JetBlue was one of the first low-cost airlines to begin operating in the United States. It has been in operation for almost twenty years and remains one of the most popular airlines in the US today. It has grown quite considerably in this time from humble beginnings. Even though you are probably aware of JetBlue in some capacity there are some facts that you may not know and these are listed below.
It Was Incorporated In Delaware In August 1998
The company was founded in February 1999 by David Neeleman and originally had the name 'NewAir'. It was awarded 75 slots at JFK in September of the same year. Authorization from the US government was granted in February 2000 and the first flights began to operate the very same month. This is a fairly quick turnaround from incorporation to operation and is one that other new airlines have struggled to match. At the time there were not many low-cost airlines operating in the United States and it soon became apparent that there was a demand for the services that JetBlue was offering.
It Offered More Amenities Than Similar Airlines
One of the major selling points of JetBlue is that it offered many more amenities on board than similar low-cost carriers. Onboard entertainment was available and every seat had a TV. There was also access to radio for passengers with a choice of stations that they could listen to. Complimentary snacks and soft drinks were also offered to every customer throughout the whole of the flight. The airline also offers more legroom as standard than any other operator in the United States. The ethos of the company is that the passenger should not be forced to make compromises on comfort just because they have paid less for their ticket. This was something that was not really offered by any other airline at this point. There are options for passengers to pay to upgrade if they want to. There are more substantial snack boxes that customers can purchase and they can also pay for a seat with extra legroom.
Its First Services Were To Buffalo And Fort Lauderdale
These first flights started to operate in February 2000 from the airlines base at JFK. At this point, flights were solely to East Coast destinations but the ambition was always there to begin to offer coast to coast services. These first services soon became very popular with passengers because of the low cost and convenience that the airline offered. Expansion to other cities across the United States soon began and the company did very well in its first years of operations. Today you can catch a flight to all major cities across the United States as well as international flights.
It Was One Of The Only Airlines To Make A Profit After 9/11
The aviation industry took a huge downturn after 9/11 as many people were quite fearful about flying. The major airlines took quite a hit but JetBlue was one of the only airlines that was still making a profit. At the time of the attacks, it was still a relatively new airline and therefore did not have a lot of flights operating anyway. Even though there were fewer people flying, there were still plenty of people that were looking for cheap flights and this is something that JetBlue was able to provide. It has not always made a profit but the fact that it did so well in the early years has meant that the airline has never really been in serious financial trouble.
The Airline Was Originally Going To Be Called Taxi
Taxi was one of the first names that was suggested for the new airline and the livery was going to be yellow to represent NY Taxis. This would show that the airline was proud to be based in New York. However, it was decided against using this name for a number of reasons. The first was that is was thought that the name may cause problems for Air Traffic Control as the word taxi was already in use. It was used to refer to aircraft that are moving on the ground under their own power, rather than being towed or pushed back. There were also rumors that JP Morgan who had invested $20 million in the business threatened to pull this investment if the name was not changed.
It Had A Policy Of Never Cancelling Flights
When JetBlue first started operating then one of its main policies was that it would never cancel a flight. It managed to keep this policy in place for just over six years but it failed quite badly in February 2007. A snowstorm hit the Northeast and Midwest which meant that a large proportion of their flights were unable to take off. At this point, they were still sticking to their policy of not canceling flights and so people already aboard the planes were unable to disembark and remained on board for several hours. In most cases, the flights did eventually have to be canceled and so passengers felt that they had wasted a lot of time that could have been spent trying to make other arrangements. This non-cancellation policy did set JetBlue apart from other operators and it did work well for several years. However, as this situation with the storms proved, there are sometimes occasions where cancellations are necessary due to factors outside of the airline's control.
It Introduced A Customer Bill Of Rights In 2007
The problems that they had with canceling flights after the Valentines Day storms led to them creating the Customer Bill Of Rights. There were many complaints from customers about the way that they were treated by the airline as they tried to deal with the delays and cancellations. JetBlue did acknowledge that they had handled the situation badly and their policy of never canceling a flight came to an end. The Customer Bill Of Rights ensures that passengers are entitled to financial compensation if their flight is delayed or canceled. A public apology was made to all passengers that were affected by the events that had taken place during the storm and they were assured that lessons had been learned.
