Citing competitive pressure from both discount airlines and legacy carriers like American, United, and Delta, Jet Blue President and COO Joanna Geraghty told employees that the airline will introduce a new low-frills class of service next year.
“At Jet Blue, we never liked the “no frills” approach,” Geraghty said in a blog post addressed to airline crew members.
“But with these competitors now offering basic economy on many routes we fly, customer behaviour suggests our success is at risk if we do not disrupt this market by lowering fares without sacrificing the experience.”
New “Blue Save” fares will be offered beginning in late 2019 to “customers looking to save with the lowest fare possible,” according to the blog post.
“Our new lower fare will be anything but basic, designed to help customers save while still offering the full Jet Blue experience – the most legroom in coach, free inflight entertainment, free Fly-Fi internet, free snacks and soft drinks, no overselling of flights, carry-on bag and personal item included, and great service,” wrote Geraghty.
“Customers who opt for this fare will agree to some limits, which might include things like boarding order, seating and change/cancelation flexibility, but we will not make them feel like second-class citizens.”
“Blue” fares would target “customers looking for the same offering as today,” while “Blue More” fares will be for “customers who value change/cancel flexibility and speed in the airport.”
The branding may change, but these categories will replace Jet Blue’s current three classes of service — Blue, Blue Plus, and Blue Flex.
Geraghty noted that few travellers currently choose Blue Flex fares, and that the new “Blue More” fares would be offered at a more attractive price.
“We’ve all heard the horror stories from customers about ultra-low-cost travel,” she said. “If we add a fare that saves customers money but still delivers the Jet Blue experience, I can’t imagine why a traveller shopping on price would ever choose another airline over us.”