After much speculation, JetBlue has made it official: it’s going to be flying over the pond. It will begin nonstop service from New York’s JFK Airport to London. Flights will begin in 2021. The airline is still evaluating which airport to serve, Heathrow or Gatwick.
JetBlue is adjusting its fleet for the long-haul flight, but it won’t be dramatic. It’s sticking with Airbus, flying the A321LR. While it’s a single aisle jet, JetBlue promises it will be a comfortable ride, with entertainment and Wi-Fi. It will include its “Mint” Cabin, featuring lie flat seating.
While JetBlue has been looking at this prospect for a while, the marketplace is changing. Norwegian and WOW Air have both been experiencing financial turbulence, with WOW ceasing its operations according to its website.
JetBlue has a loyal following and competitive fare structure. Travelers know the brand and they like it. In addition, JetBlue has already established itself as an international carrier with flights to the Caribbean and South America.
It is clear JetBlue is taking on the trans-Atlantic challenge not just as an established airline, but as a bit of a disruptor.
“The big airlines will tell you that competition has never been more robust, but the smaller airlines have never found it harder to get access,” said JetBlue’s President and COO Joanna Geraghty, in a press release.
“It’s time for regulators here in the U.S. and across Europe to create conditions where smaller carriers and new entrants can thrive, instead of letting the giant airlines get even bigger through joint ventures. Given a chance to compete, JetBlue can have a tremendous effect on lowering fares and stimulating traffic,” Geraghty said.
It’s clear service to London is getting competitive. Delta Airlines recently announced new service from Boston and New York JFK to London’s Gatwick Airport, in addition to Heathrow. The Delta One business cabin is also getting refreshed with new seating. Delta already has a partnership with Virgin Atlantic.