Big JetBlue Announcement Today: What We Know So Far

Filed Under: JetBlue

Confirmed! JetBlue will fly to London from both New York and Boston in 2021.


In early March, JetBlue sent out a “save the date” email to employees. This event is taking place today, April 10, 2019, at 3PM in New York. It’s described as a “chat about JetBlue’s vision and strategy.” JetBlue employees are invited to attend in person or watch via webcast.

What could JetBlue be announcing?

I think at this point just about everyone believes that JetBlue is announcing service to Europe.

JetBlue has been talking about flying to Europe for years, and they’ve spent the past several months claiming that the big transatlantic joint ventures need to be broken up for them to fly there, and that’s not likely to happen.

Perhaps the most obvious clue JetBlue provided was that the background of the invitation matched the fabric of the seats you’ll find on the tube in London. That can’t be a coincidence.

So now the major questions are:

  • Which London airport will JetBlue fly to? Will they fly to Gatwick, or are they spending a fortune to acquire a Heathrow slot?
  • Will JetBlue just announce service to London, or also to other European cities? I’ve seen Amsterdam, Dublin, and Paris mentioned as well.
  • It’s also rumored that JetBlue could introduce a new Mint product, so is that something we could see announced today?

Could we see a new JetBlue Mint product?

JetBlue has a great Mint product, and was the first airline in the world to put doors on business class seats.

They’ve now had that product for several years, causing many to question whether they’ll introduce something new.

Currently JetBlue uses the Thompson Aero Vantage seat for Mint, though Thompson Aero has an updated seat, specifically for narrowbody planes — the VantageSolo seat.

So it seems conceivable that JetBlue might use the new VantageSolo seat to offer direct aisle access from all business class seats on their transatlantic flights.

It is interesting to me how product concepts go through cycles. This looks an awful lot like a herringbone seat (facing towards the aisle and away from the window), which at this point is typically considered to be outdated.

Bottom line

It looks like JetBlue’s time to announce service to Europe has finally come, after years of waiting. I’m very curious to see what exactly they announce, though.

It’s highly likely that even if there is an announcement, the new service won’t be imminent. JetBlue hasn’t yet filed with any of the relevant authorities to be able to launch this service, and that’s a process that could take quite a long time, in addition to going through aircraft certification to operate these routes.

So I think it’s just about a sure bet that Europe service won’t launch before 2020, and if it does launch in 2020, it’s highly likely it would just be in late spring or summer, based on transatlantic demand (no one wants to start transatlantic service in winter).

The other question is whether JetBlue will announce a new Mint product today.

Anyone want to place a last minute guess as to JetBlue’s big announcement?

Comments
  1. all sort of organizations use the term “all hands” to mean every employee, you’re definitely reading too much into that one

  2. That’s great if JetBlue joins the transatlantic routes, but why is it that they still don’t fly to Canada? They already fly to Mexico, Caribbean, central america and the northern parts of South America. There must be a reason for it.

  3. Ben,

    All hands (short for all hands on deck) is a standard term in corporate America for all-staff meetings typically led by senior leadership. Companies use them to provide updates on performance and overall strategy of the company. Some can feature a town hall style format where executives hold Q&A with employees. These are typically held quarterly or annually, depending on the company.

    While it’s possible that JetBlue makes a big announcement, it’s likely nothing. I’ll defer to your comment, “Again that’s total over analysis”. Thanks for sharing nonetheless. We can always hope 🙂

  4. I recognize that background as seats on some of the London Underground lines. IF they finally announce Europe and namely London, they really should do it on widebody’s. But my question is, do they have the slots in Heathrow? I know they requested some remedy slots from the FAA but even IF they do get them, is it going to be enough to really make a dent? Boston-LHR might be fine at 2 or 3 daily but they really would need at least 5 from JFK to compete with about 10-12x to LON on AA/BA and 6-8x to LHR on DL/VS.

  5. It’s amusing how selectively people read things. Yes, all-hands meetings are commonplace, however very few are followed by an after-party.

    While I do see the London Eye, possibly, in that background photo, the buildings strike me more as NY skyscrapers than anything in London. It’s not like they put a silhouette of the Shard in there…

  6. They might actually do well 2x JFK LHR with mint and their base of loyal business customers in new york. Heathrow slots are not cheap and are most likely the determining factor in whether or not the route will succeed.

  7. That is definitely the London underground moquette.

    If JetBlue brings Mint to London that’s awesome. Poetic justice too that they’re about to demolish the British Airways Terminal 7 at JFK.

  8. @ BR

    Unless they go to Gatwick? I think historically airlines which really want to serve London but can’t get a Heathrow slot, start a service to Gatwick to get the route up and running, then move to Heathrow at first chance. How easy is it to get a slot at Gatwick?

    And yes, the background is to me a giveaway, it’s the tube seat pattern. Unless of course it’s a huge red herring…

  9. Lucky – Though no one is better equipped to analyze and comment on commercial airplane clip art than you, I think your first point is a stretch.

