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JetBlue Doubling Down on Being an Airline People Want to Fly

The carrier is finally taking itself seriously, focusing on growing what works.

A JetBlue A320 in Boston. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

JetBlue has had a rough time. The airline initially had a great strategy planned out with American Airlines in the Northeast but that ended up being plagued by legal issues brought on by the government and was ultimately canned.

The New York-based carrier also tried merging with Spirit as a quick way to get assets and become bigger. That ended up falling through as well. This has left the airline in a tricky situation. It needs to find ways to innovate to survive. JetBlue has had a lot of misses and needs some wins to get back on the right path.

The airline had one big staffing win with the return of Marty St. George to the airline as President. Marty was previously a senior executive at the airline and had left to work for a South American carrier.

The next win was recently announced and will be something that many customers will appreciate. Beginning Sept. 6, 2024, passengers flying on the airline’s basic economy fare, Blue Basic, will be able to bring on a carry-on bag for free. This is a big benefit for what is the lowest cost fare that often has the fewest included benefits.

It’s clear that JetBlue is looking to win over those leisure customers who often travel on low-cost carriers where basic economy has no included perks. Marty St. George said in a statement that “carry-on bags are an important part of travel to customers, and when presented with a choice between JetBlue’s award winning service and another carrier’s basic offering, we want JetBlue to be the easy winner.”

At this point, the airline’s value proposition greatly increases on leisure routes where competition is the fiercest for price-sensitive travelers.

Increased Competitiveness and Network Optimization

The airline is going toe-to-toe with Frontier down in Puerto Rico, a large leisure market. The airline is increasing flights to San Juan from the continental United States and offering more flights that originate in San Juan for travelers going to other parts of the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America.

JetBlue is also going to make life easier for many Long Islanders with three new flights to Florida. In October, JetBlue will start flights from Long Island MacArthur Airport to Orlando, Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale.

These flights. along with the additional flying from San Juan, seem to suggest that the airline has Frontier dead in its sights and is looking to win passengers from it. Frontier already flies to all of these destinations from Long Island.

The airline is also looking to streamline operations and move aircraft around to more profitable routes. It is cutting back service from New York’s LaGuardia and focusing on its more substantial operations at JFK instead, all while cutting back transatlantic flying over the winter. The aircraft pulled off from transatlantic flying will be used to offer Mint class premium cabin offerings on new routes within the United States and Canada.

For a while, there was a lot of doubt as to what JetBlue will do. It had a long streak of bad luck and the future of the airline was uncertain. With all of these changes, it really does seem like the airline is taking itself seriously and doubling down on its core competencies.

Hemal Gosai


  • Hemal Gosai

    Hemal took his first flight at four years old and has been an avgeek since then. When he isn't working as an analyst he's frequently found outside watching planes fly overhead or flying in them. His favorite plane is the 747-8i which Lufthansa thankfully flies to EWR allowing for some great spotting. He firmly believes that the best way to fly between JFK and BOS is via DFW and is always willing to go for that extra elite qualifying mile.

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