London Calling: JetBlue Flights To UK Start In 2021

JetBlue has just announced that they intend to launch multiple daily flights from both Boston and New York to London in 2021.

What we know so far about JetBlue’s London service

Unfortunately at this point the details are still fairly limited. We know JetBlue plans to start flying to London in 2021, though we don’t know when in 2021 they plan to launch the service, or how many frequencies they plan to offer (other than that there will be multiple).

JetBlue says they are still evaluating which London-area airport to serve, which is kind of a big detail. London Heathrow slots are very expensive, so it seems like that they’ll fly to another London-area airport. The airline has tried to argue to regulators that some of the transatlantic joint ventures need to be broken up, but that seems unlikely to be successful.

The airline acknowledges that they still have a lot of work to do.

The routes will be served by Airbus A321LR aircraft. JetBlue will get these by converting 13 of their A321neo orders into A321LRs. These planes easily have the range to complete these routes.

What’s great is that JetBlue is known for bringing down premium fares with their Mint class, and I can’t wait to see them do that on transatlantic flights, where it’s so overdue (especially markets like Boston and New York to London).

JetBlue’s president and COO, Joanna Geraghty, had the following to say:

“Twenty years ago, our founders had a simple formula for choosing a new market – it had to be overpriced, underserved, or both. London is the largest metro area JetBlue doesn’t yet serve from both Boston and New York, and we could not be more thrilled to be changing that in the years ahead. The fares being charged today by airlines on these routes, specifically on the premium end, are enough to make you blush.”

As of now no other transatlantic destinations have been announced, though the airline has made it clear that they’re considering expansion beyond that.

JetBlue is introducing a new Mint cabin

JetBlue Mint is an exceptional product, and in my opinion is the best way to fly domestically (Mint is JetBlue’s version of business class). The seats, food, and service, are all exceptional.

The airline says that the A321LR aircraft will feature a “reimagined version of Mint.”

JetBlue says that they are developing a reimagined version of Mint for their A321LR planes, which will feature more lie-flat seats than currently offered on their existing A321 aircraft (they currently have 16 Mint seats).

While they’re not yet revealing details of what that product will look like, I think it’s highly likely that they’ll select the VantageSolo seat, which is from the same supplier they currently use (Thompson Aero).

These cabins feature direct aisle access from every seat.

As JetBlue describes their Mint plans for Europe:

Transatlantic Mint product features and design elements, combined with JetBlue’s specially trained Mint inflight crewmembers, will create an intimate and exclusive travel experience. And like its transcontinental Mint business model, JetBlue will offer the elevated flying experience for a fraction of what other airlines are charging today for premium seats.

Bottom line

I’m thrilled to see that JetBlue is finally launching flights to Europe. The airline lowered fares in transcontinental business class, and now they can do the same on transatlantic flights. It has been a long time coming, though unfortunately we still have to wait at least another two years.

Unfortunately today’s announcement is sort of anti-climactic. The airline has just confirmed that they’ll fly to London, which we basically already knew.

The airline hasn’t revealed when they’ll start service exactly, they haven’t revealed what other cities in Europe they’ll fly to, and they haven’t revealed their new Mint product.

What do you make of JetBlue’s Europe & Mint announcement?

Comments

  1. This is great!!! I’m no expert but I doubt Jetblue needs to be at Heathrow as I’d imagine most of the pax flying this route will have London as their final destination (they’d be connecting from other US cities through BOS/JFK.)

  2. What on Earth does this mean: “London is the largest metro area JetBlue doesn’t yet serve”? Umm… Shanghai? Istanbul? Karachi? Moscow? Tokyo?

  3. They need ETOPS certification too just what southwest has to go through so 2021 makes sense.

  4. JetBlue only has red eye flights from Phoenix to the east coast. Unless that changes, this news is a non-event for me as presumably these Europe flights are also red eyes…

  5. I’m almost certain they will go with the seat you describe; I was invited a while back to a workshop to evaluate their next gen Mint seat and the mockup looked a lot like this one. They will most certainly go with a herringbone configuration. They also plan something quite special with the first row…

  6. When I do transcon, 90% of the time I do Mint. I’m excited they are flying to London. I would love to go to London more often via NYC if the price is more reasonable. With Mint, I can see myself go to rest of the Europe more often via London too. This is great news. I just wish they would start in 2020 instead of 2021. Frankly I don’t care if they arrive in Heathrow or Gatwick. I just want a good reasonably priced business class from East Coast to London.

  7. Gotta wonder if it will be LGW … with all those Mint seats one imagines premium passengers have little enthusiasm for arriving in awful Stansted or nasty Luton

  8. Was hoping they would operate flights from EWR (Newark, NJ) to London initially since it is one of the 3 main New York City airports. Also, wish they would they would start EWR to CDG and EWR to ZUR.

