JetBlue has earned a name as one of the best airlines in the country and the world, but they’ve also made an impression in the training world as well.

Training Innovator: Delving Into JetBlue U’s Unique Training Style

Most recently the company was named a finalist for the North American Corporate University of Year by the CUBIC Awards (Corporate University Best-in-Class) in 2014.

So what differentiates JetBlue from not only other airlines, but other companies in general?

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JetBlue’s Training Focus

At JetBlue, training is focused on customer service. Yes, there are of course technical elements to the training which we’ll get to, but what really sets the company apart from other larger competitors, like Southwest and Delta, is that focus on customer service.

From the day an employee is hired, JetBlue comprehensively trains that person to become a marketer or a brand ambassador for the company.

Corporate leaders at the company have described the new hire orientation as “brand orientation,” citing the fact the company immediately begins letting employees know how important they are to the brand.

JetBlue University

Beyond that initial concept which guides all training and development at JetBlue, the company also created the JetBlue University, a real place located just outside of Orlando.

Every single person hired by the company has at least some level of training at JetBlue U.

A must-do in the training process? A two-day cultural orientation.

Beyond that, training depends on the position the person was hired for.

For executives and mechanics the training may not be long – they often head off to the location in which they’ll be working to complete more hands-on training, whereas other employees may be at JetBlue U for weeks, living and breathing the culture of the company.

Four Stages of Training for Pilots

Pilots spend about eight weeks training at JetBlue U, and while there is of course some training on flying the specific planes of the company, the pilots also learn about corporate policies and leadership.

Forbes recently covered the unique components of JetBlue’s training, and gave an inside look at the four stages employees go through and how that training is delivered.

Stage one involves learning about systems, and the learning process includes classroom training as well as well as eLearning. This training is very much technical in nature, and guides pilots through how to operate the two planes the company flies.

Next, employees move on to procedures which includes training on a fixed-motion simulator.

From there, pilots move onto mobile simulation, and the pilots then move on to training that tests their ability to fly planes and also how they can manage their position as leaders.

Cabin Crew Training

For the cabin crew at JetBlue, training lasts about a month and there’s a diverse combination of training delivery, from eLearning and classroom training to live simulations.

Training is split into modules which reflect each aspect of a flight from boarding to landing, and there’s a big focus on the policies and procedures these employees are going to utilize each and every day.

Employees don’t just see the walls of JetBlue University as new hires, however. This is also the location where employees go for annual training and continual development.

While not every company may have the resources to create a corporate university on the scale of JetBlue, it’s interesting to again note the link between comprehensive training, delivered in a variety of formats, and overall high performance for an organization.

JetBlue is continuously named as one of the best airlines in the world, and it doesn’t seem to be coincidence they also have one of the most robust training programs to be found anywhere.