March 14, 2013

A Day in the Life: Sponsorships

Welcome to A Day in the Life, where we take you behind the scenes at JetBlue to learn more about the important jobs that work in concert together to run a major airline. This time, we visit with Rick, who manages our National Sponsorships.

Rick sporting of all his sponsorship swag

Rick’s overarching task is to identify and suggest potential partnerships that align with our commercial goals and match our sensibilities as a brand. Innovative brands with passionate fan bases, like our partnerships with Barclays Center in Brooklyn and USC Athletics, for instance, are a great fit for us given that we’re an airline that likes to do things differently. Each partnership decision is made with a delicate level of consideration in order to build brand awareness in the focus cities that we serve as well as building trust with our customers. Partnerships are one important way that we’re able to show we care about the same things that those in the communities that we serve attach themselves to.

Rick has worked on JetBlue’s Brand and Advertising team for the past two years vetting, researching, coordinating and managing our sponsorship partners. His work has extended beyond just sports; other programs he’s worked on include our entertainment partnerships such as the Tribeca Film Festival, our concert series Live From T5, and our online store ShopBlue. He also helps vet and direct any number of other, more localized sponsorship requests that come in to our Promotions or Regional Marketing teams for further consideration.

Partnership renewal announcement with Florida Panthers in Fort Lauderdale

If you open Rick’s desk drawer you’ll find a sports fan’s greatest dream – tickets to all sorts of sporting events; football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, golf, to name a few. No, Rick doesn’t keep them for himself (although he does get to go to some great events), but he coordinates allocating these tickets from our partners to crewmembers, customers and business partners.

The most challenging part of Rick’s job? “Saying no to people,” he relays. Rick receives dozens of sponsorship requests each week, and he evaluates each one through the lens of our allotted resources and whether it’s a brand fit to determine whether it might be pursued further. He helps guide our approach in each of our partnership ventures based on the unique aspects of a particular region. New York, for instance, is very different from Boston or from Salt Lake City in terms of how we look to partner and what the terms of those partnerships look like. Our partnership with Utah’s soccer team Real Salt Lake, for instance, is focused around supporting our 2,000 Customer Support crewmembers, contrasted with Boston, where we’re the largest carrier and the Red Sox are the most attended team in the city.

Opening Day at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida

Sports are a “passion point” for Rick and he enjoys that the focus on his work is also of personal interest to him. While he feels lucky to have met athletes and celebrities and engage in great experiences, he prefers to “stay in the background and let JetBlue and its crewmembers be the focus.”

Rick sees his job as an opportunity to “create experiences for people that they’re never going to forget,” like the customer whose request to fly on the Jets plane was met or the crewmember who got the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a Red Sox game. One of the most interesting parts of Rick’s job is coordinating partner livery designs like we did with the Jets and the Red Sox, among others.

Brooklyn Nets cheerleaders at our home at JFK’s T5

When Rick’s not at major league sports arenas or rubbing shoulders with athletes and sports personalities, he is consumed with tasks like contract negotiations with our potential new partners. Negotiating terms of a new partnership can take anywhere from a few weeks to more than a year. He also spends time on arguably less glamorous though no less important tasks like mailing materials and tickets our for various purposes, and coordinating assets like charter flights as well as advertising, in-stadium signage and creative events to promote the partnerships and JetBlue.

Prior to JetBlue, Rick worked for Madison Square Garden on such partnerships as Absolut Vodka, Capital One and Delta (where knowledge of the airline industry helped prepare him for his current post).

Check out the previous editions of A Day In The Life and meet:

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March 9, 2013

Medellin named Innovative City of the Year

Our 79th BlueCity, Medellin, Colombia, recently made headlines by being named “Innovative City of the Year.” The competition was held on a global scale, and called attention to the most creative, forward-thinking cities when it comes to infrastructure and urban planning.

Image courtesy of luchilu on Flickr

“City of the Year” was organized by the nonprofit Urban Landscape Institue, in partnership with Citi and the Wall Street Journal. Together, they evaluated 200 cities and asked WSJ readers to first narrow it down to 25 contenders, and then the top three. In fact, back when we announced service to Medellin, it had recently been named as a finalist. Well, here we are – voted as the big winner!