  9. Jet blue thinks London is part of USA else they would’t call “London the largest metro area Jet Blue doesn’t serve yet”

  10. @Josh – It means EXACTLY that!!! London is by far the largest metro AVIATION market for now. The 5 London airports handle more than the two at Tokyo, Shanghai and others.

    @JC – JetBlue’s NYC hub is JFK. Why on earth would they use EWR? smh

    ANYWAY. Like someone said, 2021 is a long way away until it arrives (very quickly)

    Earth needs to get through 2020! first. You’ll see (its already underway for those who have eyes)

  11. I have a feeling they may just start with LON and see how successful they can make that route before adding other European cities. It might be 2022 before we see expansion. I think they’ll try for LHR or LCY (the aircraft would be just about small enough) but may wind up at LGW. LTN and STN are unpopular with Londoners and tourists alike, unless they live right by those airports.

    I was really hoping that they’d announce beginning service in summer 2020. They could probably make BOS-LON happen with the A321neo, so ETOPS is really the only barrier to that.

  12. There was a graphic showing other potential cities during the presentation.
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D30k1jDXsAQjjJD.jpg:large
    Those seem to be AMS, CDG,, DUB, LIS, LON, and MAD.

    There’s reasoning for all of these minus maybe Madrid.

    AMS = JetBlue seemed to make it clear that they were going to fight DL in BOS. This could be a way for them to take a shot at the Skyteam JV.
    CDG = Same logic as AMS
    DUB = JetBlue already has an interline agreement with Aer Lingus, DUB can be used as a point for onward travel.
    LIS = Same logic as DUB, but with TAP instead of Aer Lingus
    LON = Announced today
    MAD = ???

  13. While that rumored seat is all aisle access, it is a more dense configuration? I’d rather they just use the current seat or even the Diamond and fit more seats in, hopefully resulting in lower prices.

    Agreed all things old, are new again—and that it’s basically a herringbone seat.

  14. I think a herringbone configuration would look really cool on a narrow body. Reminds me of when Virgin Atlantic had an Upper Class cabin on the upper deck of the Heathrow 747s.

  15. Expect any relief in prices to be short lived.

    When B6 entered the transcon market, their pricing was extremely competitive, but today, their pricing (and the rest of the big 3 cartel’s) have slowly crept back up to pre-B6 entry prices for MOST flights. In many cases B6 actually commands a premium to the big 3.

    This also happened in NY when B6 started running a number of NYC-BOS shuttles. They cratered the market with ulta low pricing for a short period, but prices have crept back up and seats on that route are higher then they have ever been. Either way, pound for pound I expect their product to outshine most of their competition on this route so if their pricing is the same, it’s a win for consumers.

  16. It’d be great if they started a JFK-DUB flight having lost the daily AA 757 and one of the two daily Norwegian flights to SWF with the 737 MAX issues

  17. JetBlue: we plan to launch flights to London in 2 years. EXCEPT. We don’t have an airport selected. We don’t have the rights to fly there. Oh and also we don’t have the planes yet. But trust us. In two years we will fly there!

  18. @OCTinPHL I stand corrected. I thought it could if needed take an A320 and maybe squeeze more, but was wrong. Thanks!

  19. @Josh. Largest metro area from Boston and NYC that JetBlue doesn’t yet serve. I doubt the traffic to/from Shanghai, Istanbul, etc. is larger than the traffic to/from LON.

  20. Hopefully this happens, I fly Mint transcon as much as practical, and if I was going to London or the UK I would definitely favor JetBlue over all other options at the moment. What I really hope though is that this service leads to JetBlue developing lounges at BOS and JFK.

  21. Seems like a perfect time to establish a new airline partner for jetblue.

    Using emirates from LON helps a little, but why would you take 2 stops to asia/aus instead of 1?

    And is EK biz really any better than B6 Mint?

    I’m thinking a Chinese or Japanese carrier….

  22. If they mean “the metro area with the most air traffic from Boston and NYC”, that’s fine. It’s just not what the words “the largest metro area” mean. There are heaps of larger metro areas than London.

    To be fair, if you can write clearly, you probably don’t go into PR 😉

  23. Yes, it’s great, but what a tease.. They started playing with this rumor in 2015, and it’s taking until 2021? Teleportation might be a thing before they actually start flying to London.

  24. Did JetBlue create that graphic above? I’ve seen it on a few other blogs so I assume yes? You’d think they’d do a basic grammar check before distributing. Kind of embarrassing. “Build’s” isn’t exactly correct.

