Don’t worry, colonists. All is forgiven. It’s been three years coming, but JetBlue just launched its first flight from Boston to London, about a year after New York received its first JetBlue flight over the pond. Boston’s initial flights are to Gatwick, with service to Heathrow arriving in September.
JetBlue Ups Its Game With the A321 Long-Range (LR)
JetBlue chose an interesting tactic with its choice of the 321LR. The plane carries only 138 seats, with 114 in the “Core” coach cabin and 24 suites at the front. In the Core cabin, there are 24 “Even More Space” seats, which will add up to seven inches to your leg room.
JetBlue put together a nice product for its transatlantic product, carrying over several of their most popular features of domestic coach, such as free broadband internet and setback TVs.
But they’ve also added other amenities that, quite frankly, I believe represent examples of the creativity that made JetBlue so popular when it first launched. It starts with actual meals in coach. You’ll have an option to choose your main entree on the TV but will also get to pick two side items. No one flies for the fine dining, but it’s nice to have some decent choices. Naturally, alcoholic beverages are complimentary.
Newer plane also means newer seats. Power outlets and fold-out “wings” by your head make the experience more comfortable. Overnight flights are never fun, but the experience looks like it compares favorably to its competitors.
Blue Basic and Even More Space are also available, so you can move the cost of your ticket up or down slightly, depending on what extras you need.
Mint and the Studio Suites
There are 24 Mint Suites on the plane, two of which are “Studio Suites.” The suites are similar to what you’d find on domestic flights and one of the better hard products in the sky.
The hot new product in the cabin is the two Studio Suites at the front, which add an additional $299 to the price. These premium suites have additional space, which includes a place for a guest to sit and a second fold-out table. It’s an additional benefit if you need to collaborate for work or simply feel like having somebody keep you company. Best as I can tell, the bed is still for one.
Great Fares Between Boston and London
Like any other new route, the launch came with some discounted fares. JetBlue announced roundtrip in Core starting at $539 and in Mint at $2,199. The Mint fares went quickly and, in a recent search, I couldn’t find any for less than about $3,000 round trip (still good for a transatlantic flight in a premium cabin).
The cheapest flights in Core have also sold out, but they still have some excellent fares available, with plenty of roundtrip flights over the next several months for $680. You can save $150 by flying Blue Basic, but you’ll then have the restrictions that come with that fare, including no carry-on or checked bags, no changes or cancellations and you’ll have to go without advanced seat assignments, boarding last. On the other hand, if you can fly without much to carry, it’s a great way to save some money.
It’s been a rough few months for the industry and JetBlue in particular, so it’s nice to have some positive news to share. Anything that brings competition on these long-hauls is a plus, and JetBlue managed to do it with what looks like it will be a strong product.