'New' JetBlue Mum on Flight Attendant

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- JetBlue ( JBLU) sure has changed.

In confronting the Steven Slater crisis, JetBlue has said pretty much nothing.
Jet Blue

This is a far cry from the carrier's response in 2007, when founder and CEO David Neeleman took to the media to apologize, and apologize and then apologize some more, for an operational meltdown following an ice story at New York's Kennedy Airport.

Soon afterwards, Neeleman was replaced as CEO by a quieter, more operationally-focused Dave Barger, who promised to "calm things down." It was a typical transition from the entrepreneur who started a successful company to the less-conspicuous successor who slowed the growth and made the planes run on time.

The transition has clearly been a successful one.

It is safe to say that JetBlue faces a dilemma in deciding what to do about Slater. On the one hand, he is an Internet hero of the Johnny Paycheck "Take This Job and Shove It" variety. On the other hand, he needlessly deployed an emergency chute, a major violation of airline policy, and he used profanity in voicing his emotions over the intercom. He brought attention to the airline, but was it the type of attention the airline wants?

JetBlue's most expansive statement on the issue was a brief commentary on its BlueTales blog Wednesday, which said very little beyond "Perhaps you heard a little story about one of our flight attendants? While we can't discuss the details of what is an ongoing investigation ..."

Maybe the less said, the better. Perhaps it is true that the timid are destined to rule the world. But that is not the course David Neeleman would have followed.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C. .

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