Consultants: JetBlue Was Right to Stay on the Ground

Monday, 19 Mar 2007 | 4:02 PM ET

JetBlue Airways took a high-profile black eye on St. Valentine's Day, when icy conditions led to its passengers being trapped on the tarmac for up to 11 hours. With the sudden return of wintry weather, the discounter played it safe -- by canceling 400 of 550 scheduled flights on Friday. Did the move signify panic -- and should investors be concerned? A master of damage control and an aviation analyst weighed in, on "Power Lunch."

Besides JetBlue, US Airways, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines acted pre-emptively by nixing flights on Friday; CNBC's Sue Herera asked Eric Dezenhall to rate the performance of airlines overall this weekend. The founder of damage-control consultancy Dezenhall Resources graded the industry a "B": he said that the "great sin" in a crisis is giving people no control -- and said the airlines as a whole acted fast and informed fliers fairly well.

Did JetBlue Do the Right Thing?
Discussing whether JetBlue did the right thing by canceling hundreds of flights over the weekend, with Eric Dezenhall, Dezenhall Resources damage control consultant and CNBC's Sue Herera

Dezenhall opined that "good companies recover from brand damage," but he slammed US Airways, whose problems lay with "their systems, not Mother Nature." He observed that "no one cares" about a firm's problems -- consumers just want results.

Michael Boyd, president and aviation analyst at The Boyd Group, said that JetBlue did much better in the long run to cancel flights early, leaving ticketholders "at home in Nassau and the Bronx." It'd be much worse to risk tabloid coverage of fliers stranded at airports, with "pathos and little children crying." As for the overall state of the industry, the former American Airlines employee warned that, "30 years ago, you had me to help you. Now, you have a computer kiosk." And in a crisis, Boyd noted, a kiosk can't help you.

  Price   Change %Change
  Price   Change %Change


  • Showtimes

    United States
    Monday - Friday 1:00P ET
    Monday - Friday 18:00 CET
    Asia Pacific
    Tuesday - Saturday 01:00 SIN/HK
    Tuesday - Saturday 03:00 AEST
  • Sue Herera is a founding member of CNBC, helping to launch the network in 1989. She is co-anchor of "Power Lunch."

  • Tyler Mathisen co-anchors CNBC's "Power Lunch." Mathisen also co-anchors "Nightly Business Report produced by CNBC."

Power Pitch

Kenny Polcari