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education starting at the grade-school level through the JetBlue Foundation. Tying reading into the world of aviation often lights a spark in young students. After all, reading is at the core of academic success including STEM education.

MP: How have you witnessed literacy efforts change over the past 5 years?

IG: There have been steep declines in literacy. With some reports showing that 33 percent of fourth graders are only reading at or below grade level, access to books is vital. There is a deficit in access to age-appropriate books in poor neighborhoods, with only one book for every 300 children, compared to 13 such books per child in middle-income neighborhood. To help increase access, JetBlue has donated nearly $1 million worth of books, in collaboration with our partners including First Book. Used for educational purposes, technology also makes everything relevant in real-time for students. It is important to utilize these resources in the classroom beyond traditional books.

We are also seeking help from experts in the field to help move the needle and increase access. We commissioned a study in partnership with Dr. Susan B. Neuman, PhD, a specialist in early literacy development whose research includes reading instruction for children living in poverty. She is helping us to dig deeper into the statistics and develop a plan that will really make an impact on literacy in US.

MP: What is the optimal age for literacy acquisition, and what course of action do you suggest to take advantage of that prime learning window?

IG: As a corporate supporter, our education partners have reiterated a need for resources and age-appropriate books. Studies show that children that are read to from the beginning have increased vocabulary and are more successful in school. It is never too early to push literacy. With the nation’s recent report cards reflecting stagnant reading scores for high school seniors, we created our Soar with Reading to encourage and share the gift of reading starting at the pre- and grade-school levels. Education and access to age-appropriate books is very important in building a strong foundation. This includes engaging students through means that they are currently using, including apps and other technology advancements.

MP: How can we make the love of reading a family affair?

IG: The Soar with Reading program was created as a family affair to encourage reading and help children’s imaginations take flight. Soar with Reading provides books to help maintain the knowledge base student’s built during the school year. A great way do this is with the support of family members. We encourage parents to read with their children wherever they are – at the grocery, in the airport, on the bus, it all makes a difference. We also provide interactive resources for the entire family and we also bring literacy to life with free reading events in JetBlue cities throughout the summer.

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December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

JBHero_Airways_Holiday_2014_NewYearsDay

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December 30, 2014

Travel like a Pro

Traveling can be a stressful, specially for the holidays.  After traveling to 30 airports in 30 days, visited 14 States, and stayed 26 nights at different hotels I gathered info that will be useful the next time you travel.  I asked flight attendants, hotel staff, and airline employees for some pointers, and now I’m sharing the advice that has been helpful to me.

Go nuts, before starting your journey get a bag of nuts or trail mix in your carry on. I arrive early to the airport, and between the line at security, and waiting for my flight I get the munchies. This tip also saves you cash, since it can be expensive to purchase food at the airport.

Stay charged, if you’re renting a car at your destination bring a lighter adapter for your phone.

No surprises, when traveling internationally call your credit cards and ask if they charge international transaction fees.

Counting bags, this is a trick my mom taught me actually.  Count your items: 1. Carry-on bag, 2. Laptop bag, 3. Coat.  Now you will know how many things you are carrying with you and it’s less likely you will leave something behind at the terminal or the plane.

Double take, when standing up from your seat take a second to look back and make sure you didn’t leave a phone, charger or your Harry Potter scarf behind.

 It socks! Nobody looks forward to the experience of going through security at the airport. The shoes, liquid rules, X-ray vision, and it smells like feet.  Here are some suggestions to make it better. Loose the boots or sandals, wear socks (so you don’t have to walk barefoot through the germicidal floor when you walk through).  Wear shoes or sneakers you can take off and put on without any zippers or laces. I preffer canvas shoes, they are light and comfy.

Overall a positive attitude helps us get through the not so fun portions of traveling.  Happy travels everybody!


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December 29, 2014

Happy New Year

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As we get ready to tick over into 2015, we’d like to take the opportunity to thank you for an amazing year past, and an even more exciting year to come!

