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I had heard a lot of positive comments about JetBlue but had never flew them. That changed a couple of weeks ago when I flew JetBlue on business to Florida. I was impressed. Comfortable seats, friendly crew, and the tiny personal TV's for each passenger made my flight a fast and enjoyable one.

Virgin Atlantic still has the market cornered with their in-flight entertainment. Great programming, on-demand movies, and games abound on those flights. Singapore airlines is another one with the amenities that I have enjoyed flying with. Within the domestic realm, Song (operated by Delta) also had personal TV's with decent entertainment and a collection of music albums to boot. I use the past tense for Song because, sadly, they are no longer in business.

Based on my very limited observation, it appeared that JetBlue has a good model going, the flights (both directions) were full (a high load-factor is what all airlines strive for) and they won me over with their service, so I must assume they have good customer retention.

So I was surprised when I read that JetBlue had reported their first quarterly loss in their relatively short history. You don't need to be an airline analyst to know that this is a tough business. Cut-throat competition and terrorist fears have contributed to the hard times airlines are faced with today. But in the case of JetBlue, oil appears to have been the culprit. Their failure to anticipate the rise in oil prices and therefore take precautionary steps in hedging their fuel, contributed to high expenses and thus the negative earnings. I hope they can ride out the storm and use this lesson wisely in the future. I'd hate to see them with the same fate as Song.


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