The first time I flew JetBlue – the US budget airline that this week announced it will begin flights from London to Boston and New York in 2021 – I ended up staying over at the flight attendant’s house.
It was 2011. I’d been living in America for a year, and when I heard the words “JetBlue” and “budget airline”, I’d thought of some lipcurling flights on Ryanair and run towards America’s ‘big four’: United, Delta, American, and the now defunct Continental.
Amusingly, on the world capital of customer service, US travelers routinely suffer ‘shorter’ (intra-European length) flights on little tin-can planes where anybody more than six foot will physically battle to sit in the seat. I felt that was standard. And then I discovered JetBlue.
It was the All You Can Jet pass that hauled me in – for $599, I could travel anywhere on its network, as frequently as I liked, for a month. Clearly, I thought, this must be a terrible airline to be giving away seats like this. But I wanted to see America, so I bought one.
Friendly cabin crew
My first flight was from Las Vegas to Buffalo by means of New York. I was struck first by the cabin – smooth blue lighting, comfortable cowhide seats and a shocking measure of legroom – a whopping 34in in those days (I was used to the 29in in the British Airways cheap seats). At six foot, here was a plane I could finally sit comfortably in.
Partially through the flight I went to the loo, to locate a moderately aged man hitting forcefully on the flight attendant. I participated in the discussion until he left. At that point we continued talking. I was going to Buffalo, I said, to see Niagara Falls. “I’m from Buffalo!” she said. “Let me show you around.” So the next day, after I’d seen Niagara Falls, she took me out for chicken wings, hot dogs and frozen custard. I was planning to crash at an airport motel, but she insisted on my staying with her family, on their spare waterbed in the picket-fenced Buffalo suburbs. That, I decided, would never happen on British Airways.
One splendid individual of cabin crew doth not a splendid airline make, obviously, however there’s undeniably more to adore about JetBlue than Jennifer (Fenner, incidentally – despite everything she flies for them, so do say hey). Like each airline, it has needed to cut expenses since I originally flew them, so like each different US airline separated from Southwest, you need to pay to check a bag. The legroom has likewise been squeezed – the fleet is being changed over to 32 inches, however over a large portion of the planes still game 34in pitch as things stand, and the airline claims that customer satisfaction is higher with the 32 inchers, because of the new seat design.
Just as legroom, travelers get free snacks (from crisps to cookies) and non-mixed beverages. Seatback TVs stream 36 channels of DirectTV, 100+ advanced radio stations, and six motion pictures for every month – all free. There is Amazon spilling as well – free for Prime members.
JetBlue is additionally better than different US aircrafts by they way it treats travelers with disabilities. It utilizes “silent” preboarding, meaning that passengers needing extra time to board are flagged quietly that they can do so, before the hordes rush the gate. When this works (which is more often than not), it is superb. The airline additionally runs ordinary events around the US to familiarise children with autism with the airport experience. And after that there are the lodge team, who will in general be extensively more well disposed than those on the legacy airlines, but without the grating-to-a-Brit zaniness of Southwest flight attendants, who regularly go viral for singing their safety announcements.
For the London flights, JetBlue will utilize Airbus A321LR (long range) single-path aircraft – new, long-go adaptations of the plane it right now utilizes on its cross-country course. Insides still can’t seem to be declared, however the single-passageway implies a 3-3 formation, likely with a a 32in seat pitch in the new seats the airline claims customers love. In other words, a more boutique experience than the 3-4-3 you’d get on British Airways’ A380.
An outstanding business class
The first class cabin, Mint, will likewise likely be in operation. Presented in 2014, it has been a gamechanger for US aviation, with single untruth level ‘suites’ with sliding entryways just as seat sets. I’ve flown it twice; the multiple times it felt like a personal jet. With customer service to coordinate, as well – when, in 2015, I playfully tweeted false shock about the most minor of bothers in my suite, I found a $100 credit immediately added to my account. But I was joking!, I tweeted their social media team, mortified. They knew, they said – but it was mine anyway. My loyalty was sealed; the next time I had to fly London-LA, I broke the journey in New York, just so I could do half the journey on JetBlue. The launch of their transatlantic flights is, for me, the most exciting aviation news I’ve heard in a long time.
How much will it cost?
What amount of will it cost?
There’s no word yet on how much tickets will cost, however JetBlue costs are constantly focused, if not uncontrollably less expensive than different alternatives. The airlinesays that it will continue its record of “lowering fares and stimulating traffic” but don’t expect them to slash fare much beyond what they already are – I anticipate there will be introductory offers, but transatlantic fares are currently so cheap that you’re mostly paying tax (a return fare to New York on British Airways next week costs £373.52, £263.52 of which is taxes).
Where there might be a difference is in the business class area – when I flew Mint, it was around $500, about a large portion of the cost of the legacy carriers, for an experience that was, in my book, twice as good.
One of the few things I regretted about moving back from America was giving up my JetBlue loyalty. Roll on 2021.