Back in June word leaked that JetBlue founder Dave Neeleman is launching a new airline in the U.S.
He sold Morris Air to Southwest, was involved founding WestJet, and has stakes in Brazil’s Azul and Portugal’s Star Alliance carrier TAP. He has an order for 60 Airbus A220s (formerly the Bomnbardier C-Series), with options for 60 more.
Neeleman boasts his new airline will offer travel that is “twice as fast and for half the price” — in part from offering new non-stop routes so passengers avoid connections and in part because of low costs.
- They’ll fly “hundreds of routes” and expects most will be routes not served non-stop today, including US to Europe and South America (such as Florida to Northern Brazil).
- There will be no way to call customer service. Everything will be done by app.
“You don’t have to speak to us,” Neeleman said. “You won’t be able to speak to us. You’ll be able to reach out to us and you’ll be able to chat with us and we’ll call you. You won’t be able to call us because everything will be functional.”
He said the airline will use chat for initial customer contacts, and the agents will call the customers back to resolve issues.
- Check-in will be on-line and mobile only. There will be no option to check in with an agent.
- It doesn’t matter what name the airline goes by.
“I could call this airline crap and people will love it because of the way I’m going to treat them,” Neeleman said.
Swiss International Air Lines new Bombardier CSeries passenger jet on display at Singapore Airshow, Copyright: prestonia / 123RF Stock Photo
Launch isn’t imminent, the first planes are expected in 2020, so it will be some time before we know what the carrier looks like. I don’t love how difficult it is to find answers to basic questions about what happens when things go wrong at Amazon, do not like online chat (it always takes longer than it should).
I wonder if air travel, which is often challenging because of air traffic congestion, security, weather, and mechanical issues might be different from Amazon and that marketing consultants suggesting these things to Neeleman may not understand what goes into the travel experience. Although given the experience he has in the industry he starts with a tremendous benefit of the doubt.