JetBlue Looks To Cut On Board Service Related Costs

JetBlue will be implementing a number of cost-reduction measures in order to meet its target of $300 million in savings by 2020. The majority of this cost cutting will be to in-flight services, raising concerns that the airline will be chipping away at its main selling point.

A JetBlue Embraer 190
JetBlue is taking an unconventional approach to cutting costs. Photo: Alan Wilson via Flickr

As reported by PaxEx.Aero, JetBlue will be implementing a number of new service-related cost-cutting measures.

In 2017, the airline set itself a three-year cost-saving target of $300 million. After a successful two years of changes to the business, JetBlue is entering the final phase of its cost-cutting strategy.

The newest round of cost-reductions includes a number of alterations to JetBlue’s catering and cleaning services. The cleaning crews posted to JetBlue aircraft after each flight will be reduced from two contractors to one. Specifically, the cleaners assigned to vacuum the carpets will be dropped, leaving a single cleaner to focus on the toilets.

In a somewhat unconventional use of senior management time, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes has even been spotted picking up litter on flights before. Additional changes to catering cart restocking schedules will also be implemented in an effort to save time.

A JetBlue aircraft interior
JetBlue made the controversial switch from Coke to Pepsi. Photo: JetBlue

Rather than restocking catering carts at hubs after each flight, JetBlue will now attempt to squeeze in a return leg before restocking food and beverages. This could lead to some tricky situations for cabin crew as they have to explain to customers that the food and drink advertised on the menu is not actually available.

A focus on drinks

Earlier this year we reported on the airline’s switch from Coke to Pepsi, which it claimed was part of an ‘exciting’ selection of new products. Rather than a decision based upon taste preferences, the in-flight refreshment switch was most likely made with cost-reduction in mind.

But Coke is not the only in-flight refreshment to be dropped from the JetBlue offering in efforts to cut costs. The new round of cost saving measures also includes a switch from Grey Goose Vodka and Bulleit Bourbon to Tito’s and Jack Daniels.

While this may be an obvious product change for passengers in economy class, the alcohol line up has actually been implemented in JetBlue’s premium Mint cabin.

The reaction

As an airline which prides itself on customer service and in-flight experience, cutting resources in key areas such as cleaning and refreshments seems counterintuitive. JetBlue recently launched a new marketing campaign with the slogan “Just alright doesn’t fly here”.

A JetBlue Airbus A320
JetBlue’s cost-cutting measures may be picked up on by customers. Photo: Tomás Del Coro via Flickr

According to the airline, the campaign “takes a stand against mediocrity in air travel and reminds travellers they don’t have to accept the bare minimum that has become standard across the industry”

Dirty floors are unlikely to win over any paying customer and convince them of the JetBlue motto that “just alright doesn’t fly”.

The airline recently announced that it would be adding 12 additional seats to each of its A320s, which seems a far more bearable cost-cutting measure. As opposed to the ‘outrage’ which can ensue from switching key in-flight services and products, a little extra legroom on JetBlue flights may cause a bit less uproar.