While its financial performance started showing signs of improvement, in February 2007, jetBlue faced a crisis, when a snowstorm hit the Northeast and Midwest, throwing the airline's operations into chaos. Because jetBlue followed the practice of never cancelling flights, it desisted from calling flights off, even when the ice storm hit and the airline was forced to keep several planes on the ground. Because of this, passengers were kept waiting at the airports for their flights to take off. In some cases, passengers who had already boarded their planes were kept waiting on the apron for several hours and were not allowed to disembark. However, after all this, the airline was eventually forced to cancel most of its flights because of prevailing weather conditions.[17] The fiasco reportedly cost JetBlue $30 million.[18]
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As jetBlue gained market share, they found a unique positioning where they competed with other low-cost carriers (e.g. Southwest, and Frontier), as well as major carriers (e.g. American, United, and Delta). Amenities such as their live in-flight television, free and unlimited snack offerings, comfortable legroom, and unique promotions fostered an image of impeccable customer service that rivaled the major airlines, while competitive low fares made them a threat to low-cost no-frills carriers as well.[94]
For many years, analysts had predicted that jetBlue's growth rate would become unsustainable. Despite this, the airline continued to add planes and routes to the fleet at a brisk pace. In addition in 2006, the IAM (International Association of Machinists) attempted to unionize JetBlue's "ramp service workers", in a move that was described by JetBlue's COO Dave Barger as "pretty hypocritical", as the IAM opposed jetBlue's creation when it was founded as New Air in 1998. The union organizing petition was dismissed by the National Mediation Board because fewer than 35 percent of eligible employees supported an election.[citation needed]
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