September 20, 2003

JetBlue Hiring for PR Positions

JetBlue Hiring for PR Positions

Wired (and everyone else, really - I found one on the NY Times later) has an article about the JetBlue debacle.

    JetBlue Airways began sending out apologetic e-mails Thursday to customers who are infuriated that the airline gave 5 million passenger records to a defense contractor investigating national security issues.

    The form letter, provided by JetBlue to Wired News, confirmed a Wired News story that JetBlue turned over the names, addresses and phone numbers of its customers in September 2002 in response to an "exceptional request from the Department of Defense to assist their contractor, Torch Concepts, with a project regarding military base security."

    The e-mail was carefully worded to say that data was never provided to a government agency or used for airline security testing, that the sole copy had been destroyed, and that the Torch presentation was developed without JetBlue's knowledge. The company also expressed regret and promised never to turn over passenger information again without court order.
We're sorry. We won't do it again.

    The letter will not be placed on the company's website, but will go out under the name of JetBlue's CEO, David Neeleman, said JetBlue spokesman Gareth Edmundson-Jones. The e-mail closed with, "I am saddened that we have shaken your faith in JetBlue but I assure you personally that we are committed to making this right." Jones added the company was "flabbergasted" when they first saw the Torch Concepts presentation.
You'll get a better taste if you read the whole thing.

That last sentence I quoted is a bit damning, really. It's the presentation that bit Jet Blue the worst, not the provision of the data (which was against JetBlue's privacy policy), according to an earlier Wired article. Worse yet to the public, Jet Blue isn't apologizing for its actions of handing over customers' data; it's apologizing that the action was made publicly undeniable by the presentation.

It's sad, too - another blow to the airline industry.
JetBlue turns a profit.


Posted by hln at September 20, 2003 12:48 PM | Unsavory Actions | TrackBack