JetBlue Puzzlers

By | April 24, 2009
JetBlue Embraer 190 N190JB ("Luiz F. Kahl...
Image via Wikipedia

JetBlue reported a first-quarter profit yesterday. JetBlue is Number 7 in the U.S. by traffic, despite having only been flying for a little under a decade and has not seen a profit in the first quarter since 2005. JetBlue expects profit to improve in the remaining quarters, attributing some of this to ancillary revenue.

Moving to the future, JetBlue announced it would “aggressively defend” itself against encroachment from low-cost rivals such as Southwest and Virgin America, which may explain its launching of service from Boston to Baltimore-Washington after Southwest announced it would operate service on the route. The service will begin September 9th, with four daily flights using their Embraer 190 aircraft. Connections will be available to various JetBlue cities, as well as flights with Cape Air, to Hyannis, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Provincetown, Mass., and Rutland/Killington, Vt.

The Embraer 190 may be a superior aircraft to the 737s Southwest uses for point-to-point traffic in the Boston to Washington corridor, with no middle seats, satellite radio, and TV, as well as better snacks than Southwest. With competitive pricing, it may attract more business passengers than Southwest. Both airlines in recent memory have made attempts to woo business travelers.

JetBlue launched its Welcome Bigwigs campaign last month, poking fun at business travelers who were economizing. And they may have something. If you are going from First Class or private jets, JetBlue likely is a better fit to the amenities you are used to than Southwest.

They also opened their new terminal at JFK earlier this year. SimpliFlying commented on that today, arguing that Terminal 5 can do wonders for the JetBlue brand, making the following positive arguments.

  • “T5 is the first terminal to be built in the US after 9/11, hence it is optimized for the security checks that have come since then. And that’s why, you wouldn’t feel the normal anxiety, with much shorter lines.”
  • “There are beautifully designed up-scale restaurants in the main concourse and a slew of shopping choices. There’s even a gate-side spa! For the kids, there was a playground sponsored by FisherPrice. My favorite, though, was the fact that there’s blazing-fast free wifi and bean-bag styled cushions right by the gates where you could snooze while waiting for your flight.”
  • “Right by the gates, I saw small TV screens. When I explored further, they turned out to be touch-screen menus from all the restaurants in the terminal. You just had to choose what to eat, swipe your credit card and wallah! Your food is delivered to you. And you never need to run again to catch the flight if you answered your craving for a last good meal for a few hours. Everything was optimized to provide a great experience, even the shoe-shine specialists, who’ve been flown in from California!”
  • “In both sections of the concourse, there were dedicated customer service centers and kiosks where passengers (and crew) could easily re-check in for cancelled flights or seek any other flight information.”

On the other side of the country, at its West Coast focus city, Long Beach, JetBlue is still in temporary quarters as the airport has not lived up to its agreement made when they moved in nine years ago to upgrade the facilities. This issue recently caused a fuss when CEO Dave Barger mentioned it might cause them to leave the airport in an interview with the Cranky Flier. With Jetblue serving multiple airports in the area, they need a focus city for the bulk of their service in the west, and if Long Beach won’t play ball, they can invest elsewhere.

JetBlue also announced it will be flying daily to Grantley Adams International Airport in Bridgetown, Barbados beginning October 1st from JFK.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]