JetBlue’s London service just scored a big win and notable expansion

Jun 21, 2022

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JetBlue Airways is now in it for the long haul at London’s busiest airport.

The New York-based carrier announced a range of updates to its transatlantic service on Monday, which includes the exciting news that the airline has secured permanent slots at London Heathrow Airport (LHR).

To date, JetBlue has been operating at Heathrow using temporary slots it received due to the demand downtown and slack in Heathrow schedules during the pandemic.

But now, as the carrier looks to firmly establish itself in the hotly competitive market from the U.S. to London, the airline has now acquired permanent slots to operate at Heathrow.

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One slot provides an airline a landing or takeoff spot, while a slot pair is needed to operate one round-trip flight.

It wasn’t immediately clear how JetBlue acquired the slots, especially considering that a slot at Heathrow can go for as much as $70 million dollars. Rumors have it that the airline picked up the slots from Moscow-based Aeroflot, after the carrier’s slots were seized following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, though there’s been no confirmation of that.

JetBlue in Heathrow
(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

“With permanent slots at Heathrow – the highest in-demand slots globally – we’re now positioned to provide long-term service at one of the busiest airports in the world. This is an incredible opportunity for a carrier like JetBlue as we introduce transatlantic travellers to our great fares and award-winning service,” said JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes in a statement.

A JetBlue spokesperson told TPG that “we obtained our permanent slot pair at Heathrow through the normal slot allocation process.”

Getting slots to operate at Heathrow paves the way for the carrier to operate service year-round without worrying about the temporary takeoff and landing permission being revoked when Heathrow’s operations return (or exceed) pre-pandemic levels.

JetBlue has a multi-airport strategy for its pond-hopping ambitions, and it currently operates service to both Heathrow and Gatwick (LGW) from New York-JFK.

As part of the news, the airline unveiled plans to add a second daily flight to Gatwick beginning in the fall, with the full schedule details available below. Seats on the new flight are available to purchase as of yesterday (20 June).

The airline also reiterated plans to commence service from Boston to London, with the first flight scheduled to take off on 5 Aug. This represents a nearly three-week delay, which the carrier recently blamed on delivery delays of new aircraft from Airbus.

In total, the carrier will operate five daily flights from the U.S. to London come the fall.

Finally, JetBlue will now offer its Mint business-class customers, Mosaic elites and Even More Space extra-legroom flyers access to priority security at both Heathrow and Gatwick.

JetBlue flight entertainment
(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

JetBlue operates from Terminal 2 at Heathrow (the Queen’s Terminal), and eligible travellers should look for the “Fast Track” signs when clearing security. Those flying from Gatwick will have access to the “Premium Security” lane at the airport’s north terminal.

JetBlue is almost on its second year of crossing the pond, after first launching flights from New York to London on 11 Aug 2021. The airline deploys the Airbus A321LR, or “long-range,” on its transatlantic flights.

The jet is outfitted with two Mint Studios, 22 Mint suites and 114 economy seats, 24 of which are in an extra-legroom Even More Space configuration.

Inside JetBlue's Mint Studios
(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

JetBlue has stated that it aims to “reinvent” transatlantic travel with the launch of its London flights. The airline says that it wants to lower fares in the market, especially in the business-class cabin, where legacy carriers usually charge thousands of dollars. The carrier also offers an upgraded onboard product in all cabins, which includes create-your-own meals, unique amenities and walk-up snack bars.

JetBlue amenities
(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

London is only the beginning of JetBlue’s transatlantic ambitions. The carrier has said that it wants to expand beyond London in the coming years, possibly to cities like Paris and Amsterdam. For now, though, the airline can call London Heathrow one of its permanent homes.

Route Outbound Return Service schedule
JFK-LHR Flight #007 9:05 p.m. – 9:30 a.m. (+1) Flight #20 10:45 a.m. – 2:05 p.m. Existing service
JFK-LGW Flight #43 7:47 p.m. – 8:16 a.m. (+1) Flight #44 12:00 p.m. – 3:04 p.m. Existing service
JFK-LGW Flight #3 9:59 p.m. – 10:22 a.m. (+1) Flight #4 2:00 p.m. – 5:05 p.m. Begins Oct. 29
BOS-LGW Flight #2104 6:37 p.m. – 6:35 a.m. (+1) Flight #1926 12:15 p.m. – 3:02 p.m. Begins Aug. 4
BOS-LHR Flight #1620 6:45 p.m. – 6:30 a.m. (+1) Flight #1621 8:25 a.m. – 11:21 a.m. Begins Sept. 20

 

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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