  25. It’ll be Stansted.

    No slot payment required and the aiport will likely subsidise the landing / passenger fees or pay for ‘marketing support’ which is a subsidy in all but name.

  26. Wow, not sure what could be more anticlimactic…2021, joke. No way they’ll go (afford) LHR, and Norwegian owns the leasuire traveller into LGW. So their plan is to bring discount layflat into Standsted? The majority of J pax to London aren’t paying for their tickets, corporate cards are flipping the bill, so they (and me) will stick with the big 3 and land at LHR/LGW where there’s transport options and hotels.

  27. I understand what Josh means. The largest metro area means more about the city itself and not just the airports. So, in that respect, there would be a lot more cities that would be bigger than London. It all depends on how you look at that statement. Yet, in this case, the statement does read more like in terms of the population or city itself rather than just the airport or airports

  28. All well and good in business class, however economy customers will not be happy when they see a narrow body They expect a wide bodied aircraft
    The market is already oversaturated. And there quote that London is the largest market not served from the NE is confusing and incorrect – Mexico City ? Shanghai , Tokyo , the list is endless

  29. Well, since it will cost 700,000 points to fly to London in 2021 given the new changes we can hope that JetBlue starts taking it to them and we get the option of paying less than obscene fares for business class. #tohellwithpointsandloyalty

    Now we need Alaska to start looking at intl. routes.

  30. @AlanD
    @OCTinPHL

    The A220 *is* certified to fly out of London City (SWISS already flies some https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1ahMt7vW18 out of LCY) – and the aircraft has the the range necessary to reach New York non-stop.

    https://simpleflying.com/airbus-a220-etops-approved/
    https://airwaysmag.com/manufacturer/airbus-a220-gains-etops-180-approval/

    I’m curious if JetBlue might be able to squeeze one of their A220’s into/out of LCY (perhaps in an all-mint config like BA does with their A318) if they can’t get slots at LHR.

  31. “We’re going to fly across the Atlantic!”
    “London is the largest metro area we don’t serve from Boston and New York!”

    The second statement is wrong – they don’t serve Istanbul, Tokyo or Beijing from those airports either.

    The first statement is either incorrectly transcribed or poorly written – “build’s” isn’t even close to correct.

  32. Fly into LGW great airport. I live near STN, such a horrible airport. It’s like an insanely disorganized Ikea. It literally makes me anxious thinking about it.

  33. Wonder how they will serve the economy cabin. Will the intorduce hot food? Will it be free? A lot of unanswered questions here

  34. I don’t know what the strategical move here is. Now they give the competitors plenty of time to react and obstruct JetBlue’s plans?
    I hope they will succeed but this project seems to be doomed from the start.
    – No decision in destination airport yet
    – No landing rights yet
    – No aircraft for these routes yet
    – No code share agreemenst (yet?)

    IMHO they should have waiting for this until the very last minute. These routes are so high density, no problem to fill them up.

    Maybe I am not enough into the business but this doesnt make sense for me.

  35. I very occasionally use STN, it always make me laugh how the signs say “welcome to London.” You are nowhere near London!

    That said, I’d be curious to try them once they start serving London.

  36. I mean Gatwick really isn’t that much closer if going by train.

    You are talking about 29 minutes vs 47 minutes. Difference is STN is a dumpster fire. I’ve used it half a dozen times in the past 2.5 years despite it being way closer to Cambridge (used Heathrow about 20 times, and Gatwick 3 times).
    From the 6 times I used STN, 5 were absolutely horrible. It’s actually pretty efficient but it is WAY too small for the volume it has. The lounge is nice but it’s absolutely packed every time even at 6am.

  37. Ignoring the typos others have pointed out in their graphic, the route map showing London at more southerly latitude than BOS/NYC just seems sloppy.

  38. Exciting times for JetBlue, looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

    In the US, it’s lobbying hard for Delta, Virgin Atlantic, KLM and Air France to be forced to sacrifice slots at London Heathrow in return for allowing their expanded joint venture to be approved. London Gatwick is the second choice but slots are still not easy there.

  39. The advantage of herringbone on a narrow-body is that each seat is both window and aisle. 🙂

    Those of us who have used it, suggest that SEN should be considered.
    To the City, a taxi takes pretty much the same time from any of LHR, LGW, STN or SEN (subject to time of day affecting traffic)
    But SEN is a particularly easy train journey to the middle of the City.

    LTN should definitely be avoided – traffic is too much for its space-limited site.
    And the “London” at the beginning of the name of OXF is decidedly misleading – like those Orlando examples Ben mentioned recently.

