JetBlue & JetSuiteX Introduce Codeshare Agreement

Filed Under: JetBlue

Well this is getting interesting. For a couple of years now JetBlue has owned a stake in JetSuite, and then a couple of weeks ago Qatar Airways announced that they were also buying a stake in JetSuite.

For those of you not familiar, JetSuite is a private jet rental service, with most of their planes being light private aircraft. Their goal is to make private jets as accessible as possible. JetSuite also offers the JetSuiteX service, which is scheduled service for select routes on the west coast, which are more comfortable than the regional jets you may usually fly.

They fly out of the private terminals at airports, you can arrive just 15-20 minutes prior to departure, you get two free checked bags, 36″ of legroom, a power port at every seat, and complimentary drinks and snacks.

While my assumption all along has been that both JetBlue and Qatar Airways see potential in the JetSuite business model independent from their own businesses, I have been wondering in what ways they’ll try to integrate their experiences. There’s now an update on that front.

JetBlue and JetSuiteX have announced a new codeshare partnership, which they say marks the first codeshare agreement between a semi-private public charter operator and a major national carrier. As part of this codeshare agreement, JetBlue will place their “B6” code on JetSuiteX operated flights between West Coast destinations. This includes flights between Burbank and Concord, Oakland, and Las Vegas, among others.

There’s actually very little substance to this partnership, though:

  • It was already possible to earn TrueBlue points for flights on JetSuiteX, and they’re not enhancing the points earning opportunities, and aren’t introducing the ability to redeem TrueBlue points on JetSuiteX; you earn 150 TrueBlue points for JetSuiteX X fares, and 250 TrueBlue points for JetSuiteX X Plus fares, which isn’t a lot
  • The codeshare agreement doesn’t include connecting flights to or from the JetBlue network, given that JetSuiteX operates out of private terminals, and JetBlue operates out of commercial terminals

Here’s what executives from both JetSuiteX and JetBlue had to say about this new codeshare agreement:

“We are delighted to introduce even more people to the JetSuiteX experience and to provide new options to JetBlue customers in their West Coast travels in an exciting new way through this partnership with JetBlue,” said Alex Wilcox, CEO of JetSuiteX. “This first-of-its-kind agreement marks an important milestone as we enhance the distribution and availability of JetSuiteX into traditional airline channels. We are proud to be partnered with the iconic JetBlue Airways.”

“JetBlue and JetSuiteX share a common vision focused on innovation and offering travelers an unmatched level of service when they fly, which is why our partnership is such a perfect match,” said Tracy Bink, director airline partnerships, JetBlue. “Together JetBlue and JetSuiteX are leading the industry in creating a flying experience unlike anything else on the west coast.”

So you can now book JetSuiteX tickets on JetBlue’s website, meaning they’ll potentially have more eyeballs on their flights. That seems mutually beneficial, given that JetBlue has a stake in JetSuiteX. However, they’re not actually doing anything to introduce a closer relationship in terms of the passenger experience, pricing, or the ability to earn and redeem points.

Based on looking at fares, it also seems like JetBlue consistently prices JetSuiteX tickets about $5 higher than JetSuiteX does directly, which makes even less sense. My guess is that JetBlue may accidentally be including the $5.60 security fee, which shouldn’t apply for JetSuiteX, as far as I know.

Here are some flights from Burbank to Oakland on JetSuiteX’s website for $129:

Here are those same flights on JetBlue’s website for $134:

Personally I find this interesting yet useless at this point, though I’m curious to see what comes next.

What do you make of this new codeshare agreement between JetBlue and JetSuiteX?

Comments
  1. I think JetSuiteX will be more popular if they can open a base in the NorthEast. It benefits all involved, and I think there would be more of a market for summer flights between say Boston and East Hampton, or NYC and Saratoga than Concord and Vegas. Plus you have better connectivity between B6 and JetSuite, even if you have to change terminals or airports. I think JetBlue and Qatar’s long term goal is to feed regional JetSuite X Flights with premium passengers, say fly Mint from Seattle, SFO or LAX to Boston, and then JetSuite X Flight down to East Hampton. Or how about FLL to LGA to Saratoga. Plenty of opportunities there.

    Hell, if they really wanted to stretch this Qatar could code share and offer Doha – East Hampton. Its an intriguing business model, and would require a little departure from their existing model out west, but I think it shows more promise than what they already have. Its an interesting and potentially lucrative niche market.

  2. @GuruJanitor that sounds like a dream for them to move out east! As a NYC based flyer, I would hope for this, the more options the better.

  3. I wonder though with being out east, the NYC airports are so crowded you would have a rough experience flying private. A lot of private NYC flights go out of Teterboro on Westchester, which might not link up too well with JetBlue at JFK.

    That said, given what seems like very reasonable fares out west I would love to try this out east.

  4. @GuruJanitor said exactly what I was thinking. I would also add a hub at FLL/FXE. Intra-Florida flights would be much more cost-effective and almost as comfortable/convenient as on private jets, and a whole heck of a lot better than on Southwest/Spirit/Silver, which currently dominate those routes. JetSuiteX would also add worthwhile feeder routes to jetBlue’s Caribbean/South America routes (at MCO/ORL, too) and their Mint service to Los Angeles.

  5. I don’t see how they can do this with regulations.

    30-seat planes operate on a set schedule, sell individual tickets online, and then strangers converge and board the aircraft.

    They can call this “private” and bypass TSA screening? For how long? How long until someone does something alarming on the plane and questions are raised? If it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck…

  6. Daniel’s point is still valid. JS may be miscategorized now.

    Further, the bigger it gets, the more I WANT security. You can’t go to a concert without getting wanded at a minimum. Why would I want to get on a plane with strangers with no security?

    JS is a money loser out west, so this is a ‘go big’ or go home move. We’ll see what they do in TX, clearly that will be the next target market.

  7. “Personally I find this interesting yet useless at this point, though I’m curious to see what comes next.”

    How is it useless? Millions of people who have never heard of Jetsuite but do use JetBlue can now book their flights.

  8. I agree with Callum, this is more interesting than one might thing. For folks on this site, it may not be a big deal, but for the vast majority of people – they don’t even know JetSuiteX is an option.

    Heck, I didn’t realize they were offering bookable style flights on their website until the screenshot in your post. Granted, I live overseas now so I don’t super-closely follow every US aviation announcement, but travel every month or so back to the US. The specific routes mostly don’t work for me today (except perhaps their CES ones), but if they expanded to other cities, that’d be perfect (which I know, easier said than done).

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