It Became The Official Airline Of Springfield
This title came about after a partnership with 20th Century Fox in order to promote The Simpsons Movie. A competition was held in which the first prize was a JetBlue flight to Los Angeles to see the premiere of the movie. The JetBlue website was also changed to feature several of the Simpsons characters on several different pages of the site. Montgomery Burns featured quite heavily on the site as it was made to appear that his character had taken control of JetBlue. This was quite a novel way for a film to be promoted and it was certainly something that had not been seen before.
Pilots Did Not Join A Union Until 2014
All pilots that worked for JetBlue were entitled to cast a ballot confirming if they wanted to join a union or not. When the votes were counted 71% of pilots were in favor of joining the ALPA. The Air Line Pilots Association is the largest pilots union in the world and most of its members come from the US and Canada. In total there are 34 US and Canadian airlines whose pilots are members of ALPA. Belonging to a union has several advantages for pilots and helps ensure that JetBlue is protecting their rights. It will also provide professional assistance in the case of the pilots facing disciplinary procedures.
It Tried To Acquire Virgin America
In 2016 JetBlue attempted to acquire Virgin America which would have increased the number of domestic flights that they were able to offer. However, their attempt was unsuccessful and Alaska Airways eventually made the acquisition. It still flies under the Virgin America brand but Alaska Airways operate all flights and this is the arrangement that would have been put in place if JetBlue had been successful. There is still the possibility that an acquisition of another airline could be made in the future in the right circumstances. Even though JetBlue has a lot of coverage in the United States in terms of the destinations that they fly to there is always the opportunity to expand.
Their Headquarters Are In Long Island City
They have been based at the Brewster Building in Long Island City since 2012 and this looks likely to remain as their home for many years to come. Their original headquarters was located in Forest Hills in Queens but in 2009 they announced that they were looking to move in order to expand. They did consider the possibility of moving to Orlando and they would have been offered financial incentives by the government of Orlando if they had chosen to do this. However, in the end, they decided to remain in New York and transferred all their staff from Forest Hills to their new offices in Long Island City. The state of New York was delighted with their decision to stay and several of their aircraft were branded with the I Love NY symbol soon after. JetBlue now have the sole use of the Brewster Building which was once an assembly plant for Rolls Royce cars.
Their Main Base Is JFK Airport
JetBlue has always been based at JFK but their presence there has grown considerably from the days when they only flew to two destinations. Terminal 5 has been the primary hub of the airline since 2008. This building was virtually built from scratch and was estimated to cost at least $800 million. It is built around the TWA Flight Center which remains closed at the moment, although there are plans to open it up and make it an integral part of the terminal. It was also recently announced that this hub would be expanded further to take in terminals 6 and 7. As part of these plans, a hotel will be built just outside of terminal 5 which will be owned and operated by JetBlue. This gives them the chance to offer a complete service to their passengers. For example, if passengers are taking an early flight then being able to stay in a hotel at the airport the night before means that they do not have the hassle of trying to get to the airport first thing in the morning.
They Currently Serve Over 110 Locations
This includes destinations in North, Central and South America as well as several of the Caribbean islands. It flies all over the United States and domestic flights are a large part of their business. It also flies to several countries in South America such as Columbia, Ecuador, and Peru. It has also offered flights to Cuba on a weekly basis for several years and was one of the first American airlines to do this. Other destinations include Caribbean islands such as Saint Marteen, Barbados, and Jamaica. In 2018 it was announced that JetBlue intends to start offering transatlantic flights between Europe and the United States. There is no timetable in place yet for when this will begin but it is something that they have been working towards for a number of years and so they will be keen to get it up and running as soon as possible. There was a time when low-cost airlines did not offer transatlantic flights but this is something that has changed in recent years and so it makes sense that JetBlue would want to be involved in it
There Have Only Been Two Major Incidents Involving Their Airplanes
In almost twenty years JetBlue has only had two incidents aboard their aircraft which can be seen as major incidents. The first was an emergency landing that had to be made at Los Angeles International Airport in 2005 on a flight from New York due to problems with the landing gear. When the flight did land the tires were completely worn away and the wheels also started to wear down as well but the plane was able to come to a stop with no injuries to passengers or crew and everyone was able to disembark safely. In 2012 the pilot of Flight 191 locked himself out of the cockpit after showing signs of being distressed and suffering from possible mental health issues. However, he was able to be calmed down by passengers and the co-pilot was able to land the plane safely. Safety is the primary concern of all airlines and JetBlue have an excellent record in this respect.
