Flight Global are reporting that JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes is confident that the transformative impact of Mint on the US transcontinental market could be replicated transatlantic.
Boston to London is just an hour longer than the transcontinetal services to San Francisco. This means the airline believes it can be done. It also has A321neo aircraft on order which can be switched to the long range variant if required.
What Did Mint Do In The USA?
According to the CEO, Mint made the legacy carriers reduce their pricing. Lead in fares for transcontinental services were around $2,000 each way and JetBlue priced Mint at $599 each way.
This caused the legacy carriers to reduce their fares to compete. CEO Hayes believes an even better outcome can happen transatlantic as the fares are as high as $8,000 to $10,000 each way.
One reason this worked so well in the USA is that Mint introduced a whole new level of service to the market. The seats converted to fully flat beds which was very unusual for domestic flying.
JetBlue also upped the ante with cabin service and meals. Personalised and attentive service is the norm in this cabin and the food is fantastically presented, modern and very good. It is streets ahead of what the other airlines were offering at the time.
Can JetBlue Take It Long-Haul?
According to the CEO, costs flying transatlantic are not all that different to flying transcontinental. However, he stresses that no decision has been made at this time as to whether they will go to Europe.
Mint is an excellent product, however the seats are the same as those used by Aer Lingus on their transatlantic flights. The first mover advantage that came to them with the seats will not happen on the Atlantic routes as other carriers do have a better offering.
Low cost across the Atlantic works well with Norwegian already having some of the market. JetBlue’s Mint is clearly superior than anything Norwegian offer, so the thinking could be correct when it comes to a gap in the market and money to be made.
Despite the lack of brand recognition on the other side of the pond, if the price is right there will be a buzz and people will make flight bookings. All that remains to be seen is whether they’ll take the plunge or not.
While I am not entirely convinced JetBlue can make transatlantic work, I think they are onto something. Lead in business class fares are very high and the three alliances pretty much have the market tied up in this regard.
For decent service and a flat bed, there is probably a whole segment of the market to capture. Not everyone is a member of an airline loyalty programme or cares to be, so $599 each way for a flat bed and superb service without earning points would work for them.
What say you? Is the CEO onto something here or is there absolutely no chance of this happening? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Images via JetBlue.
With thanks to Flight Global.