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A Jet Blue Perspective

by Scot Herrick on March 1st, 2007

When I was enjoying myself in sunny Costa Rica on vacation, the United States East Coast enjoyed one of those great consecutive snow blowouts that snarled traffic, cancelled school, and created general havoc for everyone.

Jet Blue got caught in the crosshair as well, stranding passengers on planes out on the runways for hours, canceling a thousand flights, and estimating their cost to the storm of over $30-million dollars. Much has been made of the service, the mea culpa of Jet Blue’s CEO, and some active discussion about passengers having a Bill of Rights.

The future is hard to predict. Three weeks ago, Jet Blue was sailing along and enjoying the business of business. Who could have foretold that their scheduling systems would get caught in a frenzy, that something this big would hit along all of their routes, and that other failures in the airline passenger system would contribute to their misfortune?

Perhaps good disaster recovery people would have come close. But, in my experience, whatever scenarios people come up with will not be the scenario that actually happens.

You see, we don’t know what we don’t know.

The only thing we can prepare for is to build a disaster recovery process and ruthlessly test it against a variety of scenarios to see where the process can be improved. Process preparation will trump scenario preparation.

Jet Blue can take this real life learning experience and test it against their recovery process and see where things could improve.

How’s your recovery process?

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