Good news for us: JetBlue is hinting more strongly than ever before that it may soon start service to London with an expressed goal to bring down “obscene” premium cabin fares.
obscene | əbˈsēn | offending against moral principles; repugnant.
Are premium cabin fares really “obscene” when it comes to business class travel across the Pond? JetBlue’s CEO says YES.
At the Aviation Festival in London earlier this week, Chief Executive Officer Robin Hayes stated:
I looked at some legacy brands and what they were charging a week out for business class between London and New York and it is obscene..eight, nine or ten thousand dollars. And, when we see that, we know that we can do that a lot cheaper….we think it’s a good opportunity, and when the time is right to take advantage, we may very well do that.
A lot of wiggle room in his statement, but JetBlue correctly understands three things. First, it has learned from the trials of Norwegian. Entrenched carriers fearful of competition fought hard to keep Norwegian out of the skies. Hayes told Bloomberg, “I don’t want to tip people off. The competitive response to this is something we have to think about.” He’s wise: I bet JetBlue is already negotiating slot purchases at Stansted or Heathrow or Gatwick. Imagine if JetBlue linked up with Ryanair or EasyJet to offer “connecting service” across Europe?
Second, JetBlue has played a key role in bringing down the price of premium class fares domestically with its competively-priced MINT fares. Third, it can put an even bigger dent on transatlantic fares.
Imagine one-way fares to London on JetBlue in MINT Class starting at $999. That’s Norwegian premium economy pricing for a truly premium, lie-flat product. Sure, taxes including the ridiculous UK APD would mean fares could not be at U.S. transcontinental levels, but one-way pricing for a premium product would be revolutionary.
JetBlue is waiting on the delivery of 85 Airbus SE A321. This order could be converted into A321 aircraft capable of making the transatlantic crossing.
> Read More: JetBlue A321 Mint New York To Los Angeles Review
I’m so happy that JetBlue is getting close to commencing transatlantic operation. Based on Haye’s self-proclaimed caution in signaling new routes, I’d expect an announcement sooner and not later.
A final statement from Hayes:
We have 85 neos that we can upgrade to long-range versions. Thus, we certainly have things in place when we are ready to push. We haven’t taken the final decision yet, but I think I’ve outlined the opportunity. I don’t want to tip people off about what we are doing…we expect some reaction. The transatlantic market comes down to three large carriers with huge amounts of power…we have to move intelligently and stealthily to make sure we’re successful.
I can’t wait to fly JetBlue to London. How about you?