This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Moxy, the US airline being started by the founder of JetBlue, won’t have traditional customer-service phones and will rely instead on communicating with customers through its app. David Neeleman told attendees at a meeting in New York on Friday that Moxy’s mantra is “we’re just a technology company that happens to fly airplanes” — and that its customer experience will be “very high-tech, very high-touch.”

Moxy — which will have a different name once it starts flying, not before 2020 —has bought 60 Airbus A220 jets and plans to fly them on long-haul flights from the US to Europe and South America, as well as within the US. In Neeleman’s plans, its customer-facing interactions will be very similar to another airline he founded and still leads, Brazil-based Azul, which feels “like the original JetBlue.”

But you won’t necessarily get that from humans, at least before you board.

“I don’t think people want to stand in line and talk to somebody,” he said. The app will take care of a lot of those pre-flight interactions.       

“We all use Uber. We all use Amazon, right? How many of you have ever spoken to a human at Uber?” he asked a room full of employees of the digital marketing agency BMF, which had invited TPG to attend. “They have apps that you can do everything on. The goal is (…) that you never have to speak to us, because everything will be functional in the app. You’ll be able to change your flight, order a meal, cancel your flight.” And what if things go wrong, as for example happens during storms? “If there’s a disruption, we’ll send your new flight, and you can accept it.” There will be humans available, but the idea is that they’ll get in touch only in case of absolute necessity.

Neeleman still wants his new airline to talk to its customers frequently and meaningfully, “so you feel like these guys, they know me, they like me, they care about me.” Via digital means only, that is.

The A220s flown by Moxy will be the -300 model, larger than the A220-100s that will start flying for Delta in January. With about 150 seats in a typical configuration, they will likely have fewer seats on Moxy since Neeleman wants them to be outfitted with lie-flat seats in business class, which take up more space.

An Airbus A220-300 (Photo by Zach Honig / TPG)

As for where they will fly, Moxy’s studying a very wide array of possible destinations: “We have over 800 routes we are looking at,” Neeleman said. Some of them will be across the Atlantic, for example Scranton, Pennsylvania, to London or Bozeman, Montana, to Maui — places that can only be connected now via at least one stop and plane change. Neeleman wants to do it “twice as fast and for half the price.” That’s ambitious, but the A220 offers very low fuel burn and maintenance costs, which helps keep ticket prices lower, Neeleman said. And since Moxy wants to serve places where there’s currently no service beyond mostly regional flights, “I doubt we’ll have a single route that has any competition.”

Another huge focus area for Moxy will be northern Brazil, which the A220 can reach easily from the US East Coast, especially Florida. Azul will be able to feed passengers to Moxy flights, Neeleman said. He’s also part-owner of the Portuguese flag carrier TAP, which he says might soon be part of an alliance with Azul and, possibly, with Moxy as well — an Atlantic-spanning group that may rival in some areas the larger alliances that have divided among themselves most passenger traffic in the world.

With all the focus on tech, though, Neeleman wants his new creature to be focused on people. In fact, he tends to hire managers based on one question — Are they a people person? To explain how much of a driving principle that is for him, he recalled an anecdote from the early days of JetBlue, when an experienced pilot with an enormous amount of flight time under his belt showed up for an interview. “He had 15,000 hours,” Neeleman said, “but when we asked him to tell us about one instance where he’d gone above and beyond, he couldn’t name it. So we didn’t hire him. Why? Because he was a jerk.”

As for the airline’s new name, no one knows yet. There is one thing for sure: It will not be Moxy, because that is the name of a Marriott chain of hotels.

Featured image courtesy of BMF.

Know before you go.

News and deals straight to your inbox every day.

2018 TPG Award Winner: Mid-Tier Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.