News Flash

Jet Blue, Delta, and Southwest today announced their merger to form a new air-travel giant: Mea Culpa Airlines. The troubled carriers noted that air travelers will see no improvements in performance, cost, or comfort, but they do promise to be sorry–deeply, deeply sorry–for any and all inconveniences.

[From today’s New York Times: Airlines Learn to Fly on a Wing and an Apology; With 3,200 Flights a Day, A Few Problems; Storm Brings New Woes to Travelers at Kennedy (Our nearly-three hours on the JFK tarmac following a nine-hour flight from Rome were small potatoes. A Royal Moroc Air jet ambled around JFK for 14 hours before throwing in the towel and releasing passengers)]

7 thoughts on “News Flash”

  1. I actually just had a first-hand account with the greatness of the airlines. I went to the Dominican Republic for spring break with friends and family and last minute, my friend and I decided to head back to New York a couple of days earlier so we got back on Thursday of this week. My parents, however, stayed until Saturday..or so they thought. Because of the snow on Friday, ALL flights to the Northeast area of America were canceled from Santiago, Dominican Republic. My parents called me immediately and told me that hundreds (maybe even thousands) of people, including them, are now stranded in the Dominican Republic. To make it even worse, the next available flight that isn’t completely booked is on Thursday, so my parents are on vacation for another week basically. Had I stayed with them, I wouldn’t have been able to return to BU until Friday of this week…which would have been detrimental. Though my parents are in a tropical landscape and could be stranded in a much worse location, the airline still isn’t providing any compensation for hotel or anything. I honestly don’t know why the airlines are doing so poorly. Every week, it seems, there is a strike or cut wages or massive cancellations. Almost everyone flies, so why does the industry appear to be doing so poorly?

  2. Airlines may be doing poorly simply because the number of passengers has increased over the past few years. As a result of this and employee pay cuts, airlines may be operating at capacity and could be more prone to losing baggage and such. I personally know that for international flights, airport and airline employees are known for “losing baggage” and stealing items from passenger luggage. I am sure that with the two rounds of paycuts that certain airlines in the United States have enforced, employees have even less incentive to treat passengers with decency.

    On an another note, since air travel is a highly competitive industry, airlines actually may have no choice but to apologize over and over again in order to retain long-term customers. The value of one customer could be thousands of dollars over his or her lifetime. In order to ensure that this revenue will be received, airlines have to apologize with explanations and ticket vouchers. Southwest has a strong record of apologizing to its customers after airline faults, and therefore its reputation for maintaining healthy customer relationships is justified. It is remarkable how simply admitting to a mistake can convince a customer to stay with a carrier. This really reflects the workings of human nature more than it does the implementation of a successful business strategy.
    For large mishaps, airlines should be legally obligated to issue notices about plane malfunctions and exposure to gases and fumes due to gas tank or valve leaks, as well as about severe changes in cabin pressure that could potentially harm asthma patients. By informing passengers of such mishaps, and recommending the use of air masks, airlines can reduce their liability in certain scenarios.

  3. Does this merger imply that all three carriers will continue just the same, but under this new “Mea Culpa” name? I hope so, I wouldn’t want anything to change with Jet Blue. The article says, “The troubled carriers noted that air travelers will see no improvements in performance, cost, or comfort.” It’s obvious that no improvements will be made since Southwest and Delta have nothing good to contribute to Jet Blue. The most important question of this merger is whether or not Jet Blue continues to offer 36 Channels of Direct TV. If so, great merger as long as it helps keep Jet Blue going for a couple more years!

  4. “Mea Culpa” is a perfect name for the merger of these airlines, haha. It sums up their unofficial motto perfectly: “My fault!” They can lose as many bags and possible and strand customers in airports for hours, but my simply apologizing and taking the blame, it’s okay.
    On a more serious note, I do hope that these airlines somehow improve in the near future, because flying right not is a mess.

  5. I agree with mfrey12 in saying that these airlines need to improve, especially in their customer service department. It’s insane how they get away with what they do to passengers these days. After we waited an hour sitting on the plane still at the gate, trying to get back to boston on friday, the captain finally came on and said that Logan was closed and we all had to get off and call a number to get a new flight. Everyone that worked for American airlines was extremely rude and as I walked up to the customer service booth, there was about a two hour wait with only 1 person trying to help people. After trying to get a hold of an agent on the phone for 3 hours, I finally was able to get a flight, only problem was it was 4 days from then. Thousands of people were left to fend for themselves as AA refused to help and set people up at hotels. Something has to change and the airlines need to improve customer service and it’s time for us to say something because it’s getting out of hand.

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