‘Tis the season for changes to flight change fees, it would seem, and JetBlue got in on the action this week. Yes, the change fees went up 50% ($50->$75 for cheap fares and $100->$150 for more expensive tickets) but the news isn’t all bad. There is now a tiered fee schedule for flight changes which is arguably more fair than most airlines (short of not charging any fees). And, for their Mosaic members the new rules are even more generous – no more fees.
For regular customers there is now a 60 day cut-off point where the fees change in price. Here’s what the schedule looks like now:
For customers who fly JetBlue enough to rate the Mosaic badge elite status, the changes are even better. No fees at all. Ever. Even if you cancel the ticket for a full
Beginning with bookings made on May 17, 2013, Members with a valid TrueBlue Mosaic badge will not pay the applicable JetBlue change/cancellation fee when they change or cancel their JetBlue flight or JetBlue Getaways vacation reservation by calling JetBlue. The change/cancel fee will also be waived for any traveler on the same reservation as the Mosaic member…. Mosaic members must call JetBlue to change or cancel their reservation in order to receive the fee waiver benefit; any change or cancellation made online will not qualify for this benefit.
This new policy
is a step up from matches that of Alaska Airlines, the other carrier with a published policy of fee waivers for top elites. In the Alaska Airlines case it is only a waiver of change fees, not for canceling a trip, too. Even Southwest won’t refund tickets (just no change fee). JetBlue has essentially made every ticket fully refundable for their top elites. That’s huge.
JetBlue continues to respect that change fees more than the fare itself are silly, so that’s a good thing. And the 60-day split is likely a more accurate reflection of the resale challenges of that same space, made a bit more challenging because JetBlue doesn’t overbook as a matter of policy. But the biggest winners here – by far – are the Mosaic members. No more fees ever makes it incredibly easy to justify buying more of their tickets on JetBlue more often.
Also, there is still the free repricing of the same flight for a credit if the fare goes down which is available to all customers.
Europe and the Middle East are about to become destinations JetBlue flight numbers serve, even if it isn’t JetBlue-operated flights making the trips. The NYC-based carrier is teaming up with Dubai-based Emirates to extend their codesharing agreement to a bilateral one. Currently Emirates has their code on JetBlue-operated flights to 28 destinations; the new agreement will see the JetBlue coded flight numbers on Emirates-operated flights to Milan and Dubai.
The new bilateral codeshare is in addition to the frequent flyer reciprocity that the two programs already share. There is no elite reciprocity but members of either program can earn
and redeem for flights on the other.
Back when Emirates announced the timing of their Milan-JFK flight it seemed likely that feed to and from JetBlue flights would be a big part of making that flight work. This announcement plays into that theory. There are still only a limited number of onward flights late-night after the Emirates flight arrives from Milan but it is better than nothing.
Looking to travel using JetBlue TrueBlue points in the next couple months? For the next couple days you can save 30% on the redemption costs.
When you redeem TrueBlue points for an Award Flight between now and April 26, you can save 30% on your flight. Simply travel between May 2 and June 26, 2013. Take off now and save some points for later.
JetBlue doesn’t have too many promotions like this so when they do it is always worth taking a closer look. In this case the value of the TrueBlue points can be up over 2 cents in certain markets. That’s a pretty significant value opportunity for those points. Obviously the dates have to work for you, but this is a pretty good deal if they do.
JetBlue and the Worcester, Massachusetts airport have been going back and forth for several months now, working on plans to add service to that city. Lots of fun has been had in the media and social media channels. Today, however, things got
a little closer to real. The JetBlue website now shows Worcester as a valid origin airport:
Target destinations appear to be Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, with onward connections from there:
Sure, no official announcement yet and likely someone jumped the gun loading it into the webpage. Plus, no fares have been loaded yet that I can see.
Still, this is the latest indication that the service is coming. Likely sooner than not.
UPDATE: At least one person is suggesting ORH-MCO starts on 7 November 2013. I’m not seeing it yet.
UPDATE 2: It is most definitely real. Initial destinations are FLL and MCO with a service launch date of 7 November 2013. Intro fares will be $59/$49 to FLL/MCO, respectively.
Probably not at all significant in the real world, but I just happened upon a video from JetBlue describing the process they went through in selecting a designer for their uniform refresh due in Spring 2014. It is somewhat interesting to hear the discussions on how many different groups they had involved in the process, as well as to see that they’re going to add a bit of contrasting color with the orange accents. I’m a fan of that color combination.
And here’s the video with some more discussion about the process and the designer:
JetBlue has big plans for Fly-Fi, their in-flight internet service. The carrier has been working for the past couple years to get the Ka-band satellite service up and running and they’re in the home stretch, with one plane fitted and awaiting FAA approval for test flights and, eventually, formal certification. And while they might not be flying yet, that doesn’t mean that the service isn’t being tested. Thanks to this modified test truck the company is able to test the connectivity and performance from a moving vehicle.
Sure, it isn’t an Airbus A320 cruising at 35,000 feet, but it gets the job done, at least for now.
