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Flying High: How JetBlue Founder and CEO David Neeleman Beats the Competition... Even in the World's Most Turbulent Industry

ISBN: 978-0-471-65544-2
312 pages
July 2004
Flying High: How JetBlue Founder and CEO David Neeleman Beats the Competition... Even in the World
Flying High traces the incredible career of the founder and chairman of JetBlue, David Neeleman, from his teenage ventures and beginnings in the travel industry., to his short stint at Southwest Airlines and the ultimate launch of JetBlue. In a series of interviews with Neeleman's friends, associates, and high-ranking officials in both business and aviation, this books tells the store of Neeleman and explores the rules of success he both lives and builds his companies by.
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Introduction 1

CHAPTER 1 The Journey Begins 7

CHAPTER 2 Have I Got a Deal for You 23

CHAPTER 3 Morris Air Spreads Its Wings 39

CHAPTER 4 Off to Southwest 55

CHAPTER 5 Opening Up New Skies 73

CHAPTER 6 A Different Kind of Airline 85

CHAPTER 7 Preparing for Departure 103

CHAPTER 8 JetBlue Takes Flight 121

CHAPTER 9 Making Air Travel Entertaining 139

CHAPTER 10 Keeping Customers Happy 151

CHAPTER 11 The Technology Advantage 163

CHAPTER 12 Getting the Word Out in Style 177

CHAPTER 13 Dealing with Disaster 193

CHAPTER 14 Preserving the Culture 213

CHAPTER 15 Looking to the Future 225

CHAPTER 16 David Neeleman’s Rules for Succeeding in Any Business 243

JetBlue Timeline 255

Acknowledgments 263

Notes 265

Index 289

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David Neeleman is much more than one of today’s most accomplished aviation executives. Throughout an incredible career that began with selling Hawaiian timeshare vacation packages as a college student and ultimately led to the creation of JetBlue, Neeleman has demonstrated an uncanny ability to identify and fill unmet needs by building niche businesses. Flying High is a straightforward, illuminating account of David Neeleman’s life and the principles by which he has created his highly profitable travel empire–rules that can be applied to virtually any business in almost every industry.

James Wynbrandt is a New York—based author and award-winning aviation and business reporter. He is a regular contributor to numerous high-profile aviation publications, including Smithsonian Air and Space, Plane & Pilot, General Aviation News, Avionics News, and Pilot Journal. A licensed pilot, Wynbrandt has been following JetBlue since the company’s founding. His articles on business and aviation have also appeared in The New York Times, Forbes, Management Review, Computer and Electronics Marketing, Flying, and Aspen Magazine, among others.

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As veteran airlines writer James Wynbrandt shows in his excellent new book, Flying High, it took JetBlue's hyperkinetic free spirit David Neeleman to extend the revolution started by Southwest's Herb Kelleher into a heady new frontier—by putting the discounters in a nose-to-nose rivalry with the major carriers. A devout Mormon with nine children, Neeleman, from Salt Lake City, learned about customer service as a kid on a milk crate in his grandfather's convenience store. When customers demanded a product his granddad didn't have, young David would bolt out the back door to Safeway to buy it. After a stint as a missionary in Brazil, Neeleman—a college dropout with ADD—started a travel agency, a charter airline to Hawaii, and a low-cost carrier called Morris Air, which he sold to Southwest. After just five months, Kelleher fired Neeleman, who'd barge into meetings and loudly lecture Southwest's proud managers on where their airline was screwing up.
By the time he founded JetBlue in 1999, Neeleman had already pioneered many of the boldest innovations in aviation, including e-ticketing, automatic ticket machines, and at-home reservation staffs. Backed by farsighted investors, among them George Soros, JetBlue busted the biggest myth in airlines by proving that a low-cost carrier can also beat the majors on service. While Wynbrandt clearly idolizes Neeleman as a curious blend of saint and gladiator, his idol does deserve our gratitude. It took this hyperactive dreamer to put a fresh face on a tired industry, to show at long last that customers, not old-line carriers, are charting the future of commercial aviation. (Fortune, June 28, 2004)
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Flying High: How JetBlue Founder and CEO David Neeleman Beats the Competition... Even in the World's Most Turbulent Industry (US $29.95)

-and- The Power in a Link: Open Doors, Close Deals, and Change the Way You Do Business Using LinkedIn (US $19.95)

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