JetBlue Expanding in Southern California, Coming to LAX

As I briefly mentioned in yesterday’s post, JetBlue has decided to expand their presence in Southern California mostly starting May 21. This is welcome considering that after the initial burst of service at Long Beach and a minor move at Burbank, there really hasn’t been much action from them out this way.

08_02_13 laxredcarpetApparently JetBlue thinks this is a huge deal, because they had a lot of pomp and circumstance around the announcement. Their CEO flew in along with an army of crewmembers from Long Beach for the announcement. And LA Mayor Villaraigosa along with Councilman Bill Rosendahl (LAX falls in his district), literally rolled out the red carpet for them, as you can see at left. Fortunately, I had the chance to attend the press conference at LAX, but no, I didn’t get to hitch a ride on the flight from Long Beach.

On the surface, this looks like a big expansion, but what most media outlets aren’t reporting is that much of it is really just a reallocation of resources. Take a look at this table that summarizes the changes. The numbers are the changes in frequency. Anything in italics is a new route.

Los Angeles/LAX

Long Beach

Burbank

San Diego

Net Change

New York/JFK

+3

-2

-1

0

Boston

+1

-1

0

Washington/Dulles

-2

+2

0

Seattle

+2

+1

+3

San Jose

+3

+3

Austin

+1

+1

Las Vegas

-1

+1

0

Salt Lake City

+1

+1

Net Change

+4

0

+2

+2

+8

Table Edited 2/13 @ 105p to reflect changes confirmed by JetBlue PR that conflict with information received at the press conference. There will now be only one Dulles flight cut from Long Beach. Instead of cutting the second one, they will cut one of the two O’Hare flights instead. The remaining flight will become a smaller Embraer 190. It is undecided what they will do with the now-unused O’Hare slot.

Table Reverted 2/13 @ 309p because it was apparently correct in the first place. O’Hare will not be changing. Hopefully the PR story won’t change again, but watch this space.

So, you see LAX gets flights to JFK and Boston, but those are taken away from other airports. That’s probably important at JFK where there isn’t much room to expand these days, but it’s most important at Long Beach. Remember, the airport is maxed out and JetBlue can’t start any new flights unless they get rid of some other ones. Before we get into that, let’s talk about LAX.

08_02_13 b6vxlax

Like I said, the airport will get flights to JFK and Boston. They can’t have many more than that, because they only have one gate in terminal 6. That’s gate 69, to be precise. Hmm, they should try a Southwest-style “love” message with that gate number.

Anyway, this is nothing but bad news for Virgin America since they’re targeting the same travelers and offering similar amenities. Virgin America may have one more flight per day, but JetBlue has better times, most significantly on the westbound. Virgin has no flight leaving JFK between 930a and 510p. JetBlue has a midday trip at 11a.

Down in Long Beach, most of the changes they’re making appear to be so they can introduce the smaller Embraer 190 into the market. Austin starts (the only one to begin May 1) probably because it’s the best way to get the plane from the east coast to the west coast, but San Jose and Seattle are interesting moves. Seattle is in direct competition with Alaska. They must think there’s enough room for two players in this market, because they’re going to be at a frequency and loyalty disadvantage. The odds aren’t stacked against them nearly as much as they are for Virgin America going against Alaska at LAX, however. They’re also doing Seattle to San Diego.08_02_13 b6lovlax Meanwhile, Burbank gets a couple Dulles flights, which is a nice addition.

I thought it was funny that at the press conference, the theme was all about the regionalization of airports in LAX, but that’s far from the case here. Sure, they added a couple flights at Burbank, but the restrictions on flying at Long Beach means they didn’t add anything, they just moved the flights around. It’s kind of hard to regionalize when the desirable regional airports don’t have any room.

Really, the big announcement is that they added LAX flying which goes against LA’s effort to move away from LAX. I thought it was pretty funny to see JetBlue CEO Dave Barger pressured to start more Ontario and even Palmdale flying. He laughed uncomfortably, but until Ontario lowers its fees, I can’t imagine they’re going to see much more traffic. And Palmdale? That’s way too far out there today.

So, good news for LA travelers in that you can now fly JetBlue out of LAX. It’s nice for LGB travelers to have more destinations, even if it is at the expense of some east coast flights. There are still plenty of options in those markets. I’m just happy to see JetBlue finally taking their eyes away from Northeast to Florida flying and giving us some love out here on the West Coast.

Click to see all my photos from JetBlue’s press conference.

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15 Comments on "JetBlue Expanding in Southern California, Coming to LAX"

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Danie
Member

A company is an “it” not a “they.” JetBlue has decided to expand “its” presence not “their” presence.