We’re excited for our big Medellin launch in June, when our customers can check out this innovative BlueCity!


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February 21, 2013

Announcing a Codeshare Agreement with Aer Lingus

We’re pleased to announce a one-way codeshare agreement with Aer Lingus, our longest-standing international partner and one of our most successful.

We’ve teamed up with the Irish airline since 2008 and now the carrier will place its EI code on select flights operated by JetBlue beyond New York and Boston.

Between our ever-expanding network and Aer Lingus’s increased flights to the U.S. (as many as three per day to New York and two per day to Boston!), the codeshare agreement will give customers connecting through JFK or BOS better options to craft their perfect travel itinerary: a transatlantic flight paired with one of 29 U.S. BlueCities.

Aer Lingus moves under our roof April 3

Our codeshare agreement is the latest way we’re deepening our partnership with the Irish carrier. You may remember that last year we shared the big news that Aer Lingus would be operating its flights in and out of New York from T5 beginning this year. We’re excited to announce that the official start date of their operations is April 3!

Though Aer Lingus’s flights are international, they pre-clear U.S. Customs and Immigration in Dublin, effectively arriving as domestic flights at T5.

Similar to our handling agreement with Hawaiian Airlines, our crewmembers will be taking care of Aer Lingus customers. From check-in to boarding to baggage service, JFK crewmembers will be delivering the signature JetBlue experience to Aer Lingus fliers – whether they’re just flying between Ireland and New York, or connecting to/from a BlueCity.

Aer Lingus customers will they enjoy the T5 experience, and if they’re connecting to/from a JetBlue destination, their connection time will now be reduced. The minimum connection time from European arrivals to U.S. departures will be reduced to just 60 minutes. Customers traveling to Ireland will enjoy connections as fast as 40 minutes.

Stay tuned for updates!

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February 12, 2013

Hey Rhode Island! Got An Itch For Florida?

Big Blue Bug Solutions invited us to announce our new service out of T.F Green with a banner under the famed icon featured below. To celebrate the partnership, we’re offering $20 one-way fares between T.F. Green and Fort Lauderdale or Orlando today through Feb. 12, 2013 good for travel between May 1 and June 30, 2013. In addition, customers can take advantage of a JetBlue Getaways Vacation package to Florida inclusive of flights and hotel. Three-night vacations are available for just $279 and come with the best price guarantee and our unique Concierge on Call to assist with those extra vacation needs.

We took to the skies from T.F. Green this past November with two daily flights to Orlando International Airport (MCO) and one daily flight to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL).

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January 21, 2013

Honoring National Day of Service

In observance of National Day of Service, we’re encouraging our crewmembers across our 75 city network to make a positive impact in their local communities through volunteer service. This year’s “Light Up A Life” campaign will provide resources and support to children in foster care in partnership with Together We Rise (TWR), a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in the foster care system.

During January and February, our crewmembers will decorate and deliver close to 2,000 “Sweet Cases” with TWR. “Sweet Cases” are decorative suit cases and duffle bags filled with stuffed animals, coloring books, hygiene kits and other items. Foster children are often forced to move with a moment’s notice and many times are only provided with a trash bag for their belongings. JetBlue partnered with the TWR to donate personally designed “Sweet Cases” to children ages 4-10.

JetBlue displays its “Caring” and “Passion” values by encouraging crewmembers to volunteer every day through our ‘Community Connection’ program. This volunteerism platform acknowledges and rewards our 14,500 crewmembers for their community service both as individuals and as teams. For every 25 hours a crewmember volunteers, JetBlue donates one roundtrip flight to the non-profit organization of the crewmember’s choice. Some volunteers have amassed more than 500 volunteer hours for causes including Making Strides for Breast Cancer, Charles River Center for Autism and KaBOOM!.

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January 10, 2013

A Day in the Life: Care and Emergency Response

A Day in the Life, where we take you behind the scenes at JetBlue to learn more about the important jobs that work in concert together to run a major airline. This time, we visit with Penny on our Care and Emergency Response team who has one of the most forward-thinking jobs at our airline.

