Employees represent their companies' brands in the eyes of the public. Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who dramatically left the aircraft while on duty on August 9, 2010, negatively affected JetBlue's brand, due to his role in customer service, safety and emergencies.
JetBlue's website showcases its Customer Bill of Rights. Slater, in his customer service position, displayed incorrect behavior toward a customer, which shows customers that they may not be treated correctly on JetBlue. In America, the "customer is always right," (H. Gordon Selfridge) but not on JetBlue.
Flight attendants explain safety procedures to airline customers and assist in protecting their safety. Since Slater failed to promote a safe environment when opening the emergency slide, customers could feel unsafe on jetBlue flights. They know flying is a potentially dangerous situation, due to accidents and terrorism, and would prefer airlines where they are confident that flight attendants will protect them.
The image of an adversarial employee and an unsafe environment could lead customers to decrease their purchase of JetBlue tickets. The company needs to counteract this image by highlighting its customer service and safety record versus other airlines'. Otherwise, customers perceive that they could have a negative experience on JetBlue, which tarnishes JetBlue's brand.