Or You Can Just Fly Alaska

11:22 PM

In these troubled financial times, even offering entertainment at your seat the way JetBlue does can't keep ticket sales up, especially when every company we know is shedding their workforce at a record pace. Yes, people are still traveling to Grandma's house or the absolutely essential business trip, but as Mr. Obvious tells us, when mom is laid off from her job at the factory and dad is worried about getting the axe too, buying tickets on any airline for a future trip is risky business.

What's an airline to do? They of course want to still sell etickets to the few Americans who somehow are still employed after eight years of cowboy governance. But even those workers are afraid to buy a ticket three weeks from departure in fear of losing that job and forfeiting the money they shelled out for the ticket.

Well, to relieve some of that worry, JetBlue thinks they have found a solution:

"JetBlue's new Promise Program will allows a traveler to receive a full refund if they lose their job between the time they purchase their tickets for a flight and are scheduled to depart. JetBlue Promise will be in effect through June 1, and of course doesn't apply to already-booked flights."
I've always wondered why all airline tickets are not fully refundable anyway. We often fly Alaska/Horizon solely because their "Full Flex" fares are sold exactly as all tickets should be...without the boatload of restrictions and legalese that comes with JetBlue's new program. The Alaska fares are – like the full refund tickets found at other carriers – more spendy, but offer:
– No advance purchase required
– No change fees
– They are fully refundable
– Have no minimum stay requirements
I flew Alaska down to pick up our Cherokee 235 with my CFI, both on "Full Flex" fares, so that when the "ferry" weekend arrived to fly Katy home from Los Angeles, if the weather was not going to allow IFR or if the plane somehow wasn't ready, we could simply cancel the trip and get a no hassle refund.

And while the JetBlue's new program is getting lots of press, it is not even close to easy to use:
"How the JetBlue Promise Program works -

– Download and print Eligibility Letter and Terms
– Complete all sections of the Eligibility Letter, sign and have it notarized
– Fax completed Eligibility Letter AND Terms to 801-365-2440, Attn: JetBlue
– Promise Program (minimum of 14 days prior to first date of travel)
– Upon fax notification JetBlue will cancel your reservation
– Original Eligibility Letter and Terms must also be sent via certified mail
– Allow 30 days for processing of refund"
So with one airline, you just call Suzy and tell her you want a refund, and without a squabble, you get 100% of your dough back on your card. But with another, let's see, you have to download a letter, get it NOTORIZED and then send that letter CERTIFIED MAIL! If it is approved, you might get your refund in a month.

Sometimes, it just slays me that some corporate types can't just make things easy. They have to come up with a scheme so convoluted, nobody will possibly want to jump through all those hoops. I guess that's what happens when the Marketing Department runs an idea up the flagpole only to see it sliced, diced, analyzed and trampled by Legal.

If they would just stop and take a look at a deal such as refundable fares from the passenger's point of view, they'd see the Alaska model makes perfect sense. But like so much of Corporate America's top managers, they cannot see things the same way the rank and file can, because regular Joe ticket buyer never is allowed to set foot in the Board Room.

And we wonder why some companies lose money.

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