JetBlue sets date for start of flights between US and London

Low-cost carrier JetBlue sets launch date for transatlantic service: Inaugural flight from New York to London will be on August 11 and return tickets will cost from just £329

  • By the end of September, JetBlue will be flying daily services between JFK and Heathrow and Gatwick 
  • JetBlue believes that by using smaller, fuel-efficient Airbus jets it can undercut other airlines on price 
  • Tickets for the services are on sale now, costing from £999 ($1,979) for one of 24 business-class ‘Mint’ suites

Low-cost American airline JetBlue has announced that its first-ever transatlantic flight will take off from New York’s JFK Airport and fly to Heathrow Airport on August 11.

This will mark the beginning of daily flights using a long-range version of the single-aisle Airbus A321 between the two hubs, with a service between JFK and London Gatwick starting on September 29 that ramps up the operation to 14 flights a week. 

JetBlue believes that by using the smaller, fuel-efficient Airbus jets it can undercut other airlines on price. Tickets for the services are on sale now, starting from £329 ($599) return for one of 117 Core (economy main cabin) seats and £999 ($1,979) return for one of 24 individual business-class ‘Mint’ suites. 

Low-cost American airline JetBlue has announced that its first-ever transatlantic flight will take off from New York’s JFK Airport and fly to Heathrow Airport on August 11. Pictured is the business-class seat offered on the service – the £999 ($1,979) Mint suite

The latter is several hundred dollars cheaper than mid-August business-class fares displayed on Google Flights for rivals such as American Airlines, British Airways and Icelandair.

The aircraft will also feature two first-class ‘Mint Studio’ seats that the airline claims have ‘the largest lie-flat bed of any U.S carrier’. 

JetBlue wanted to start the flights earlier than mid-August but was delayed, partly by the process of proving to regulators that it could operate long over-water flights safely. 

The late launch means JetBlue will miss most of the peak summer travel vacation season. However, travel between the United States and the United Kingdom is still restricted because of the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s not clear when restrictions will be eased.

Tickets for the JetBlue transatlantic services are on sale now, starting from £329 ($599) for one of 117 economy seats (pictured), known as Core in JetBlue-speak

One of the two first-class ‘Mint Studio’ seats, pictured, which JetBlue says have the biggest lie-flat bed of any U.S carrier

‘Given that the UK remains closed, we didn’t feel a ton of pressure to open earlier in the summer,’ JetBlue President Joanna Geraghty said in an interview. ‘This gives us a couple more months. We are pretty optimistic that by then things will be ready to go.’

Before the pandemic, New York-London was among the most lucrative and highly competitive airline routes on the globe. It was popular with high-fare corporate travelers moving between two great financial hubs.

JetBlue wants to offer more flights but found it difficult to break into Heathrow, where take-off and landing slots are hard to get. The daily JFK-Heathrow flight will arrive in London after 10am, which is later than many business travelers like.

‘The times are not what we would have preferred,’ Geraghty said, ‘but we also think they are times that are very workable for a large number of customers.’

JetBlue is looking next to expand into continental Europe, where it would run into more competition from American, Delta and United. Among the cities being considered are Paris and Amsterdam, Geraghty said.

Before the pandemic, New York-London was among the most lucrative and highly competitive airline routes on the globe. Pictured is the type of aircraft JetBlue will fly to London – an Airbus A321

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