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December 22, 2014

Happy Holidays

JBHero_Airways_Holiday_2014_HolidaySeason

Tis the season for a lot of travelers moving around our network! So whether you’re heading out for family festivities, returning from a Hanukkah holiday, planning for a new year of new destinations, or simply are happy settling in for a relaxing remainder of the winter, from our family to yours, Happy Holidays.

 

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December 18, 2014

How did I land the best job in the world?

PHLFor the next 90 days, I’ll travel to all 87 cities that JetBlue flies to (BlueCities).  Why? JetBlue is celebrating, a well-deserved, 10th consecutive J.D. Power Award for customer satisfaction.  My job (if I can even call it a job as I’m having the best time of my life) is to travel with the J.D. Power #10 trophy to all BlueCities, and celebrate this accomplishment with my fellow Crewmembers.

Today is day 18, and I’ve visited 18 BlueCities.  When I arrive, Crewmembers are excited to see the J.D. Power Award, hold it, and take pictures.  As a JetBlue Crewmember myself, I find the best part of this job is to get to know my peers, and celebrate one of our greatest accomplishments together.  When we start talking, immediately they ask: How did you land the best job in the world?  I naturally tell them the story, and now I’ll reveal to you how it all happened.  It was very American Idol… just kidding!

A day in October of this year an email was sent out notifying all Airports Crewmembers of a 90 day special assignment.  The job description included 100% travel. That sounded right up my alley since I just turned 31, and I enjoy traveling more than anything else in the world.   It was the opportunity of a lifetime.   I sent my cover letter and resume.  Surprisingly, I received a call the following week, and after several phone interviews something special happened.  On Halloween, I was dressed as Darth Vader giving away candy to the neighborhood kids. Suddenly, I received an email that read the next step was an interview in person.  I was ecstatic! I started jumping up and down in excitement, and giving an outrageous amount of candy to the trick-or-treaters (it was the good candy too!).

The big day came when I had to prove I could really do this.  Oh the nervousness! I could feel the sweat go down my back.  I wore my lucky gray suit, and I tried not to trip on my heels going up the steps.  I managed to get into the conference room without needing one of those “air sickness bags.”  I worked up my courage and gave it all I had.  After 40 minutes, I left the building unceremoniously.

A few days later, I received a call on my cell phone from an unknown number, I almost left it go to voicemail.  Little did I know that was the call that changed my life. When they told me I got the job, I could not stop smiling.  I looked as if I had slept with a clothes hangar in my mouth the night before.  I had 3 weeks to pack my bags, give specific instructions to my neighbor on how to water my cactus, and I was out the door.

This journey has just begun, and I want to share it with you.  Keep following JD’s adventures on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter on BlueCityReport, and share this amazing experience with us.

I would not have the best job in the world if it wasn’t for the award winning customer service our JetBlue Crewmembers provide every day.  I have seen firsthand how dedicated they are to serve our customers, and genuinely help them get to where they need to be.  I’m honored to carry this 10th J.D. Power Award because it’s the symbol of how our Crewmembers’ daily hard work pays off.

 


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December 16, 2014

Sister Sister! : A Pair of Siblings share the Cockpit

Women have historically been underrepresented in the field of aviation. Currently only  4% of commercial pilots are women. While we’re proud that our own representative number of female pilots is higher at 5+%, we know there’s a lot of room to increase the representation of women in the cockpit. JetBlue regularly sponsors the Women in Aviation organization and is well represented at their events. Recognizing the importance of getting children involved in aviation early on, we recently formed the JetBlue Foundation to help bridge this gap. We also know how much children seeing and learning from representative pilots, so with that in mind, we’d like to present you with just one notable flight pairing we saw on the line recently.

JetBlue pilots Pia and Anna-Maria Kymalainen grew up in an aviation family in Finland. With their father in aeronautical engineering and an older brother following in their father’s footsteps, the aspiration of flight was always close to home. Both sisters began their own careers flying corporate jets before finding their place here at JetBlue – Pia as an A320 Captain and Anna-Maria as First Officer.