Bryan in San Francisco
Guest
Bryan in San Francisco

Well, they haven’t improved their service WITHIN California. For SFO to LAX it’s still Virgin America for me, and for Bay Area to Burbank (I love Bob Hope airport and its awesome train connectivity) it’s still Southwest for me.

Bryan in San Francisco
Guest
Bryan in San Francisco

DRG: A company can be a they. I.e. “Jet Blue have expanded into LAX.” It’s a matter of preference and house writing style.

james
Guest

Well they’ve already had one extremely popular and successful landing at LAX…

Wonko Beeblebrox
Guest

Maybe they’ll start up PHX->LAX soon, with the E190s… I liked flying JetBlue back when they had the PHX->BOS nonstops, but I’m not interested in connecting in JFK unless I absolutely have to.

I have no problem flying PHX->LAX->BOS. Heck, I’m doing that next month (on United)….

Of course, I’m not sure PHX->LAX will support another carrier– you’ve already got US, WN, DL/XJ, and UA all doing that route as-is…

Danie
Member

James said “A company can be a they. I.e. “Jet Blue have expanded into LAX.” It’s a matter of preference and house writing style.”

…errr, no, this is false. A company is an “it.” They is plural and is used to refer to more than one of something. You would never say “JetBlue ARE introducing new routes,” therefore you cannot say “THEY are introducing new routes.”

QRC
Guest
Cranky – just curious what you think of the Embraer in general for Jetblue’s ops, I know they broke the SW mold by introducing the second plane. I find it pretty uncomfortable to fly in, is it really that cost-efficient for them? Ignore the fact that the short and medium halls are naturally more profitable, as an airplane for cost per pax per kilometer is it that much more efficient than their airbus? Did they get massive price discounts from embraer to buy that thing? The a321 is just so versatile, you can fly it across the country and still… Read more »
Wonko Beeblebrox
Guest
You’re kidding, right? The A321 is versatile? Yes, it does have a low operating cost, but it does not have much of a gas tank, and it’d go overweight if one was ever installed. Heck, the A320 (much smaller and lighter) needs to make refueling stops on transcons when the wind kicks up. People think that an A321 is just like a 757 becuase they appear to be the same size. In fact, there is no real replacement for the venerable ’57. As to an E190, I have not been on an E190 yet, but I have been on an… Read more »
Danie
Member

Somebody said regarding the Embraer 190: I find it pretty uncomfortable to fly in, is it really that cost-efficient for them?

You are in a minority. The Embraer 170 series has been extremely well received by passengers and yours is the first complaint I have ever heard. I prefer flying in it over an Airbus any day.

The Embraer was designed for smaller cities. Not every market is viable with an Airbus A320, which incidentally is the other aircraft that JetBlue flies (it has no A321s)

Danie
Member

Someone said “I think the Queen would disagree with you, DRG. It’s very common to see “British Airways ARE . . .” over in the UK. ”

Well first of all, the Queen doesn’t write British Airways materials. And yes, British Airways ARE is WRONG, no matter who writes it.

QRC
Guest
Points taken on the versatility, you clearly know better than me. But I’m really shocked to hear about DRG’s experience in the 190 vs. the A321 on Jetblue. Have you guys flown much in either on them? If so my apologies I suppose we have difference in taste, although I really am surprised here. For three years I shuttled back between Bos and Oak on jetblue on the a321. After I started doing the East Coast to Austin on the 190s or on transfers through jfk up to bos, I longed for the airbusses again. Why? More overhead space, greater… Read more »
Wonko Beeblebrox
Guest
jetblue does not have A321s; they have A320s (which for transcons was probably a mistake- they should have gone for the A319, IMHO). I don’t think there is really much more overhead space on a #20 than on an E190/E175. The rationale: yes, the overheads are large enough to store the rollaboards “wheels-in first” on a A320. Great, buy you’ve got to get 3 people’s worth above each person. An E175 stores them just find “sideways”, but only has 2 people on each side of the aisle, so there are less bags to occupy a smaller area. The extra bonus… Read more »
Wonko Beeblebrox
Guest
Put this another way: http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/JetBlue_Airways/JetBlue_Airways_Airbus_A320.php A320 Shows 25 rows x 3 x 3 = 150 seats http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/JetBlue_Airways/JetBlue_Airways_Embraer_190.php E190 shows 25 rows x 2 x 2 = 100 seats So, the two jets server different sized markets. But even then, that is not a sufficient enough distinction. You could realistically put another 2 rows in the A320 and still have a decent seat pitch (your weight would go up by 12 seats + 12 pax + one flight attendant, reducing the plane’s available range on those transcons), so the stats for comparison should be: A320 Shows 27 rows x 3 x… Read more »
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