JetBlue “Enhances” Product By Making It Worse?

By | November 19, 2014

English: jetBlue plane: Airbus A320-232 N594JB

(Editor’s Note: It has been a while since we’ve had anything to say, but this move by our beloved hometown airline disappoints)

Let’s go back in time to December of 2006. JetBlue Airways decides to change the configuration of its A320 aircraft from 156 seats to 150 seats, allowing them to increase the pitch from 32 to 36 inches in the front, while keeping the rear at 34 inches.

At the time, we were in favor of this, as it meant more leg room for all. Well, the love affair is over.

JetBlue announced today a “a long-term plan to drive shareholder returns through new and existing initiatives aimed at enhancing the Company’s product advantage and service-oriented culture while delivering improved financial results.” Otherwise known as taking amenities away.

JetBlue is going for a major cabin refresh on its A320 aircraft beginning in 2016, with larger seatback screens, more entertainment options, and power ports accessible to all customers. We’re not sure this will distract people from the 15 additional lighter(and allegedly more comfortable) seats, and the reduction in average legroom to 33.1 inches.

That is still more than industry average, but 5% smaller than before. But, as a benefit, we get that extra flight attendant back…if only due federal regulations.

JetBlue is also giving up on the complimentary checked bag…although not entirely. They will be offering three tiers of fares, one of which will have no bag. Marty St. George, JetBlue’s senior vice president of commercial, said that the ‘sting of bag fees has been reduced as U.S. fliers become more accustomed to them.’

We can’t say we can argue with that. People can learn to accept anything. We don’t begrudge any company their reasonable profits…but for a company that claimed to be putting the humanity back into air travel, we thought that meant something different than cramming more humans into their planes.