A crisis communications plan can be created in anticipation of 20 different likely scenarios, and of course what happens is the 21st scenario.
I seriously doubt that JetBlue's crisis communications planning included a scenario entitled:
"Stressed-out flight attendant snaps, curses out a passenger, and exits airplane on emergency slide."
Nope, not on the "Top Crises Faced by Airlines" list at all.
Now a really GOOD crisis communications plan exists primarily to create a system for appropriate response to any crisis. I'm going to grade JetBlue's reaction based on the Five Tenets of Effective Crisis Communications*, JetBlue's response should have been:
PROMPT -- Grade: D. As far as I can tell, they had almost nothing to say for two days.
COMPASSIONATE -- Grade: F. No compassion for their abused employee or the affected passengers.
HONEST -- Grade: F. Dishonesty can be achieved by acts of commission, omission, exaggeration or understatement. Lots of omission and understatement here.
INFORMATIVE -- Grade: D. Clearly, lawyers are gagging the JetBlue PR people, who are probably -- judging by their one belated but humorous blog post, urging some humility and humor to make this thing go away.
INTERACTIVE -- Grade: F. They should have been encouraging and having a good affect about feedback via Twitter and other social media, versus getting snippy like they did in response to a Tweet by comedian Andy Borowitz.
So, the good news is that JetBlue didn't have to activate its "plane crash" crisis response. The bad news is that they still a PR crash.
*(Trick question: why are there five tenets? Answer: Because I made up the list.),
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