It was a long time goal for both sisters to fly together and that dream recently came true. The women recently operated flight 1480 from FLL to DCA making them the first ever sister-sister flight crew at JetBlue!

pia and anna-maria

Pia began her aviation career flying freight and corporate jets before joining JetBlue nine years ago. While, Anna-Maria followed her big sister’s lead and also began flying corporate jets seven years ago until finding her home at JetBlue three years ago.

We love to see women like Pia and Anna-Maria showing young women that there are opportunities for them across all aspects of the aviation industry, and are proud of the work the JetBlue Foundation does in working to increase the number of women in the pilot ranks. In 2013, we created the JetBlue Foundation as a way to encourage and advance careers in aviation, specifically among underserved communities including women. The JetBlue Foundation provides learning opportunities for underserved groups by working hand-in-hand with local and national education institutions that support and foster aviation-related programs. On December 17, the JetBlue Foundation will host its second annual grant presentations for programs focused on encouraging aviation careers among women, people of color, veterans and other underserved groups. For more information on the JetBlue Foundation, visit www.jetblue.com/InspiringHumanity.

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December 15, 2014

JetBlue and the Ocean Foundation Begin to Measure the Value of Shoreline Conservation

We love to see beach photos like this one in Saint Thomas (photo courtesy of Chad Sparks)

We love to see beach photos like this one in Saint Thomas from Chad Sparks.

Today, JetBlue and The Ocean Foundation released Eco Earnings: A Shore Thing, a report that highlights the connection between ecosystems and revenue. Leisure travel to the Caribbean is a key pillar of JetBlue’s business model, with many customers flying to the region to enjoy sand and sun, beautiful beaches and pristine waters. However, the ecosystems that support and provide these crystal-clear, turquoise-tinted seas are at risk. Some have already grossly deteriorated. Large-scale environmental degradation in the Caribbean is a risk to demand for leisure air travel to the area, thus impacting JetBlue.

Tourism brings 22 million visitors a Year to the Caribbean, including from cruise ships and multiple destinations that JetBlue does not serve. Regardless of how they travel to the region, these millions of tourists create revenue, jobs, and improved GDP, but tourist consumption contributes to the more than 100 million tons of trash per year that end up unprocessed in open – air dumps or local waterways in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Trash littered beaches don't encourage vacations. (photo courtesy Jackie Marks)

Trash littered beaches don’t encourage vacations. (photo courtesy Jackie Marks Marine Photobank)

This land-based trash quickly finds its way into the ocean via wind, rain, storm surges, and poor human stewardship. It washes up on beaches, contaminates fragile ecosystems, and is a health hazard to animals and humans alike. These impacts , coupled with the fact that 89.1% of manmade debris produced in the region finds its way to the Caribbean waters comes from shoreline and recreation activities (such as tourism), make the nexus of travel, tourism, and environmental degradation in the Caribbean a particularly important area of study.

Eco Earnings: A Shore Thing seeks to begin to measure both the risk and return to JetBlue from the region’s natural attractions. This study starts to link the importance of clean, intact, and healthy beaches and shorelines to tourism’s profitability in the Caribbean, with a focus on JetBlue and industry revenue per available seat mile (RASM).

Our study began by observing a positive connection between ecosystem health and RASM. The goal is to calculate the impact of key factors important for the Caribbean’s overall health including water quality, and waste along the shorelines.

When conducting a bivariate analysis to compare each eco-factor to stage – adjusted RASM — with 1.0 meaning a perfect causal relationship between that factor and RASM — A.T. Kearney confirmed a correlation between these eco-factors and RASM, although not causation. Mangrove health had the highest correlation with RASM of 0.3. Beach trash was second at 0.21, and water quality was third at 0.17. Among the factors affecting water quality, chemicals status was the most import ant factor

Through this initial study, we found positive correlations among water quality, mangrove health, limited waste on shorelines, and RASM, but more data is required to statistically prove and validate the model. This interim report serves as a call to gather more information about shoreline health and to rally the efforts of policy makers, the tourism industry, and tourists to protect the Caribbean’s greatest natural resource.

