David Batstone recaps a conversation with David Neeleman, the CEO and founder of JetBlue in the March 2005 Harvard Business Review and shows perfectly how the empathy of great design thinking improves both human experience and the bottom line simultaneously:
For starters, Neeleman was troubled by the vast inequities of privilege and poverty he saw firsthand in Brazil. Note that JetBlue today tries to eliminate stark differences that affect how customers are treated. The airline offers only one class of seats. In fact, the seats that have the most legroom are the situated at the back for those people who have to get off the plane last. In-flight services as well are offered to all customers with equal attention. In return, JetBlue enjoys an unusual depth of customer loyalty.
This begs a direct comparison to Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines who included employee job satisfaction as an integral piece in his strategy, a key differentiator in an industry in “a race to the bottom”.