Jet Blue’s Strategy Behind the All You Can Jet Pass

The Atlantic (which I absolutely love), posted their opinion of Jet Blue’s All You Can Jet pass, which suggested that it was designed for business travelers among other things. As much as I love them, I think The Atlantic got it completely wrong. I posted the comment below, but I thought it was worth reprinting here for posterity:

Daniel, I think you may have missed the mark on JetBlue’s intention with the “All You Can Jet” program. It is a publicity stunt designed to fill excess capacity without cutting into holiday revenues, but far from something designed for business travelers. It has consumer virtually written all over it. As it is designed, it offers little value to business travelers, but a great incentive for consumers to try out a ‘new’ airline.

  1. While Jet Blue has been around for ten years now, I suspect that most leisure travelers have not tried them. This is for a variety of reasons including: i) Jetblue’s limited coverage, ii) consumers’ unwillingness to try an airline they have not flown before given an equally priced traditional option, iii) lack of transferable frequent flier points.
  2. The three day advance booking does prevent it from being a cost saving device for last minute business travel, which is entirely fair. While large corporates are accustomed to lower costs for last minute travel than consumers, this policy sidelines them (another hint it is designed with consumers, not business travelers in mind). Consumers, on the other hand, are accustomed to low pricing power and being stuck with either astronomical last minute fares or a 21-day advance booking, replete with an expensive change fee for any modifications. The ability to change plans up to three days before seems like a godsend.
  3. It was announced on Twitter before all other forums of media. In that ecosystem, the “All You Can Jet” pass (see #AYCJ ) has carefully been coaxed into a life of its own by the Jet Blue PR team. They are presently running an informal contest to see who can book the most extensive itinerary.

If this were designed for business travelers, there would have been some frontrunning by their PR department to work with corporate travel departments. That is clearly not the case.

  1. Jet Blue has always been a consumer airline. When I worked for a Fortune 100 company three years ago, JetBlue was not even a corporate travel option regardless of the fair. Assuming they are ‘in the system’ now, you would have to go through many challenges to get the purchase of this pass approved even if you were saving 3x the cost.

Looking at their marketing like http://www.jetblue.com/about/whyyoulllike/ you can clearly tell that they are consumer oriented, and it suits them.

  1. Purchasing the “All You Can Jet” pass requires that you sign up for Jet Blue’s frequent flier program. This essentially gives the company permission to market to you after the conclusion of your itinerary. If it were oriented towards business travelers, it seems like the loyalty program would be oriented towards becoming the business’s preferred airline rather then focusing on the actual passenger.

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If Jet Blue’s goal is, as I believe, to generate publicity and to get more people to try out the airline, I think it will be very successful. The amount of press that this has generated is truly impressive; it is hard to put a dollar value on that.

I’ve been a content Jet Blue passenger for several years flying the AUS -> JFK route a number of times, but this promotion honestly changed my perception of the airline. It motivated me to actually spend hours analyzing their flight schedules to find interesting destinations. Even if I hadn’t booked the pass, the promotion created value for Jet Blue. I now know that they fly to Bogotá, Colombia among many other exciting destinations on Jet Blue. Can you realistically put a price on marketing that good?