PR: Getting Out in Front Works Again (JetBlue Edition)

By now, you’ve heard the story about the JetBlue flight attendant who quit in an uproar, telling a customer — and many others — to (bleep) off. What’s more, he’s been anointed by some as a hero by angry employees nationwide. The whole incident was certainly unprofessional and not something the company is proud of. At any rate, after a day or so of public ridicule, Twitter wars with comedians, etc., JetBlue finally acknowledged the situation on its own blog and seemed to come off quite well:

Sometimes the weird news is about us…
It wouldn’t be fair for us to point out absurdities in other corners of the industry without acknowledging when it’s about us. Well, this week’s news certainly falls into that category. Perhaps you heard a little story about one of our flight attendants? While we can’t discuss the details of what is an ongoing investigation, plenty of others have already formed opinions on the matter. Like, the entire Internet. (The reason we’re not commenting is that we respect the privacy of the individual. People can speak on their own behalf; we won’t do it for them.)

While this episode may feed your inner Office Space, we just want to take this space to recognize our 2,300 fantastic, awesome and professional Inflight Crewmembers for delivering the JetBlue Experience you’ve come to expect of us.

Additionally, they were able to parlay the incident into a compliment for their existing employees.

So let this be a lesson that sometimes it’s best to address a situation upfront, rather than hope it goes away while losing your ability to control any part of the message.