The excede product from ViaSat is known to be reliable and functional for stationary transceivers; the big leap for JetBlue, LiveTV and ViaSat is ensuring that the system remains stable when the dish is moving. This custom rig lets the companies test their operations at highway speeds. The test rig previously spent some time on the west coast and it is now doing a tour of duty in central Florida, near the LiveTV headquarters.
The company still expects to have the system flying by mid-year on their planes. United Airlines will also be using the system on part of their fleet.
Getting information about your TrueBlue account just got a bit easier. JetBlue has launched a new website for their members, adding more features and information. They even have a photo of me on my profile; I actually don’t really know where they got that from.
With the launch of Mosaic last year and the changes to the TrueBlue bonus points structure there are also some additional information on the front page about progress towards those levels:
They also have points earning and redemption details going back, in theory, for the life of the TrueBlue account. From what I can see it is actually only the life of the account since the migration to the new TrueBlue program a couple years ago, but it is still fun for me to see all the entries there. It also is a good reminder that I should probably redeem those points one of these days. Sitting on that balance probably isn’t so useful.
And a breakdowns by activity type:
In the Manage My Points section there are some other options related to buying points or getting credit for flights which didn’t previously post:
Overall some nice improvements to the information and functionality available and the flow of data through the site. Personally I am not a huge fan of the UI, mostly because it doesn’t render well on the tiny screen of my trusty netbook, but on a normal sized screen it is pretty solid.
And I really do wonder where they’re pulling that photo of me from…
UPDATE: Apparently I have a profile on their community site which includes a photo. Not that I have used the site in months, but it isn’t quite as creepy as I thought.
I love a good wedding. And I love travel. And I love great stories. Today is a day I get to see all three mixed together into pure awesome.
JetBlue is sharing the details today of their in-flight crewmembers going above and beyond to make a NYC wedding happen. The gist of it is that a couple was flying in to NYC to get married and it happened to come up in conversation with the Flight Attendants on the transcon flight. The FAs feted the couple in flight, which is great, but one of the three went even further. You see, in New York there is a requirement that a third party serve as witness to a wedding. The couple didn’t know that and they didn’t have anyone else to fill that role in New York. So Virginia, one of the FAs, offered to fill that role.
I’ve filled the role in a similar situation, helping a random couple who I met via FlyerTalk get married on the Brooklyn Bridge nearly 5 years ago. I cannot agree more with the attitude one of the other FAs on board, Dan, expresses, "I don’t even think it’s going above and beyond—it’s just about doing something human, and caring for other people."
Just a great story in every sense.
It seems that, despite JetBlue‘s desire to not operate any airport lounges in their hub facilities there is apparently sufficient demand in their flagship JFK T5 terminal for a lounge to open. AirSpace, the company which currently operates a lounge at BWI and which is opening a lounge in Cleveland next month, will be opening a lounge inside T5; it is expected to open in May 2013.
The lounge will have many of the typical features available at airport lounges, including a bar and snacks/food. It will also have showers, quite useful for a redeye arrival or pre-flight on one of the midnight flights to the Caribbean or evening flights to Europe when Aer Lingus moves in to the terminal later this year. The lounge will be located near Gate 24, towards the end of the terminal where the international expansion construction is taking place. Not much of a surprise there, really.
The lounge lacks windows, which is unfortunate, but I suppose that can be overcome with a free drink (only 1st drink is free with the paid admission) and some food. I happen to think that T5 is one of the best terminals in the USA these days and I’m generally quite happy to sit out in the food court area rather than searching out a lounge, but it is nice to see that the option will be available for those who want it.
Check out the link to Jaunted for some renderings; I’ll see about getting in once it is open to get real world photos.
I’m not particularly interested in American Idol so I had no idea what to expect when I saw the announcement that Phillip Phillips was performing at JetBlue‘s JFK T5 terminal. To be honest, I didn’t even recognize the name. But the show was on Monday and I had the day off for President’s Day and nothing better to do so I headed out to the airport, grabbed a quick lunch and then settled in to watch the show. As they were getting set up for the performance I noticed that his band included a cellist; that was definitely a positive bit. I decided maybe this wouldn’t be all bad.
Phillips filmed a couple PR segments prior to the actual show. Not surprisingly the area was mobbed, mostly with teen and tween girls. I was quite surprised how many managed to get to the airport for the show, though it quickly became clear that most of them were JetBlue crew kids. And there were a few crew who commuted in for the show; the two women sitting next to me were flight attendants down from Boston for the day. Most impressive to me of that scene, however, was that Phillips hung out when he finished filming the promo spots and took photos with everyone there who wanted one. That was a classy move.
And, right when it was supposed to, the show kicked off. Seeing a concert in an airport terminal isn’t especially common. It is always entertaining, however. Watching the people unaware of why it is happening trying to navigate the crowds is quite amusing. And the show itself was pretty good, too. Phillips performed six songs: Hold On; Gone, Gone, Gone; Man on the Moon; A Fools Dance; Wicked Game and Home. There was another photo session after the show for VIPs at the event. I have no idea how the VIPs got that treatment but it was fun to see how excited they all were to attend the show and get the photo. I got a picture, too, though the PR folks haven’t forwarded it over to me.
Here is the video I shot of the concert. Decent, I think, given how far away I was and no tripod. Enjoy.
Definitely not your typical airport experience.