Click here to view the full version of EcoEarnings: A Shore Thing

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December 8, 2014

DC Travel tips and tricks without a Presidential budget

 

I have taken the challenge of traveling to all 87 cities JetBlue flies to in 90 days with our 10th J.D. Power Award.  I just finished the first week of this adventure.  It was great! This week we visited airports in Washington DC, Virginia, Baltimore (DCA, IAD, RIC, BWI), Massachusetts and Rhode Island (BOS, PVD,ORH).  We traveled from our Nation’s Capital to Worcester, MA.  We learned from Crewmembers how to get around Washington, DC without a presidential budget and even how to properly pronounce Worcester. Watch the video here.

One of my favorite things about traveling is meeting people.  I met a wonderful group of Crewmembers at each city, and asked for some insight on their BlueCities.  Who would know better than them?  Here are the great tips and tricks they suggested when traveling to DC.

If you are traveling to the Dulles Airport, IAD and want to get to DC on a budget, the 5A Bus operates during Metro’s service hours to/from L’Enfant Plaza Metro station for only $7.  This would save you approximately $50 in cab fare you can use to have a nice dinner in the city.    A weekend trip to Washington DC is a wonderful, family friendly, and educational getaway.  Not only because all Smithsonian museums are free of charge but also for the user friendly public transportation.  When traveling to Washington Reagan, DCA the Metro is walking distance from the terminal. No need for a taxi.  All you have to do literally is cross the street.  This is a very convenient and budget-friendly choice.  For lodging options, staying in Northern Virginia (NoVa) and taking the Metro to DC is a great way to save money.  Find a hotel within walking distance to a Metro station or with shuttle service to/from the Metro (King Street, Braddock, Eisenhower, etc.).  Visiting Washington DC is the perfect combination of education and entertainment (or as I like to call it Edutainment). Next weekend trick your kids into learning with a budget-friendly trip to DC.

DCA

 Thanks to all the JetBlue Crewmembers who were incredibly hospitable, and provided us great travel insight.  For more inside scoop on the cities we have visited keep following us
Next week we will be traveling to the following airports:

HPN Westchester County, NY

SWF Steward, NY

BDL Bradley, CT

EWR Newark, NJ

LGA LaGuardia, NY

PHL Philadelphia, PA

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December 4, 2014

It Ain’t Rocket Science

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Since the beginning, we have focused on inspiring humanity beyond air travel, not only for our customers and crewmembers but the various communities we serve. Not only is education a core pillar for JetBlue, it is weaved into everything we do. In fact, we actively seek ways to support education specifically science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. With this in mind, in 2013 we created the JetBlue Foundation as a way to encourage and advance careers in aviation, specifically among underserved communities.

The JetBlue Foundation provides learning opportunities for underserved groups by working hand-in-hand with local and national education institutions that support and foster aviation-related programs.  The JetBlue Foundation was recently featured on the STEM-focused show, “It Ain’t Rocket Science,” Time Warner Cable’s award-winning monthly TV digest that introduces parents and kids alike to some of the coolest opportunities, events and careers in STEM. Hosted by NY1 News technology reporter Adam Balkin, this month’s episode of “It Ain’t Rocket Science” features a great video piece about the Aviation Career Education Academy a program produced by the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals and supported by the JetBlue Foundation, which teaches students the science of navigating the friendly skies.

Watch the “It Ain’t Rocket Science” video about the JetBlue Foundation or here on TWC’s Connect a Million Minds website.

JetBlue supports STEM education though a variety of initiatives. Our goal is to create a unique education pathway from relationships with elementary school students and mentoring high school and college students to its University Gateway Program which leads to positions as Pilot Trainees with JetBlue. Last year, the JetBlue Foundation provided grants to Aviation High School (Long Island City, NY)CUNY Aviation Institute at York College (Jamaica, NY) and SUN ‘n FUN (Lakeland, FL).  New grants will be given out later this month.

For more information about our aviation-related programs, please visit www.jetblue.com/csr.

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