JetBlue announced an expansion of its popular Mint lie-flat business class service to Boston with service starting next year. In March 2016, JetBlue will commence three daily flights between Boston and San Francisco and add Boston – Los Angeles flights in autumn 2016. Boston – Barbados will also see Mint on Saturday flights starting in March 2016.
JetBlue Mint is a wonderful concept and its expansion to a zone in which Delta, American, and United currently compete for premium traffic should put downward pressure on pricing. One-way tickets still start at an incredible $599 on the LAX/SFO – JFK Mint routes and I would expect similar pricing for Boston.
Will JetBlue Force Other Carriers to Improve Boston Service?
Delta, American, and United all offer standard “domestic first class” seating on their transcon Boston flights (though United is offering lie-flat seats on select flights this summer), even though flying between the West Coast and Boston often takes the same amount of time as flying across The Pond from Boston to London. Virgin America has better business class seats, though they are also not lie-flat.
JetBlue’s offering a better product for a cheaper price will put pressure on the other carriers to cut rates and improve service — hopefully a victory for consumers.
But don’t expect any immediate changes. The JetBlue service will not begin until next spring and we must also keep in mind that Boston is not the lucrative market that New York is — otherwise we would see the legacies already offer a more premium transcon experience.
Star Alliance Codeshare Opportunites for JetBlue
As the era of alliances continues to dwindle, look for Star Alliance carriers to be even more likely than before to team up with JetBlue — not only out of JFK, but now out of BOS. With lie-flat service at a cheaper price and a much more robust network out of BOS, I predict we will see Lufthansa and Swiss team up with JetBlue in a greater capacity than they already do. Turkish is already working with JetBlue a well and Boston’s hometown carrier also has teamed up with El Al, Emirates, Hainan Airlines, and Qatar Airways.
Good news for consumers today…let’s hope this starts a fare war when fares are filed on July 8, 2015.