    That being said, how long are you going to keep the A340 or 747 in your OMAAT logo? Maybe it’s time for an A359?

  10. FWIW, a JetBlue flight attendant told me last week that they were going to start flying to London soon…

    Not sure how he knows / thinks he knows.

  11. Yawn.

    IF it’s even true that this is about B6 serving London – it’s just another airline serving JFK-London. Another couple planes on that route is hardly remarkable.

  12. Delta just recently had an “all-hands” meeting with a similar invitation/wording and said there’d be a big announcement…many of us were hoping it was the India route announcement, but it was about a day-of-service. May not be as groundbreaking as you might think just cause it’s an all-hands meeting!

  13. @travelguy that’s the London Underground moquette. Unless someone at JetBlue had no idea

  14. @Bob – for the first time ever we’ll have decent service on the most profitable route in the world. It’s sad that the product flying between JFK and SFO is leagues better than the product flying LHR/LGW to JFK. This route is stuck with crusty old products with cramped seats and no innovation (unless you count seat selection fees an innovation) with a horrendous ground experience. Hell, flying on BA you’re wading through an undersized dilapidated terminal that smells like puke with no concessions and two working toilets on a good day. JetBlue treats economy passengers better than BA treats ‘first.’

    (Yeah I know the upper deck on the 747 is neat. So 4 passengers get to have a world class experience after paying through the nose to get a not-trash seat.)

  15. I am betting not! 3PM EST is 8PM London time. Seems to be an odd time for London to have this announcement. They should have done it at 9AM EST which is 2PM UK time. Also, flying to London right after Brexit is kind of risky. My guess is they are announcing a joint venture with Virgin Atlantic

  16. Using the upholstery pattern from the London tube seems like the kind of very sly hint JetBlue would use. 🙂

    But honestly, does adding flights to London make business sense? Does B6 have enough agreements to connect their passengers onward through Europe? We still don’t know what Brexit is going to do to connecting passengers so it seems like a odd time to announce this. And then there are always the taxes and fees for landing in the UK which must cut into profits if you want to remain competitive for Europe travel. If they are buying widebodies, why not pick another hub, like Dublin?

    And yes, everyone in corporate America uses “All-Hands Meeting”.

  17. @AJK

    I’m not so sure. But then again, I don’t consider airplane clip art identification one of my strengths. . .

  18. Could they jump to STN instead of either LGW or LHR? There are no US carriers flying there, so they could market some uniqueness of the route along with a ton of connections on to the rest of Europe. Since none of their existing partners do much from there, they may have to add another. Just an idea.

  19. Any of the other points (24hr time, “all hands,” etc.) are mostly conjecture…

    But as a Londoner, I’d recognise that pattern a kilometer away. That’s either a dead giveaway of their plans… or someone at JetBlue really messed up their graffics. lol

  20. @Zeus

    There’s a pantload of money within easy reach of STN. And everyone hates going down the M11 to the M25, both of which the evil Highways Agency close in a heartbeat for a few hours to all traffic whilst they examine the circumstances surrounding the discovery of a dead pigeon in lane 2.

    AA last had a flight from STN to ORD decades ago. Time for a new face.

  21. I’d be thrilled if they announced flights to London, and even more thrilled if they went to Dublin or even Edinburgh. Finally, someplace to use all of those TrueBlue miles I’ve been stockpiling! 😀

  22. Might make more sense for JetBlue to target Dublin over London which upon return to the US, travelers can clear US customs in Dublin before returning to JFK or BOS. Also much easier to make connections from DUB to the EU than it used to be. Heathrow is an amazing airport but, transferring there has always been a daunting experience. Especially their antiquated bus transfer system to and from T5 & T3

  23. Do they have a CEO who titillates then massively disappoints, like Qatar and BA for starters?
    Probably not worth the trouble of staff attending, especially in their precious downtime or annual leave.

  24. I know the announcement is London in 2020-ish. However, they do not have a slot at Heathrow yet and are looking at London City, Gatwick, and Manchester as alternatives. It will be on the A321-LRs. Source is a very close friend who is a director at B6.

  25. I live in London and the background of the JetBlue announcement graphic matches the seating pattern on the London Tube Trains.

  26. Surely if it was going to be such a big announcement as a UK flight, why would they only make it at an internal staff meeting, and not at a glitzy public/trade/press launch?

  27. Maybe they’ll order the A330-800 at a bargain price from airbus? The A220 could also work, it has the range to do a JFK-LCY route, in an all business configuration, to compete with BA’s A318?

  28. “The picture of the plane used in the “A” of “ALL HANDS” sure looks to me like a widebody aircraft and not an A321.”

    @Lucky — The picture quite clearly shows “A320” painted on the fuselage…

  29. @J “looking at London City, Gatwick, and Manchester as alternatives. It will be on the A321-LRs”

    You ever seen an A321 go into LCY? You think you’re ever going to see it?