The Care and Emergency Response Team: (from left to right) Athena, Christina, Kristal, Puneet, Matt and Penny

The Care and Emergency Response team falls under our Operations team, positioning it as one of the vital wings at JetBlue. The team is responsible for preparing JetBlue to effectively, compassionately and responsibly handle major crisis at the airline. Headed by Penny, who has been with JetBlue since 1999 (before we had a name or aircraft to fly), along with her five team members, Christina, Kristal, Puneet, Matt, and Athena, has built a nimble and caring team that manages thousands of crewmember volunteers to effectively plan for and mobilize around challenging times.

The team is responsible for setting up our Emergency Command Center (EEC) at our Long Island City support center, a space with 27 assigned positions that activate in times of need. The team is also in charge of planning for the 100 assigned members of the Go Team to provide incident management support on-site in the event of an aircraft incident; and the Family Support Team (FST) composed of more than 200 volunteer crewmembers based in our Salt Lake City support center trained to provide assistance to family members via phone. Every city throughout our network also has at least one trained crewmember who serves as emergency response liaison who works on their preparedness plan locally.

The Ready Team activates during natural disasters to assist with the Red Cross’ efforts

Penny’s team also ensures that all plans and procedures are updated and tested. Her team organizes a full-scale emergency drill every other year and annual tabletop drills to keep everyone fresh on protocol surrounding an emergency or major incident.

We’ve extended the purview of the Care Team to include helping one another in times of need that extend beyond our own operations. We have more than 1,200 trained Care Team members throughout our 75 city network who may be called upon at any time to travel to an area to assist where help is needed during natural disasters or other unfortunate events. In addition, we have a Ready Team made up of over 500 specially trained volunteers who activate to work with the Red Cross during natural disasters, whether or not they occur in communities that we serve. Learn more about the Ready Team and where they’ve traveled to assist others in need.

Unloading supplies to help those impacted by Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy is the most recent example of our Ready and Care team activation. Penny and the Care team knew that although we had many crewmember volunteers in the New York area that many may have been impacted by the hurricane and so the team called in 40 Care volunteers from our Florida stations to assist. In addition to the partnerships we formed to assist our customers and impacted communities following the hurricane, we also set up a team to assist affected crewmembers.

The Care and Emergency Response Team’s job is to prepare for major crisis and make sure that we have the people, plans and supplies in place to activate quickly and effectively. “We like to think of ourselves as a team who needs to balance our heads and hearts,” Penny relays. “Caring is part of our DNA, it’s who we are, and it’s so rewarding to know that we’re helping to build a stronger company.”

Read Penny’s 2011 Op-Ed in the New York Times about her role at JetBlue

Check out the previous editions of A Day In The Life and meet:

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December 19, 2012

We’re the Official Domestic Airline of Barclays Center!

As New York’s Hometown Airline™, we’re proud to announce our status as the Official Domestic Airline of the brand new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, a major sports and entertainment venue showcasing an extensive variety of events, including premier concerts, major professional boxing cards, top college basketball, family shows, and the Brooklyn Nets.

On Thursday, Dec. 20 we’ll launch the partnership with Barclays Center Day from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., post-security at our world-class home at John F. Kennedy International Airport’s (JFK) Terminal 5, complete with a branded SportPros court where ticketed customers will have the opportunity to shoot hoops for great prizes including flight giveaways and Nets game tickets.  The Brooklyn Nets dance team, Brooklynettes, will be onsite to entertain.

Each Thursday during the month of January, 2013, Barclays Center will host a “Bound for Brooklyn” sweepstakes, presented by JetBlue.  Customers can visit Barclays Center’s Facebook page at and enter for the chance to win a pair of round trip JetBlue tickets to or from New York, plus a pair of tickets to an event at Barclays Center.  Five winners will be selected every Thursday for a total of 25 winners.

Our partnership with Barclays Center, located in the heart of Brooklyn and designed by the award-winning architectural firms Ellerbe Becket and SHoP Architects, includes exclusive digital street-to-seat signage for all events, courtside television-visible signage and baseline signage during Brooklyn Nets home games, and arena activation rights.

