Jetblue Crisis Feb 2007- Synopsis

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Name: XX
School of Management MCNY
Professor Noreen Kentish
Management Information Systems
Assignment 2- JetBlue Turbulence Individual Case Study/Synopsis Date: 1/31/11

JetBlue Airways was created with the primary purpose to provide low cost American flights with “top-notch customer service” at budget prices. On the stormy day of February 14, 2007, their airline service was tested to the extreme. JetBlue initially serviced passengers between New York and Florida and then expanded rapidly. By the end of 2006, the airline had 500 flights operating in 50 different cities providing each passenger with (luxury) amenities such as TV, and leather seats (Laudon, pg. 72). This rapid expansion brought challenges the airline had not prepared for. JetBlue’s most valuable differential advantage above other airlines, their “customers come first” attitude, was severely tarnished. Jet Blue had and was utilizing several different information systems, standardized flight operations and maintenance procedures, an out-sourced reservation system and a system for managing plane and crew. However, their system was not seamless or adequate to handle the onslaught of turbulence on February 14th. In an attempt to identify the problem, a Fish diagram (please refer to the end of synopsis, before reference page) shows that there were many issues with their current information system that were not addressed in the event of a massive scale shutdown. In evaluating the problem with the JetBlue disaster, we find that the organizations business model was highly based on customer service. It was founded on the basis of offering luxurious flying experience and quality customer services at low prices. The airline operated by offering this low cost service by cutting “unnecessary” expenses, and through the use of (available but inadequate) “simple-is-better” (Laudon, 2010, p. 72) information technology systems. The airline automated all its services, out-sourced other information systems used, employed a very lean non-union workforce in an effort to push spending costs toward supporting their “customer-experience-first” business model. The airline only operated airbus A 320, and when not exclusively using Microsoft software for its information systems, it also used Navitaire, who hosted JetBlue’s reservation system among other airline systems. This approach gave JetBlue a competitive advantage over other airlines such that the airline expanded more rapidly than was envisioned. It was not well rounded enough or large enough to cover its customer’s needs in the time of a major crisis and shutdown. JetBlue was so successful for so long because it was a small organization. From the case study, it seems that JetBlue was only taking measures to emphasize their business model, “purchasing a new plane every five weeks through 2007” (Laudon, 2010, p.72), and not attending to other important infrastructural and information system details that should be considered with company expansion. Although we hear about all the information systems (in-house and out-sourced) that JetBlue had in place before the snowstorm, there is no discussion about upgrades to their systems due to growth. JetBlue was still operating under the same information and technology systems even with their primary goals accomplished of strong customer relations and rapid growth. On February 14, 2007, New York City area experienced an ice storm affecting flights and most airlines started canceling their flights earlier in the day. JetBlue did not and operated on the “belief” that the storm would pass. There was no evidence-based management system put in place or practiced to make well-informed decisions on facts. JetBlue only hoped to live by its reputation of providing excellent service to its passengers. This resulted in the passengers and the crew being confined inside the planes for up to six hours without basic necessities such water, food and access to sanitary toilets. Upon realizing the...
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