I'm right now sitting at Jet Blue's Terminal 5 at JFK, and I have to say that Jet Blue understands that they can create a positive customer experience long before their actual "product." After all, Jet Blue is in the business of flying people from Point A to Point B. But they have taken a clear interest in designing the arena in which people get that experience.
I arrived at the airport, and checked my bags with a nice, helpful attendant named Tyrone, who joked with the customers. When he spotted my American Airlines bag tag that I hadn't removed from my last flight, he pointed out to me that you can book a JetBlue flight domestically and connect to an American Airlines flight internationally.
Also, I noticed signs in the bathroom that told people that if they spotted something wrong with the bathroom, they should inform Jet Blue's customer service folks (who sit at desks labelled "ASK ME").
Right now, I'm sitting at these specialized benches with plenty of power-ports and touch-screens where you can order food where you sit. No, seriously. It says on the side that you can surf the internet and place an order for food or drink while you work. And they give you free WIFI to do it with. Suck that American Airlines/Boingo WIFI!
My point in all that is that I'm sitting here feeling some of that old-fashioned customer loyalty, and I'm probably going to enjoy my flight more even though my flight experience will have nothing to do with any of this. It's ridiculous and petty of me, but I feel better since I feel like Jet Blue is actually invested in my positive experience.
It makes me wonder about theater lobbies. Do we do everything in our power to make the pre-show experience and post-show experience enjoyable to our audiences? Do we take responsibility for each moment of that experience? Is there anything we could be doing better, or newer, or differently?