JetBlue is celebrating this week’s Veterans Day holiday by launching a series of new commitments to active and former members of the U.S. Armed Services. The most visible of the announcements is the introduction of Vets in Blue, a special livery added to the fleet. The aircraft flew its inaugural trip on Monday carrying more than 100 veterans from New York to Washington, DC. But while the new paint job is what many passengers will see it is just one small part of the program the carrier has put in place for veterans.
For passengers the big news is a collection of benefits to help make travel just a bit easier. Active Duty military members will now receive five free checked bags when flying on JetBlue and will also be invited to board the aircraft before other passengers. Veterans will receive a 5% discount on the base fare as part of a new partnership with Veteran’s Advantage. While both of these announcements were made during the holiday event they are not short-term offers; there is no end date for these policies.
The company also is reaffirming its commitment to hiring veterans and to helping support them once they join up as crewmembers. As Mike Elliott, JetBlue‘s SVP People explained, “Two years ago we looked at [veteran hiring numbers] and we were trending around 50 per year and said we can do a lot better than that.… This year we expect to hire nearly 200.” And while many of the veterans hired are pilots Elliott noted that veterans “fit well in many other jobs such as Tech Ops (aircraft maintenance).”
Once hired in to the company the commitment continues. JetBlue offers peer-to-peer support for veterans through its VetConnect program. The mentors are all veteran volunteers and crewmembers can opt in at any time if they want a bit of extra support from their peers who have a similar service background.
The overall collection of announcements adds up to an impressive move by JetBlue to support both active and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Plus, the new livery is really quite striking. I’m a fan.
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