  30. They ordered the A220-300, which I don’t think can fly to LCY can it?? Thought it was only the -100…

  31. @Lucky
    If jetBlue does announce service to London do you think they will serve full meals, not just snacks, in economy? This would match what their codeshare partners do, so it would make sense.

  32. What other European cites could they target? Just London and the Amsterdam rumors? Would love to eventually see Dublin and Paris as well, but doing the former could end its relationship with Aer Lingus

  33. disagree that they cant be competitive with 2-3x a day, either from JFK or BOS. If they disrupt in J with Mint – and it makes money for them – then they’ll be fine. Would I go to LGW in the excellent Mint setup instead of LHR to save $500+? Damn straight I would.

    Would love to see a widebody in B6 setup – but dont see it. A321LR is the perfect plane for their fleet. As they did in LA, they’ll take what they can get (LGB=LGW) until they can obtain LHR slots.

    Even if certified and in a premium heavy config, not clear the A220-300 can fly west from LCY -BOS or JFK without a stop. THAT would be something.

  34. I’m surprised no one has mentioned the JB announcement that they’re expanding Boston service yet again, including going hourly to NYC & DC as well as adding frequency to a few US tourist cities that don’t have Europe service, as being potentially connected

  35. JetBlue is one of my favorite, if not my favorite airline for domestic US travel. It would be a large undertaking. However, they would definitely make money if they did transatlantic flights.
    I would definitely use them to fly to Europe.

  36. Exciting. If they end up going JFK-LCY, that would be AMAZING. Game-changing for passengers.

    (Even more exciting would be LGA-LCY, though that’s highly unlikely – no CBP @ LGA, B6’s hub is at JFK, etc. Still, a girl can dream… 😉 )

  37. As mentioned, that’s the moquette alright!

    The title of the invite reminds me of Uncle Albert’s refrain: “Hands across the water/ Hands across the sky”.

  38. There’s a market for BOS-LCY, but that seems to be just beyond the range of their A220-300’s.

  39. BOS-DUB is a major market. I wonder if they might do BOS-LCY one way and LCY-DUB-BOS the other way (and allow passengers to book DUB-BOS)??

  40. Here’s my guess: Codeshare agreement with Norwegian Long Haul, to feed Norwegian’s flights from Boston and Orlando (both are JetBlue hubs) to London Gatwick. Potentially even connecting onward via EasyJet from Gatwick to other points in Europe.

    Norwegian already has a similar agreement with WestJet and EasyJet.

  41. From an inside source: JetBlue will fly first to London and then will branch out to Paris and Amsterdam with service to begin in 2020.

  42. If they fly from JFK, I’d welcome this, for sure. JetBlue gets a lot of little things right (and some things wrong, too).

    Mint is obviously excellent, their family pooling is great, even though their points are near-fixed-value, they earn quickly considering what they are worth, and while some dismiss Mosaic status for its lack of upgrades, it offers nearly free extra legroom seats at booking, free drinks, and free changes and cancellations, which no other traditional airline does. And their IFE and WiFi are great.

    I still think they don’t really have a handle on how to treat elites at a personal level (their Mosaic line greeting sounds like it was recorded in someone’s kitchen, and they don’t use caller ID to figure out who you are, so you have to punch in your TrueBlue # each time), but they do at least attempt to distinguish themselves.

  43. I doubt they would fly to Heathrow using an A321. If they chose Heathrow, they would need a widebody (like the a330neo) to make it work.

  44. @Anthony Thomas
    I doubt they’d spend the money to get fully flat, all-aisle access biz seats just to fly planes all the way to London during the day and park them overnight before coming back to the US. It just doesn’t make economical sense til they get 4-5x daily.

  45. Announcement to be London in April 21st with no exact airport specified. You heard it first here folks.

  46. @Justin – Canada is expensive to do business in, and the two main Canadian airlines are in tie-ups, Westjet with Delta and Air Canada with United (in Star Alliance). They do have a very limited arrangement with Porter at BOS and EWR, but other than that (and marketing BUF and BTV to Canadians) they’ve determined there’s just no money to be made flying between Canada and the US.

  47. Rumor is they might get some 330s in place of some of their 321-LRs since The LRs are in such demand-apparently AB has raised the price on the LRs to what the 330 non-neos cost. They’ve not said a word to the pilots yet. I’ll believe it when the first flight actually lands in London.

  48. @kyle Yeah, it’s easier to be accurate 1.5 months later, the day before the announcement. Almost like it’s a plan that has been updated.

  49. JetBlue is the only airline I fly domestic. Been saying for years they need to fly transatlantic. Keeping my fingers crossed they will fly into SNN instead of Dublin. I go over twice a year and Aer Lingus is completely full. I feel like I’m in business class on the flight to CLT to BOS or JFK. It’s hard to get on Aer Lingus after that. Aer Lingus feels like we are in a can of sardines. Excited to hear where they will fly into.

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