Job Loss To Prompt JetBlue Fare Refund

Feb 17, 2009
Andrew Compart andrew_compart@aviationweek.com

In another sign of these troubled economic times, JetBlue today unveiled a temporary new policy under which customers who lose their full-time jobs before they travel will be eligible for full refunds on their tickets.

At least one European carrier adopted a similar policy in January, and there are numerous caveats and conditions to JetBlue's offer, which it is calling the "JetBlue Promise."

An airlines spokesman said, "We designed this program for customers to feel comfortable booking travel in today's economic environment...knowing JetBlue has them covered should they lose their jobs." By providing this assurance, "our hope is sales will be strengthened, especially during trough periods."

A vehicle buy-back program offered by Hyundai to purchasers who lose their jobs inspired JetBlue officials to design their own program, a JetBlue spokesman said. In the course of developing the policy, they discovered one other airline offering something similar: Flybe.

On Jan. 2, Flybe began offering customers a "Book with Confidence" guarantee in January. Under that guarantee, which has since been extended through February, any customer who books a flight, rental car or hotel for travel any time before Oct. 24 can receive a full refund if he or anyone else in his travel party is laid off. The customer must provide documentation, and must show he was with the company for more than two years.

JetBlue's offer, which is scheduled to last for bookings made through June 1, also includes some requirements and exceptions.

For example, JetBlue must receive a faxed "eligibility letter" and refund request at least 14 days prior to the scheduled departure, and an original copy of the request must be mailed to and received by the airline by the day of departure. The original has to be signed and notarized, and must be sent via certified mail with a return receipt requested.

The offer does not apply to corporate travel program bookings, group bookings, JetBlue Getaways, JetBlue Cruises or code share and interline travel.

Photo: Embraer

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