Dom Post on Jetstar

The Dom Post editorial:

Now faces another bad news story. It refused to let 12-year-old Ashleigh Harvey fly from Christchurch to Wellington to see her father because only secondary school students are allowed to fly unaccompanied. Ashleigh starts high school in Christchurch later this month.

So let’s take Jetstar at its word and ask: is this a case of treating customers “as if they were friends and family”? Not really. A friend or a family member might reasonably suppose that Ashleigh fails the secondary student test only by a few weeks, and it is therefore daft to be so pedantic about the rule’s application.

A spokeswoman for the airline said the policy was clear. “There has to be some kind of cut-off.” But this is exactly what customers dislike about Jetstar – its mule-headed insistence on the letter of its laws. This is not “bringing a human element” or “empathy” to the customer.

This isn’t the first time Jetstar has bungled its public relations. There was the shocking case of Jeanette Strange, mother of Adam Strange, who was killed by a great white shark at Muriwai. She was told she would have to pay $321 to change a booking to get to Auckland.

It’s the culture, and they simply have it wrong. When Ansett NZ started in New Zealand, they had a great culture as the underdog seeking to win market share. They came across as grateful, every time you flew with them. By contrast, Jetstar seem to think you should be grateful to them for allowing you to fly with them.

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