JetBlue adding premium seating on transcontinental flights starting next year

At an investor’s meeting yesterday JetBlue said they plan on adding premium seating on their transcontinental flights between New York JFK and Los Angeles/San Francisco, as well as wifi fleetwide. Unfortunately the details are sparse at this point, aside from the fact that they only plan on selling this premium seating on daytime flights and not redeyes, which is rather odd.

So I have no clue what to make of this, as they apparently don’t plan on revealing more details until later this year. In a way JetBlue already does sell premium seating on all flights with their “Even More Space” seats. If they actually planned on installing first class on these flights then I don’t get why they’d offer it on daytime flights but not redeyes.

So I’m puzzled. The only thing I can think of is that they plan on blocking the center seats for some of the “Even More Space” seats and enhancing the meal/drink service, similar to what European airlines do for intra-Europe business class. But that wouldn’t really be competitive with premium cabins offered by the other airlines operating the route, so I’m not sure that would sell well. I’m stumped.

Anyone care to take a guess?

Comments

  1. I’m wondering if with the legacy carrier consolidation wave that has been sweeping through they are starting to see tremendous opportunity to steal market share and are moving to take advantage of that. Perhaps they’re not installing premium seats on red-eyes because they’re just doing a test?

    I think the real game changer will be when carriers like jetBlue and Southwest start offering Trans-Atlantic and/or Trans-Pacific flights. I’m pretty sure it will happen at some point or another, after all AirAsia has offered a few long-haul flights for a few years now through AirAsia X. Though my sense is they have faced some strong headwinds on the few Europe routes they had and are sticking through long-haul within Asia…

  2. As for day/night it could be an aircraft fleet issue. Likely roll out will be on a321 which is too much capacity for night flights and current aircraft flows. My guess is they will go down to the Dominican Republic for an overnight turn before coming back and doing another transcon.

    As for why F–Jetblue has a chance to move up the value chain. On transcons its RASM lags competitors and a premium cabin would sell and make money. In boston, b6 is relevant to business pax who want an F product. Even in the RSW/PBI markets, there are plenty of people who today use Even More Space, but would pay for a true F if offered. While culturally a challenge to segment customers to much, it can make a lot of money. If jetblue can do it “in a jetblue way” it can provide the best product, in all cabins, by a long shot. Stealing leisure travellers as well as low/mid status business pax

  3. It must mean some type of transformable seat as the same equipment flies day flights and red-eyes. The Euro-style transformable seats would be just as advantageous on a red-eye, so I’m guessing something else – perhaps swivelling to form a mini-office?

  4. maybe they’ll have the horizontal honeycomb slide-in beds like there were in 5th Element? that’d be super cool!
    haha

  5. I wouldn’t count on anything lie-flat. As it is, you can buy an empty middle seat in the forward “more leg room” rows which gives you a LOT of space for a fraction of the cost of a regular first class space.

    If a regular More Leg Room coach seat costs “X”, you can get all the elbow room you want by paying “2X”. The lucky pax on the other side of the empty middle seat gets the benefit for “free.”

    Perhaps JetBlue has figured out that by blocking off the middle seats in the Added Leg Room section, they sell the aisle and window seats for 2X, call it business class, and get an extra X of revenue … for which they can throw in $5 worth of food.

    I’m also guessing that there would be no meal service on red-eyes, but that you can still buy an empty middle seat.

  6. I think we’re going to see something akin to domestic F seating on the legacies. Sold at a premium over EMS – but not nearly as high as American, Delta or United’s transcon J products.

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