TrueBlue Is Their Frequent Flyer Program
When this program was introduced passengers could earn two, four or six points per flight depending on the distance that they were traveling. If these flights were booked online then the points that were earned would have been doubled. Changes to the program were made in September 2009 to put a more simple rewards structure in place. Three points per dollar spent would be awarded to customers whenever they paid for a flight with double points still being offered for online bookings. The points that are earned from this program never expire and so it can also be used by passengers that only fly occasionally, although it may take them some time to build up a considerable reward. There is also a JetBlue Mastercard that is issued by Barclays where passengers can earn additional points if the flight is booked using this card. Frequent flyer programs are offered by most airlines because it is a good way to encourage loyalty among passengers. JetBlue has a number of advantages when attracting frequent flyers because their prices are quite low and they fly to a large range of destinations.
They Have Partnered With Amazon To Offer Entertainment To Passengers
The Amazon Video app can be downloaded using onboard wifi and passengers can use this to access entertainment on their own devices. This means that they can access additional content that may not be available on the entertainment system of the aircraft. The onboard entertainment options are one of the main things that set JetBlue apart from its competitors and the deal with Amazon demonstrates their commitment to this. They are also one of the only airlines that offer gate to gate wi-fi which is high speed. The quality of this wifi means that passengers are able to use their devices on board for almost any purpose. Entertainment aboard aircraft has come a long way in recent years and JetBlue is making sure that they are across all the options that passengers want when it comes to entertainment.
Their Premium Class Service Is Called Mint
JetBlue began offering a premium class service on selected aircraft in 2013. The airline has configured several Airbus 321s that are used for this service. There are fewer seats on the planes so that passengers can enjoy more space. These seats also lie flat and some of them come with panels that can be slid across to offer more privacy. At the moment this service is only available on certain flights to the Caribbean and selected coast to coast flights. It may be something that the airline chooses to expand on later so that more destinations are included in the service. At the moment these premium flights only depart from New York, Fort Lauderdale, and Boston. They are used by people traveling for business who may want to use the time onboard to do some last minute preparation for the trip. People using JetBlue to travel for a vacation may also decide to use Mint to get their trip off to a great start
Their Motto Is "You Above All"
They have experimented with other mottos in the past but this is the one that they are currently using. It was chosen because it fits their ethos of making sure that their passengers have the best possible experience when flying with them. It could be argued that their marketing messages became a little lost for a period with the focus of this marketing changing several times in a short space of time. The use of this motto took them right back to the beginning and reminded customers of what they have always been about. It is believed that this motto will continue to be used for some time to bring some consistency back to the marketing campaigns that the airline will use. In the past, if you wanted to use a low-cost airline then this would have meant making some sort of compromise in the service that you received. JetBlue wanted to change this by still offering an excellent service but at a better price and this is something that the motto aims to remind customers of.
They Codeshare With Several Other Airlines
Codesharing means that JetBlue share flights with other airlines. These flights are advertised and seats are sold by both airlines that will have their own codes. JetBlue will either let another airline sell seats on their flights or vice versa. Many of the airlines that JetBlue codeshare with are European airlines as this allows them to offer more destinations to their passengers by way of offering connecting flights. JetBlue benefit because they are able to attract passengers from markets that they would not normally have access to. Codesharing is not something that is new and it has been in use for many years.
They Have Some Of The Lowest Baggage Costs In The Industry
When JetBlue first started operating they did not make any charges for baggage. They were forced to introduce these charges because of rising overheads but they still wanted to keep them as low as possible. They currently charge $20 for the first bag and $35 for the second. Many JetBlue passengers only take short trips and therefore most of them only need the one bag so this helps to keep costs down for passengers. The prices that JetBlue charge are in line with those that are offered by Frontier Air and both airlines are recognized as having the lowest baggage prices among all airlines that charge for this. At the moment Southwest is the only major airline that does not charge for baggage.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker