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JetBlue to launch with Gatwick and Stansted flights

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US low-cost but semi-premium carrier JetBlue has been tight-lipped about its plans to launch a transatlantic service to London next year, but the cat is finally out of the bag!

According to slot allocations as spotted by Paxex.aero, the airline has been awarded two slot pairs at both Gatwick and Stansted.

JetBlue A321LR tail fin

The slot filing suggests that JetBlue will launch double daily flights between Stansted and Boston, whilst Gatwick will see a once-daily flight to New York JFK. It’s not clear what JetBlue intends to do with its other Gatwick slot pair.

It sounds like JetBlue is still hoping that it will be able to acquire some Heathrow slots before the flights launch in Q3 2021. With many airlines flying reduced schedules it may be easier than ever for JetBlue to do so. The question is whether it is worth doing this if there was little hope of getting permanent slots at the airport.

These will be JetBlue’s first European flights and will operate with a brand new Airbus A321LR. These are single aisle aircraft modified for Longer Range operations (hence the LR) and are capable of flying between Western Europe and the Eastern US. It is the same aircraft that Aer Lingus has bought and will use for its forthcoming Manchester-US flights.

Above is JetBlue’s first A321LR in the paintshop.

Whilst JetBlue is technically a low cost carrier, it is known for its ‘Mint’ transcontinental business class cabin offering lie-flat business class seats on flights between the East and West US coasts. Whilst we’ve never tried it, Mint has quite a cult following.

As part of its international launch, JetBlue is promising to “reimagine” Mint for transatlantic services, offering “premium service at a fraction of fares offered today”.

Comments (88)

  • ChrisW says:

    London might be jetblue’s first European flights but it’s definitely not their first international flights – they’ve been flying to Central America and the Caribbean for years.

  • Andy says:

    If this is true and the suggestion of low biz fares is also, they could be onto a winner, especially for people in Essex and Suffolk not wanting to go to a main London airport

    https://travelsort.com/jetblue-flights-london-new-jetblue-mint-seat/

  • Brian says:

    “ These will be JetBlue’s first international flights”

    I might be remembering incorrectly but when I was at Washington Dulles 3 years ago I’m sure there were Jet Blue flights departing to the Caribbean (not islands colonised by the US etc)

  • Chris says:

    With the Free Travel Zone being scrapped, surely hotels can begin to operate their own free transfers to/from the airport in the future?

    • Michael C says:

      I was wondering that: 3 returns on the dreadful/expensive Hoppa or 2 cab trips would suddenly make the v decent T5 Premier Inn that bit less attractive price-wise.

      • Brian says:

        You can still take a normal bus, presumably, which will be significantly cheaper than either a taxi or the hoppa.

        • Michael C says:

          Also true, Brian!

        • Rich says:

          Yes, even at £1.50 the TfL bus is a perfectly acceptable option. It’ll be good news for hotels like the Moxy which are just outside the FTZ. Maybe a bit more of a hassle for visitors who might not have or want to use their credit card.

    • memesweeper says:

      Competition and markets authority complaint anyone? Hoppa’s service and pricing is a disgrace.

      • memesweeper says:

        … even without free travel I’ll be shunning the Hoppa.

      • Rob says:

        The problem is that every other airport, which lets 20+ hotels run their own shuttle buses forever running empty between terminals, is a bigger mess.

        I have become a convert to the ‘free local buses’ option in recent years, especially as it is actually faster than the Hoppa in most cases. Don’t try it with luggage, since you’re likely to be dragging heavy suitcases across a very busy and wide road with no pedestrian crossing in site, but if you’ve just got hand baggage and you are fleet of foot you’ll be fine.

        • MattB says:

          We just about managed it once from the T4 premier Inn to T5. The bus was basically empty but with us and another family and our bags there wasn’t much room left.

      • Lady London says:

        +1.

        I really, really hope the UK government does not give BAA a handout like they asked.

        After all, we dont have to say the impact on their own staff is huge but they’ve also reneged on all the wonderful green stuff the government wants that they said they were doing by introducing their support for buses.

        So much easier to connect in ajrports in Europe that are smaller where you dont need a bus to get to your hotel or another terminal.

    • The real John says:

      It will just be £1.50 (or maybe £2 soon as TfL has no money).

  • tony says:

    Indeed re Jet Blue & international. On their non-mint routes, they also have a very generous extra legroom gig in the first 5 or so rows. Have used it a couple of times in the past and makes for a comfortable flight.

