JetBlue CEO: Long Beach brouhaha was not inadvertent

Barger: Yes. My sense is that really – not just in America – but the world there's what's known as mainstream media. But, new social media, it's there. It's real-time.

I think when there was a challenge to the blog – not my comment, but somebody else's regarding (blog author Snyder's credibility as) a "professional" – I think that's a very, very harsh comment. I mean it's (The Cranky Flier) real.

Mutzabaugh:Of course, in the blogosphere, there are blogs that run the gamut of journalistic integrity. But The Cranky Flier is one that's very well respected and has a good reputation. What's your perspective?

Barger:I believe so. And, by the way, I think whether it's written format or TV or radio, I think there would also be others who would say some (of those outlets) are also less professional (than others).

But this was not happenstance with Brett. We've spent time with Brett and The Cranky Flier in the past. We'll see what happens now in terms of talk becoming reality (at Long Beach Airport).

Mutzabaugh:Is there a timeline that you have in mind for when you need to see something happen at Long Beach?

Barger:Years ago.

Mutzabaugh:So, you're saying Long Beach really needs to come through with at least a good-faith effort to start on what you've been expecting.

Barger: We really need to see that. We do. And June 17, we're cutting the ribbon on service to LAX … in addition to Burbank. It's a multi-airport strategy across the L.A. Basin. And (our) airplanes can move to different parts of that network.

Mutzabaugh:To be clear, and to pick up on what you said to The Cranky Flier, would you really consider pulling out of Long Beach? Many suggested maybe those comments were just a ploy to increase your leverage in the situation. But, would JetBlue really do that?

Barger: I think we are hopeful with activity out of the city of Long Beach. At the same time, we wouldn't hesitate to move airplanes throughout the region … or across our network.

The ground experience has to match the in-flight experience. In the same time that we have designed, financed and built a 640,000 square-foot terminal in New York, we're still waiting for a parking deck to finally start to take place in the city of Long Beach.

So, very seriously, from the standpoint (that) the commitment was years ago. The customer experience today? Not only do they demand better, but they deserve better. And so do the crewmembers. (They deserve) an appropriate ground experience.

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