JetBlue has launched its second transatlantic destination from London.The airline will fly to Boston daily from late summer 2022.
Like JetBlue’s existing route from London to New York JFK, this will be served daily from both Gatwick and Heathrow airports.
Flights from Gatwick launch 20 July 2022. Heathrow follows on 23 August 2022.
The prospects for this route are strong. Boston is major hub for JetBlue. It offers connections to a wide range of destinations in the US and Caribbean.
To give JetBlue credit, many attempts by established airlines to move from short haul to long haul flights, particularly with a small sub-fleet of aircraft, have either failed or experienced significant teething problems. JetBlue has so far managed to avoid this and its in flight service has been well received.
Flights are on sale now at JetBlue for travel into 2023.
In one of the most widely trailed route launches, JetBlue has finally confirmed its plans to launch its first transatlantic routes to New York JFK.
JetBlue will fly from London Heathrow Terminal 2 to New York JFK Terminal 5 daily from Thursday 12 August 2021.
Flights from London Gatwick (North Terminal) to New York JFK will follow on Thursday 30 September 2021.
JetBlue also plans to launch flights from London to Boston in the summer of 2022.
These routes will be operated with Airbus A321 Long Range aircraft. JetBlue has 13 of these aircraft on order with 3 to be delivered this year and a further 3 in 2022. In 2019, JetBlue also ordered 13 Airbus A321 XLR aircraft intended for routes to mainland Europe, originally due for delivery from 2023.
Mint Business Class
The aircraft will feature JetBlue’s latest “Mint” business class cabin featuring 24 Mint Suites and 2 larger Mint Studios in the front row of the aircraft.
The Mint Suite features a fully flat bed in a herringbone configuration and a sliding door for complete privacy. Passengers also benefit from a 17″ TV screen, a side table, stowage for laptops, shoes and small bags. The Mint Studio features a larger bed, TV screen and an additional side table.
JetBlue has not yet confirmed what departure and arrivals lounge facilities will be in place for passengers in London and New York JFK.
Core Economy Class
The economy cabin, dubbed “core”, features 117 seats in a 3 – 3 configuration. JetBlue promises a 32″ seat pitch and 18.4″ seat width.
This includes four rows of extra leg room seats. All food and drink is complimentary in economy with the option to “build your own meal” by ordering through your seat back TV screen.
Note there are three categories of economy fare (Blue Basic, Blue, and Blue Extra). Blue Basic fares do not include a free checked bag, nor advance seat selection.
All passengers will benefit from complimentary unlimited high speed WiFi. The in flight entertainment system will also include live TV – due to rights issues this is likely to be limited to global news channels.
What are JetBlue’s prospects of success?
Whilst JetBlue has made much of its intention to shake up the transatlantic market, operating long haul flights for the first time with a relatively small sub fleet of aircraft will not be without its difficulties.
Should JetBlue have issues with aircraft reliability, without sufficient backup arrangements in place, this could have a considerable repetutional impact.
It has to be said that the timing of the Heathrow flights are not particularly competitive with a late departure to New York and long aircraft downtime at Heathrow. There is also uncertainty as to whether JetBlue can secure permanent slots at Heathrow.
JetBlue’s move has already prompted a competitive response from US airlines. United has obtained remedy slots from BA to launch London Heathrow – Boston. If history is anything to go by, further competitive activity from US airlines are likely.
Full details on JetBlue’s plans for transatlantic services from London are available at JetBlue.com
As ever, in the current climate, flight schedules are subject to change at very short notice and passengers must ensure they comply with all pre departure and arrival requirements.
An inevitable consequence of a demand shock to aviation like COVID-19 is that airlines put expansion plans and new projects on hold.
Qantas has postponed, albeit not indefinitely, plans to order aircraft capable of flying from London to the East Coast of Australia non-stop. Almost all airlines envisage being substantially smaller over the next two years.
Last year, JetBlue confirmed it plans to launch transatlantic flights from London to Boston and New York JFK from 2021. These will be operated with Airbus A321 long range aircraft.
Speaking to CNN’s “Quest Means Business” on Thursday 28 May 2020, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes, with the aid of a not so subtle hint behind him, confirmed the airline still plans to launch flights from London in 2021, albeit more later in the year.
JetBlue maintains its promise to lower air fares on transatlantic routes. However, the market may pre-empt this. It is likely that all airlines will face lower yields as the return of business travel is likely to lag the lifting of travel restrictions and large scale events remain cancelled.
JetBlue is to launch its first transatlantic routes from London to Boston and New York JFK from 2021.
Flights will be operated with Airbus A321 Long Range aircraft. JetBlue has converted 13 of its existing orders for Airbus A321 aircraft to the long range version.
It will feature an updated version of JetBlue’s signature “Mint” premium cabin which operates on select transcontinental routes in the US. JetBlue also promises to undercut existing premium transatlantic fares.
There is a lot JetBlue has not said in today’s announcement.
JetBlue has not specified which London airport it will fly from. It is highly likely that JetBlue will pursue hard access to Heathrow. It has been explicitly lobbying for slots at Heathrow to be made available as a condition of Air France-KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic combining their transatlantic joint-ventures. The American Airlines and British Airways transatlantic joint-venture is also under review by the Competitions & Markets Authority pending its renewal. From JetBlue’s press statements it is clearly targeting the major transatlantic joint-ventures and will be lobbying against these on both sides of the atlantic.
JetBlue has also not given any indications of potential schedules and frequencies. Though a fleet of 13 aircraft for transatlantic operations, some of which will ultimately operate from other European cities, should allow for a significant schedule.
Any new entrant should be welcomed. JetBlue has a lot going its favour. It haas a strong brand with a significant presence in Boston and New York. However, with a relatively small transatlantic operation and a small dedicated fleet, it will need to have sufficient contingency measures in place in the event of operational issues. Any short notice delays, cancellations and aircraft substitutions will result in goodwill being lost.
JetBlue’s announcement has been trailed long in advance and has not gone unnoticed by its competitors. Delta and Virgin Atlantic have already announced plans to fly from Gatwick to Boston and New York JFK in 2020. Should JetBlue ultimately choose to fly from Gatwick, it would be surprising if American Airlines and BA (which already flies from Gatwick to New York JFK) don’t make a similar competitive response.