    Disappointing re the free travel zone – booked the Renaissance in the summer to have flights qualify as a BA package, thinking I was being clever.

    • Rob says:

      Not sure the extra £1.50 each way is going to wreck the economics of that decision!

      • tony says:

        Indeed, but my eldest will have turned 16 so it’s three bus fares. Let’s also assume it’s £2 each by then and all of a sudden we’re just going to get a taxi as “it’s only another couple of quid” but does nothing for Heathrow’s campaign to get more people using public transport.

  • Chris says:

    How does the removal of the free travel zone square with Heathrow’s supposed carbon reduction policy?

    • Oh! Matron! says:

      It really doesn’t. This is such a cretinous move…..

      • Lady London says:

        And why the UK government should continue to refuse any requests for financi support to BAA

    • Chris H says:

      There was going to be a huge expansion in free travel, subsidised public transport routes and £££ for cycle links to and around the airport as part of the 3rd runway plans. All on ice now, and it looks like HAL’s commitment was only skin-deep after all.

      • Lady London says:

        Are you surprised? All thus green stuff is mostly skin-deep, and dropped as soon as convenient.

        But luckily the government can use it to tell them to seek any support from their shareholders.

  • John says:

    “…premium service at a fraction of fares offered today”

    I’m no industry expert, but I feel like various carriers have tried this in different guises over the years, and never quite made it pay.

    Can this work differently for JetBlue?

    • Rob says:

      Potentially not. The only thing in their favour is that they can funnel connecting traffic in the US. The inability to offer connections from the UK into Europe, or even the rest of the UK, is a huge issue of course but having ‘feed’ in the States will help.

      The key is whether the A321LR has the right economics for them vs those who tried with far bigger aircraft in the past.

      On the positive side …. New York is only a 50% longer flight than, say, Crete or Athens yet you can charge many multiples of the business class fare that Crete or Athens can sustain.

      Worth noting that Stansted has been a success for Emirates who doubled up to two per day when many thought they would withdraw. The pharma market around Cambridge is a large one.

      • lgflyer says:

        LGW-JFK is a not a 50% longer than LGW-ATH, it’s actually a 133% longer!
        LGW-ATH 1489 miles
        LGW-JFK 3470 miles

        • Rob says:

          True, but in terms of end-to-end flying time (ie the time you are sat in the seat) it is far less than that.

    • tony says:

      Those that have tried have been point to point operators with no brand recognition on either side of the Atlantic. JetBlue is also launching in what will be a fundamentally different market. I wish them the very best.

      • David R N Livesley says:

        Having lived in the US for many years I’m a jet Blue and ‘Mint’ fan! Great airline, responsible Covid policies, their extra leg room seats are really good value and comfortable and ‘Mint’ offers stunning value. Their loyalty scheme points never expire and I can honestly say I’ve never had a bad flying experience with them. i used to use Boston Logan frequently and found the whole process from check in to departure easy. I would occasionally complain about the boarding process but I’ve yet to find any airline who gets this right all the time. Roll on Heathrow slots….Jet Blue will be a sustainable game changer and unlike Norwegian they seem to be have an expansion plan that is careful and which does not compromise client loyalty.

      • Lady London says:

        I will be flying them.

        I assume they will be flying from T2 and although I expect to have to pay more in the next few years for.a changed lounge offering, very happy with that combo. Even if I will be going to the West Coast the long way I expect JetBlue to be a quality option.

    • Rhys says:

      It has worked for them in the US!

  • Chris Heyes says:

    I Can remember flying BA from Manchester to Gatwick once every two months using Avios or Airmiles aprox 30 min flying time
    Getting a meal every flight (yes a full meal lol) meal depended on time of day. can’t remember now how many Avios, Airmiles it was.
    but earlier flights was only Airmiles with no £ cost.

    • 1ATL says:

      Chris, what’s any of this got to do with the price of fish?

      • Lady London says:

        It shows airlines are perfectlya able to do decent catering on very short flights so any reason they come up with for not providing decent catering, if they dont tell the truth and simply say costcutting, is simply not believable.

      • Chris Heyes says:

        1ATL Lufthansa going BoB lol
        As for the price of fish, will be cheaper if British fishermen can’t sell in EU due to no deal Brexit, but will go up if UK caves in and allows EU fishermen in UK waters
        So up or down but don’t know the price of fish maybe you could check and post your findings lol

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