  40. Stansted could be more clever than it seems as both road and rail access are being improved so the catchment area to the north and east is good.

    I live near Harrogate (posh place north of London ) and the drive to STN is not too bad and better than any other London airport bar the shed known as Luton. My other option is the BA shuttle to LHR which is good but always takes longer than you’d think with connections.

    Hope this happens.

  41. What a bizarre announcement. I personally doubt this will ever work…

    Firstly, they have given their competitors 2-3 years to react. Secondly, the field is already so crowded, premium revenue between LON and JFK in particular is driven by volume over price… For all those saying they expect JetBlue to bring down prices – how much more can they fall? This is a market in which you can frequently buy round-trip J tickets for around £1500/$2000, and coach seats often go under £500. As Norwegian has demonstrated, you simply cannot make money flying people more cheaply than this. Finally, by the time they launch, BA and VS will likely already be flying their new J Products in these markets, so MINT will not be anything superior/revolutionary, and they will never be able to match the frequency of the legacy carriers.

    Unlike the US transcon market when they first entered, I just don’t see much to ‘disrupt’ here…

  42. Also, given Delta/VS announcing new LGW-BOS/JFK service, have to imagine BA/AA will shortly announce the same (BA already flies LGW-JFK, would imagine they swiftly add Boston)

  43. Why would you make an announcement with (a) no details on the date of launch, (b) which airport you’ll serve and (c) what the seat will be? This seems incredibly rushed and ill-planned. And 2021? That’s a long, long time from now. Why wouldn’t they announce for late 2019 or early 2020?

  44. @JamesW:

    After posting I read that the A220 had recently been approved for the steep takeoffs and landings required at LCY. So yes, it can be used. But doesn’t the A220 only have a marginally greater range (~200-300 kms?) than the 318 which would necessitate a westbound fuel-stop? Perhaps not, I don’t know. And is JetBlue really looking at only flying Mint-heavy or Mint-only configs into LCY? From BOS? I don’t disagree with you – it *can* be done, but it would make more sense to fly to GTW. That said, I love flying into and out of LCY for intra-Europe flying, and would love to try BA2 sometime (or BA1), both of which usually have decent award availability. [email protected] those fuel surcharges.

  45. @JamesW, @OCTinPHL,

    The issue with the A318 at LCY isn’t the range – it can also easily make the flight across the Atlantic when fully fuelled in an all-pemium config, the issue is MTOW at LCY, due to very short runway length and the steep ascent required. The A318 can’t take off from there with a full transatlantic fuel load. I would assume the A220/C-series would have that problem as well, although not certain.

  46. I’m thrilled at the prospect of flying Mint across the Atlantic, but I hope it’s not going to be in the herringbone configuration. I love the current Mint seating, which gives me the option of privacy, if I’m traveling by myself, or to share the flight with my wife, when we’re traveling together. The herringbone solo seats don’t give you that option. I also like to be able to look out the window, which has been difficult on past herringbone products (DL & VS).

  47. I think it’ll be Stansted.

    Even if DL/VS/AF/KL are forced to give up a couple of LHR slots you can bet it’ll be the most inconvenient ones for TATL ops.

    STN will offer them reduced landing charges and other support that LHR and LGW won’t.

    Even if they use the A220 from LCY they will still have to do a fuel stop somewhere due to the restrictions at LCY which would increase their costs. BA has to switch pilots at SNN due to flying hours restrictions so Jet Blue would need to find a way around like that.

  48. What’re the benefits of herringbone over reverse-herringbone on single-aisle aircraft? Given AA’s love for pinching pennies, were herringbone more efficient, I’d have thought they’d opt for that on their A321Ts. Herringbone is such a PITA as a pax, I don’t understand why they’d opt for this configuration when other, more convenient choices are available, unless it’s a money/manufacturer homogeneity thing.

  49. Alaska Airlines has poor award service to Europe by its partners. SQ not yet available. AF/KL discontinued. BA not practical due to high fuel surcharges. Icelandair worse now.

    AS should (ha ha, but seriously) start A321neo service Stansted – PHL – SEA or EWR instead of PHL. Or even SEA- YFB – STN. For rapid stops, YFB could be a technical stop only 6 days of the week. One day of the week, there could be SEA-YFB traffic and STN-YFB traffic where everyone gets off for security screening at YFB. The other 6 days, YFB passengers could get on flights because there’s no security risk of people leaving bombs on the plane and exiting.

  50. Maybe they should change that to the “Largest Metropolitan Area in the USA (or wishes to be in the USA).

  51. With a start-up date potentially almost 3 years out, not even factoring in inevitable delays, this is surely just a thought bubble today. File under ‘ Maybe’ and forget.

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