JetBlue Airways books Windows XP Professional for efficiency, reliability, and security.
Published: December 2001
To maintain its high level of customer satisfaction and build even higher levels of operational efficiency, JetBlue Airways implemented Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional for all its users. The remote support, easily customizable interface, and user migration tools enabled the airline to implement Windows XP Professional without additional training and support a widely distributed work force with a small IT staff. In addition, JetBlue expects that the improved reliability and security features, such as support for Smart Card logon, will enable it to maintain a reliable, more secure environment for all users.
JetBlue Airways took flight on February 11, 2000, from New York City to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Nearly two years later, it serves 18 cities across the United States with a fleet of new planes equipped with roomy, all-leather seats, each of which features free LiveTV satellite television offering 24 channels of DIRECTV. The airline not only reports a profit in its second year of operation but also has received several customer-service-related awards. It earned the highest scores of any airline in the Conde Nast Traveler 2001 Business Travel Awards and was ranked #2 Best Domestic Airline for comfort and service in the 2001 Zagat Airline Survey.
Those kudos come as a result of a unique low-fare, low-cost business model that combines superior operational performance with the friendliest service in the industry. To achieve all those objectives along with profitability, JetBlue places a strong emphasis on technology. “One of the things I promised my bosses when I came on board was that we would always be the most technologically advanced airline in the sky,” says Jeff Cohen, Vice President and Chief Information Officer. “But one of the caveats was that we would never buy technology just for the sake of technology, but rather to improve our efficiency and customer service.”
The airline operates 24 locations in 18 cities, with 2,100 employees. The majority of those employees—from the reservations agents to office workers to pilots—have desktop or portable computers.
JetBlue’s 500 reservations agents work out of their homes within a half-hour drive of the JetBlue Reservations Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Reservations Center has 100 seats for training new reservations agents and also houses the IT staff. JetBlue reservations agents connect to the host reservations system over 56K dial-up lines and use voice over IP (VoIP) connections to interact with customers. The IT staff supports reservations agents remotely by phone. And when the agents have a hardware problem that can’t be resolved over the phone or they need to upgrade the operating system or application, they take their removable hard disks to the Reservations Center to be reimaged or exchanged for new disks.
JetBlue pilots all carry notebook computers, which hold the required flight and air safety guideline manuals. JetBlue is the first airline to equip its pilots exclusively with electronic versions of these manuals rather than with hard copy versions, so the reliability of the operating system is critical.
All of JetBlue’s client computers had been running the Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional operating system since the airline’s inception. However, in its quest to maintain the highest level of efficiency and security, the JetBlue IT staff looked at moving to the Microsoft Windows XP Professional operating system.
The chief factors driving the company’s interest in Windows XP Professional were its reliability, security, and remote support capability. Reliability is crucial for all operations from ticketing to the pilots’ flight procedures. Remote support enables the airline’s three-member IT staff to support 900 portable and 600 desktop computers in 18 cities. “Even though we have only