Topic of the Week: JetBlue’s Private Suites

There was quite the buzz yesterday when details came out about JetBlue’s new transcon premium product. Looks like we’re now talking about a best in class offering with private suites. Read this article. Then sound off with your thoughts.

22 Responses to Topic of the Week: JetBlue’s Private Suites

  1. Cook says:

    I think JB is courting a specific demographic, one known only to them and probably not fully defined. If they get it right, it should be very profitable. Still, I have to wonder if this is not a bit of over kill for A320 series aircraft. Please ask again in five years.

  2. MeanMeosh says:

    I have to say, this surprises me. I was expecting something of a “Euro Biz” offering. The product looks fantastic, but I have to wonder, will B6 be able to get enough of a premium for these seats to justify the product? These transcons aren’t exactly monopoly routes, after all.

    • I think that’s why it will be a subfleet for JFK/BOS – LAX/SFO and not on all T-con services

      • MeanMeosh says:

        Oh, I get that. But even on JFK/BOS – LAX/SFO, I have to wonder whether they’ll be able to get enough of a premium to justify the product. Those suites are going to take up a bunch of room at the pointy end, and regular coach fares don’t exactly break the bank on an LAX-JFK transcon. Don’t get me wrong, I hope this succeeds; just skeptical that the math will work.

      • I don’t even think you’ll see it from BOS. Or has this been announced and I’m wrong already?

  3. Pretty awesome! x-atlantic style first and biz class will set them apart once again. The first class offering will really appeal to high level exec (NY) and hollywood (LA) types. Don’t look for this service on any of their other x-country flights. Always nice to see innovation in the airline biz, as it has been a “me too” industry for far too long (with no end in sight). Kudos to B6… again!

  4. Neil says:

    Will probably make more sense once Virgin goes bust.

    • robby says:

      I hope that Virgin stays afloat, if it were not for their arrival with in Florida with their FLL – SFO flights, Jetblue may have never added that market!

  5. Completely depends on the price point. With an increasing number of private jet services, offered at increasingly competitive prices it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

    My bet is on Delta –
    http://www.deltaprivatejets.com/

    • Sean S. says:

      Unless these seats are Singapore airline prices (20K for a ‘suite’) there will be no way that the suites will cost the same as a private jet for one person travel. Now if we’re talking about groups of employees moving to meetings than yes, thats possible. The private jet market simply is too expensive for the average person or business, and increasing scruitny means it is as well for corporations.

  6. Tim says:

    Agreed with MeanMeosh, sounds great but a private cabin first class will take up a lot of aircraft real estate. Depending on how large the seats are they’ll need to get 6x to 12x more revenue than Economy just to break even.

  7. Except for celebs who aren’t important enough to have movie studios pay for a private jet, they may be using this type seating. Seems a waste for a 5-ish hour flight.

    But it will give B6 media hype for awhile and that’s what they pay their PR people for.

  8. Jason H says:

    Although this is designed for high-value business travelers, the trouble is that most business travelers will need to travel places that aren’t just New York and Los Angeles. A big part of the reason that lots of business travelers stick to AA/DL/UA is because they serve many many more cities in the US and internationally, and Jet Blue (and Virgin America) simply don’t.
    They probably will make a fair amount of money from selling these suites, but I don’t think they will really attract a loyal following or lots of business travelers for them.

    • maybe somebody can run the numbers for us but my guess is that all carriers on the NYC-LAX run have overwhelmingly O&D traffic, like 80% or higher.

      for westbound connections within the US, midcontinent (DFW, ORD) or other western hubs (PHX, SLC) make more sense than LAX in nearly all cases, unless going to hawaii / so pacific / australia / asia and not all of that traffic is connecting through LAX anyway.

      i would also think little if any eastbound traffic connects at JFK for the same reasons, would guess that O&D is 90% or higher as LAX has a great deal of service to europe without a stop in NYC. probably some DL and a bit less AA traffic from LAX might connect to some of the second tier european destinations served nonstop from JFK but that’s probably about it. same with EWR and UA.

      • Jason H says:

        It’s not really about connecting traffic, but more about business travelers wanting to stay with one airline or one alliance, and JetBlue simply can’t satisfy all the needs (destinations) of business travelers the way legacy carriers can.
        Even if all the travelers are O/D travelers, the potential business customers would be those that only have to fly JFK-LAX or maybe the relatively few other destinations that JetBlue serves.

  9. I’m curious how this relates into their partnerships with other airlines?

    Having a truer first class product might help them with gaining more revenues on their partnership with international carriers..

  10. Don says:

    Wow! This surprises me a lot. Getting away from their Southwest business model. If they can make it work [by filling up hose pricy seats] then they will be very profitable. Otherwise they are following Virgin America’s playbook. But it does seem like this is a step above business class. Will hot meals and ovens be in the future for these customers? And since they don’t go everywhere will their customers or connecting business customers be filling up these seats? Since I do fly jetBlue a lot and hear the battles for customers screaming about the Even More seats they will have to really educate them on why a $50 charge only gets you an even more room seat and not a cabin in the front.

    • Did Jetblue really ever follow Southwest’s business model? Beyond flying a single fleet type for a while I don’t think so. They’ve always been an O&D hubbed carrier and they don’t do the milk runs that Southwest does opting for out and backs. They’ve provided entertainment from the beginning. (No their FAs don’t count.)

      • Don says:

        True. I forgot about jetblue’s other aircraft. But Southwest does have wifi. Heard chatter about wifi but that died down. In terms of price and service they both are pretty good. But I wonder what other big changes (if any) are to come for jetblue? Is wifi coming with this plane, hot meals, an upgraded entertainment system? Are they gonna try and leap frog Virgin America? I can’t picture these planes going south or to the Latin America destinations. I think it’s all gonna go cross country. But then again I never though they would install business class/premium seats and certainly not private cabins.

  11. Ed Kelty says:

    Is this an appeal to 30,000 mile high club members? (You know who you are.) This makes no sense on the relatively short routes Jet Blue flies. Trans continental flights are no longer a big deal. This is not like a five crumby movie flight to Asia.

  12. ChuckMO says:

    Until they serve STL, the chances of my flying B6 anywhere in any class is close to zero.

    I do like the product offering, if revenue enhancements in the new cabin result in the ability to offer slightly lower fares in the main cabin, it could be win-win for B6 and their pax alike.

  13. Sass Brown says:

    I don’t see the point, unless the intent is to use this on longer flights than I thought the current A321 had the range to operate, such as across the Atlantic (i.e. the filing says nothing about the service operating on an existing route). The advantage of the big-real-estate suites is about sleep and transcon is really to short for more than a nap. And while business travellers are indeed seen as travelling solo, often they are not. Colleagues going to the same event or meeting together, spouses, happen chance encounters in the lounge are really quite common. I just had four colleagues and their spouses on the same flight as me recently, for example; We all booked separately and without discussing itineraries. Even the “pod-like” business class seats like on Air New Zealand and Air Canada are seen as being isolationist a bit in this regard.

    As for the Hollywood celebrity or high powered exec who will pay for privacy and don’t have an entourage or care where their entourage sits, “Precious” is flying private anyway.

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