JetBlue Airways: David Neeleman (2019) : How I Built This with Guy Raz In the mid-90s, David Neeleman wanted to launch a new airline. He had already co-created a regional airline out of Salt Lake City that was acquired by Southwest. And despite his admiration of Southwest's business model, Neeleman felt there was a market for a different kind of budget airline. He envisioned flights to cities other budget airlines avoided and excellent customer service, with high-tech amenities. In 2000, he launched JetBlue and in its first year, the company flew over 1 million people, and cultivated a loyal customer following. Then came the 2007 Valentine's Day ice storm.
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JetBlue Airways: David Neeleman (2019)

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JetBlue Airways: David Neeleman (2019)

JetBlue Airways: David Neeleman (2019)

JetBlue Airways: David Neeleman (2019)

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Marcus Marritt for NPR
David Neeleman is founder of JetBlue Airways.
Marcus Marritt for NPR

In the mid-90s, David Neeleman wanted to launch a new airline. He had already co-created a regional airline out of Salt Lake City that was acquired by Southwest. And despite his admiration of Southwest's business model, Neeleman felt there was a market for a different kind of budget airline.

He envisioned flights to cities other budget airlines avoided and excellent customer service, with high-tech amenities. In 2000, he launched JetBlue and in its first year, the company flew over 1 million people, and cultivated a loyal customer following.

Then came the 2007 Valentine's Day ice storm.

This episode of How I Built This was produced by James Delahoussaye and edited by Neva Grant. Research help from Mia Venkat. Additional support from Jeff Rogers, Casey Herman, Rachel Faulkner, J.C. Howard, Julia Carney, Farrah Safari, Liz Metzger, Janet W. Lee, and Analise Ober. You can follow us on Twitter @HowIBuiltThis, on Instagram @HowIBuiltThisNPR and email us at hibt@npr.org.