As rogue JetBlue airline attendant Steven Slater hits the talk shows this week to discuss his freakout on Monday, it's quite clear that he has the sympathy of the man on the street. All of us have wanted to quit a job with a flourish -- grabbing two beers and hopping on an inflatable slide will be hard to beat -- and all the ninnies talking about his putting potential ground crews in danger by inflating the slide will soon find something else to get all puritanical about.
David Neeleman, founder of Brazil's new Azul Airlines, is seated in the back of his armored Ford Fusion, stopped in a rush-hour traffic jam between the airport and his office in Sao Paulo. "How did he get dengue fever?" he asks Paulinho, the rotund, well-armed cop who moonlights as his bodyguard/driver.
What goes up must come down. It's a law of CEO physics. Every year a few star bosses succumb to it and lose their jobs. Most reemerge smoothly a few years later with a new job, an investment fund, or a philanthropy project. But whether it's out of shame or an optimistic focus on the future, few ever discuss what it's like - for a CEO, a spouse, or even the CEO's kids - to survive the fall from a corporate pinnacle.
JetBlue Airways founder and Chairman David Neeleman admitted Tuesday that he wasn't pleased when his company's board forced him to give up the CEO spot in May, and said he believes he'd still have the job if not for the ice storm and service meltdown that hit the airline in February.
JetBlue Airways ousted its founder from his CEO job Thursday, three months after the service problems that stranded passengers on grounded jets for hours dented the airline's reputation for customer service.
A member of the House transportation committee, urged more regulation of airline service in a hearing Friday, as committee members expressed frustration with the Federal Aviation Administration and the airline industry over remedies for extended delays, confusion and inconveniences passengers have endured.
After canceling nearly a quarter of its weekend flights, JetBlue said Monday that it will extend widespread cancellations, but said it plans to announce its own customer "Bill of Rights" after facing severe criticism from a Valentine's Day ice storm that snarled operations at its main hub in New York.
Delta Air Lines, in a continuing struggle with low-cost competitors, said Wednesday it will scrap its food-for-purchase on certain routes, and instead will make a limited offering of free snacks for customers in economy class.
While most of the airline industry wrestled with turbulent times after the September 11 terrorist attacks, CEO David Neeleman navigated JetBlue into one of the most remarkable success stories in modern American aviation.