The airline industry is a crazy field to be in. As a “Crewmember” at JetBlue Airways, I was at work when US Airways Flight 1549 went into the Hudson. For the remainder of the day, meetings were postponed, phones were ringing, faces were weary and everyone was constantly hitting refresh on their internet screens. Though the industry is competitive, it is times like this where competition falls by the wayside, and the entire industry becomes a united family.
After all, this industry is an odd one. If a crash makes people afraid to fly, that does not only apply to US Airways. They won’t fly JetBlue, American, Delta, or Southwest either. If the government passes legislation, it affects the entire industry– an industry that is already hurting in this tough economy. But it is not only the financials that binds us.
I heard as soon as I joined the company (over four years ago) that “the industry gets in your blood.” Once you work for an airline, it’s very difficult to work anyplace else. Over my time there, I’ve seen proof of that– many people at JetBlue started at US Airways, and still have good friends there. It wasn’t only the concern for the entire industry that had them worried–it was concern for their friends and colleagues that they knew were still there. Who was flying the plane? Who was part of the Inflight crew? What other airline employees may have been pass riding?
JetBlue prides itself on being “New York’s Hometown Airline,” so the company knew it had to reach out and help. Our “Care Team” headed over to the crash site to provide food and warm clothing, and we offered up our Emergency Command Center and a variety of resources in case US Airways needed anything. Luckily, this story had an incredibly happy ending. With no casualties, and (seems like) not even any major injuries, this pilot deserves every bit of credit sent his way. Additionally, people often think of the Inflight Crew as those who simply serve the drinks and check seat belts. Having observed the in-depth training they receive, I can attest that this is far from the truth. The fact that every single person made it out of that plane in an orderly fashion reflects directly on the Inflight Crew–they are trained to evacuate airplanes in the most efficient way possible. Quite a task to complete when an airline is filling with water–don’t you think? It’s this type of event that they are trained for–though serving drinks is hopefully all the customers will ever see them do.
US Airways Flight 1549 is an incredible story, and there is already talk of a movie being made about the event. On behalf of all Crewmembers at JetBlue, our thoughts are with the pilot, the inflight crew, and all the customers aboard Flight 1549.