jetBlue to Offer Premium Seats
To be more competitive on transcontinental flights, jetBlue announced its intention to offer a premium product sometime in 2014 — but only initially on flights operated during the day, with an eventual introduction of the premium product to its nighttime “red-eye” flights.
This announcement may put some pressure on Southwest Airlines, which would then become the only domestic carrier in the United States without a premium product to offer its passengers — unless you count AirTran Airways, which was acquired by Southwest Airlines.
Even then, AirTran Airways has been slow in fading away. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “since the Southwest buyout AirTran has cut some flights and routes in Atlanta. Southwest now has 29 daily departures from Atlanta, while AirTran maintains 159, for a total of 188. When the buyout was announced in late 2010, AirTran had about 220 flights.”
Additional information is not known at this time about the premium product to be offered by jetBlue: will it compete with premium economy, or will it more closely resemble a domestic first class seat? How much more will it cost when compared to a standard economy seat? What additional benefits — if any — may be offered?
We do already know at this time that jetBlue is planning on equipping its entire fleet of aircraft with a broadband-quality wireless network for access to the Internet. Also, jetBlue is reportedly taking over the airport lounge currently operated by United Airlines at Logan Airport in Boston and may open more airport lounges — perhaps its first one may open at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
With low-costs carriers generally adding more amenities but also charging higher airfares, I wonder if the gap between low-cost carriers and legacy airlines will continue to shrink in terms of the cost of airfare and the overall product being offered…
…but some FlyerTalk members speculate that the premium product to be offered by jetBlue will fail — just as song failed when Delta Air Lines attempted to emulate low-cost carriers.
Do you agree? Should jetBlue continue to improve its product — or is it setting itself up for failure by competing more closely to some of what the legacy airlines are offering on transcontinental flights?