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December 18, 2012

Donating $820,000 to the Red Cross’ Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

On Monday, Dec.17, Rob Maruster, JetBlue’s chief operating officer (COO), and Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s chief commercial officer (CCO) were joined by two customers that donated via  Niki Glarkis and Rosalind Sutherland represented the more than 7,400 JetBlue customers and TrueBlue members that gave so generously.

After the hurricane, we quickly mobilized and launched to engage customers and TrueBlue members in fund raising efforts for the Red Cross. Throughout November, customers donated $720,000 to support the relief and recovery efforts of impacted communities. We matched the first $100,000 bringing the grand total to $820,000.

Following their donation, many customers shared comments, feedback and advice for the victims of Hurricane Sandy including from the two below who joined us yesterday:

  • Niki Glarakis shared “Being a resident of Long Island I was affected by Sandy by losing power for a few days, however nowhere near the damage I saw in other areas. I knew I had to and felt obligated to help the communities that were hit hard by Sandy. It is heartbreaking to see the amount of loss and devastation Sandy left. I also donated money since JetBlue is a company that showed initiative to help. I did what I could and thank the many people and companies like JetBlue, who have made a difference. We will rebuild again.”
  • Rosalind Sutherland commented, “I live in New Orleans, so I am very aware of the emotional toll of living through a disaster. My advice to the victims of Sandy is to take one day at a time, one task at a time and don’t try to go it alone. Remember that there are people who you will never see or meet, who are sharing what they can (money, clothing, volunteering, etc.) and praying for your safety and well-being. Hang in there!”

Read additional customer comments.

Our relationship with the Red Cross is an ongoing collaboration. Our COO Rob Maruster currently serves as Board Chair of the American Red Cross of Greater New York. Also, through this partnership, more than 500 JetBlue crewmembers have joined the Red Cross ‘Ready When the Time Comes’ (RWTC) program that trains community-based volunteers to mobilize with the Red Cross during a disaster.

Our  was powered by KULA Causes and provided an immediate platform for our customers to donate directly to relief efforts right in their local communities in the New York tri-state area. For every one dollar donated via the site, TrueBlue members received six TrueBlue points in return. Through this transactional giving program, our loyal customers became donors providing much needed, time sensitive charitable donations.

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December 15, 2012

Light Up a Life Campaign Kicks Off

For our seventh annual Light Up a Life campaign we’re partnering with two fantastic organizations: Together We Rise and Soaringwords. The next few months are all about bringing the holiday spirit to children across the cities we serve, and each year, our crewmembers go above and beyond to bring our airline’s culture of giving to those in need.

Together We Rise is a non-profit organization that works with foster children across the nation. It develops programs and activities to enrich their lives, and also offers one-on-one support. From sports camp and music to mentoring and counseling, Together We Rise aims to help these children feel connected during tough times.

Soaringwords also works with youth, but in the capacity of helping children who suffer from a serious illness—and their families. It’s all about connecting these children and loved ones with volunteers who communicate a “never give up!” attitude. Through creative and educational activities—both in person and online—Soaringwords tries to heal by providing hope and a few laughs.

What we’re doing

For the Light Up a Life season, our crewmembers will be channeling their creative side.  In partnership with Together We Rise, we’ll be making Sweet Cases, which are decorative suit cases and duffel bags filled with new supplies (stuffed animals, coloring books, hygiene kits, etc.) for children who are moved around the foster care system, sometimes with little or no notice. Also, just like last year, we’ll be making and delivering SoaringQuilts to children in hospitals.

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December 1, 2012

Live From T5 Receives Award!

The industry group Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) recently held a concessions conference in Denver, where our Live From T5 concert series was recognized with an award. The event brought together concession and airport managers, small business owners, and concession operators to discuss the latest in retail and restaurant design, as well as merchandising trends — all in the hope of exploring potential partnerships.

At the conference, Live From T5 received a Honorable Mention award for “Best Innovative Consumer Experience Concept or Practice.” We’re happy that industry professionals appreciate what a great compliment LFT5 is to our concessions program at T5 and its ability to deliver a unique customer experience.

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