Successful Airline Entrepreneur Starting Airline…With No Customer Service?

via airbus.com

Yup, you read that correctly. David Neeleman, the founder of Jetblue, plans to start another airline.

If you aren’t familiar with David Neeleman, here’s a quick summary…

– 1984-1988, Co-founded Morris Air and serves as Executive Vice-President
– 1988 -1993, served as President of Morris Air
– 1993 Morris Air acquired by Southwest Airlines for $130 million
– Neeleman leaves Southwest Airlines and becomes CEO of Open Skies, a touch screen airline reservation and check-in systems company
– During his time at Open Skies, Neeleman assists in starting another airline, WestJet, currently, Canada’s second largest airline
– 1998 Neeleman founded JetBlue 
– 1999 – Open Skies is acquired by HP
– 2002-2007, Neeleman serves as CEO of Jetblue Airways
– 2008 Neeleman announces plans to launch a new airline, Azul, a domestic carrier in Brazil. Currently, Azul is Brazil’s third-largest airline
– October 2013 Neeleman announces the launch of a new company, Vigzul, a home security and monitoring company
– June 2015, Neeleman acquires 61% of Portugal’s national carrier, TAP Air Portugal
– June 2018, Neeleman announces plans for new US airline called Moxy and raises $100 million in capital

Starting 4 successful airlines in 35 years? …his resumé is ok..I mean..if that’s what you’re looking for!

MOXY DETAILS

Moxy has bought 60 Airbus A220 jets and plans to utilize them on long-haul flights between the US, Europe and South America. A huge focus for Moxy could be northern Brazil where Azul would assist in feeding passengers to Moxy, essentially, creating a network that could rival larger alliances.

via airbus.com

MOMENT OF REFLECTION

Up to this point, I am completely on board. But, this is also where the details become…”interesting.”

Moxy won’t have traditional customer-service phones and will rely instead on communicating with customers through its app.

“We all use Uber. We all use Amazon, right? How many of you have ever spoken to a human at Uber?” Neeleman said in a recent employee meeting.

Moxy’s mantra is “We’re just a technology company that happens to fly airplanes” according to Neeleman.

FINAL STAMP

Don’t get me wrong, I love new ideas and innovation. I also understand that the goal is, similar to Uber – buy your flight, cancel your flight, order food, pick a seat, etc. – and handle everything in the app. 

My only concern is what happens when things go wrong? Let’s say there is a mechanical failure before departure, the airline needs to swap planes and it will delay your arrival. Personally, I enjoy arriving at my destination on time so speaking to a human to understand ALL my options is my main priority. Will that be possible with this model?

I trust there have been some bumps along the road for Neeleman but, as you can see, there have been some major victories too. 

All joking aside, personally, I wouldn’t bet against Neeleman. Jetblue is my favorite domestic carriers and he has transformed TAP Air Portugal into an international powerhouse. It is extremely common to find this BUSINESS CLASS fare (below) between Sweden/Denmark/Norway and the US.

TAP Air Portugal has also begun flying their A330neo’s to the US so you’re getting a business class seat…from Europe to the US…in brand new plane…for less than $700. SOLD!

NOTE: I’ve previously seen business class fares even lower than this.

Additionally, on the TAP Air Portugal website you are able to select a stopover in Lisbon or Porto, up to 5 days, for no additional money. In my opinion, Portugal is one of the most beautiful and underrated countries on the face of the earth. Who wouldn’t want to stop in Portugal for 5 days???

So who’s investing in Moxy? Is it really similar to Uber?

P.s. Just in case you’re wondering…the name of the new airline will not be “Moxy.” Marriott has a chain of hotels called Moxy so expect Neelman’s new airline to have a different name.

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