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Lessons to be learned in JetBlue’s lackluster response to Slater story August 17, 2010

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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JetBlue became the subject of water cooler talk in August 2010 after one of its flight attendants, Steven Slater, exited a landed plane via the emergency slide with beer in hand following an altercation with an unruly passenger. Slater allegedly cursed at the passenger over the announcement system, and indicated he was so fed up that he was quitting his job. While the story was discussed over all kinds of media, critics have pointed out that JetBlue was dead silent on the issue for 48 hours. Although the company addressed the incident through its blog, most critics suggested that JetBlue missed the opportunity to gain from the story. It’s unlikely that JetBlue’s image will be damaged in the long term – some even say it has become a more popular company – but it’s obvious that much can be learned from the incident.

To see how the story broke in the news media, watch the following clips:

Discussion Questions:

1.  What did JetBlue stand to lose by being silent as the Steven Slater story became big news?

2.  Did JetBlue stand to benefit at all from being silent?

3.  Assuming that silence was not wise in this case, what should JetBlue have said following the incident?

4.  What other lessons might be learned from this particular story, in regards to public relations?

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