JetBlue seeks to appease customers and investors

JetBlue's customer experience is evolving. Above, new seats in the "Even More Space" section of the airline's A321s. Photo: JetBlue

JetBlue's customer experience is evolving. Above, new seats in the "Even More Space" section of the airline's A321s. Photo: JetBlue

How can JetBlue satisfy Wall Street investors and still keep customers happy?

That challenge falls to Marty St. George, formerly JetBlue's chief marketing officer and now its executive vice president for commercial and planning. Under new JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes, installed earlier this month, St. George is a major voice at the airline from everything from new routes to seat configurations to advertising budgets. 

The Wall Street Journal recently interviewed St. George, asking him how JetBlue will continue to give travelers a better travel experience even as it adds seats to many of its planes, reducing legroom in the process. 

Here are some snippets from the interview, which you can read in its entirety on WSJ.com. 

On why JetBlue is OK with charging for a checked bag, a new development. "Every single year bag fees have become less important, and now they aren’t that big of a deal anymore."

On why customers will still like flying the A320 once legroom is cut. "When more customers actually see this product, they will recognize it’s a better seat. We will continue to have more legroom than any other airline in North America."

On JetBlue's views of the airline industry. "We are flying in a space where our competitors are moving toward commoditization. We have taken a position that air travel is not a commodity but a services business."

On the best bang for the buck in terms of advertising. "Search ads—because they fill seats. I can find people in one location who are searching for information about another city and then serve them an ad that gives them an offer to get to that city."