JetBlue on Tuesday marked its 20th birthday, commemorating its first revenue flight between New York and Fort Lauderdale on February 11, 2000. Twenty years, 470 million customers, and 102 million bags of Terra Blue chips later, JetBlue continues to inspire humanity by combining great service with low fares for customers.
“No one believed that a start-up airline in 2000 could survive 20 months, much less 20 years,” said Robin Hayes, chief executive officer, JetBlue. “But JetBlue proved that taking care of people and bringing low fares to the market could not only be a viable business model but could also completely disrupt an industry. Others have tried to imitate JetBlue but no one has ever successfully copied our 23,000 crewmembers and the incredible culture that they’ve built.”
Over two decades, JetBlue established itself as a leader in both value and comfort. With an initial pledge to bring humanity back to air travel, today JetBlue is bringing that same human touch and innovative spirit across the travel industry through the airline and its two subsidiaries – JetBlue Travel Products and JetBlue Technology Ventures. JetBlue has maintained its onboard advantage, with the most legroom in coach (a), complimentary high-speed Fly-Fi broadband on every aircraft (b), free seatback entertainment at every seat, free snacks and soft drinks, and hospitality-trained crewmembers offering award-winning service.
‘20 Years Just Flew By’ Sale & Celebrations
JetBlue is planning a year-long celebration with its crewmembers and customers as it embarks on its third decade.
The airline is kicking off its “20 Years Just Flew By” fare sale with seats available now starting as low as $20 one-way in select markets (c). Visit jetblue.com to check availability and book.
Customers traveling on JetBlue flight #1 today from New York-JFK to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) were treated to breakfast treats and surprise gate-side giveaways at JetBlue’s home at Terminal 5 at JFK. JetBlue’s very first revenue flight operated the New York to Florida route as flight #1 on February 11, 2000.
This morning, Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer, joined founding JetBlue crewmembers to mark the airline’s milestone by ringing the opening bell at Nasdaq in Times Square. JetBlue is proud to be New York’s Hometown Airline and remains committed to New York City and the entire Empire State.
Saving Customers $12 Billion … And Counting
With its everyday low fares and market-stimulating growth, JetBlue estimates it has saved customers over $12 billion that would otherwise have gone to the four large airlines that hold vast pricing power in the airports they dominate.
“JetBlue’s role in the industry is more important than ever,” Hayes said. “As the large airlines have consolidated and grown more powerful, and the ultra-low-cost carriers ushered in the no-frills flying, customers are turning to JetBlue for our high-quality service and affordable fares – definitely a unique combination in the industry today.”
Its low fares have stimulated demand in underutilized airports from New York to Boston to Fort Lauderdale to Long Beach and across the Caribbean. JetBlue launched operations at John F. Kennedy International Airport – which in 2000 served just 32 million travelers and was ripe for growth. By 2018, more than 61 million travelers passed through JFK thanks to JetBlue and the market stimulation of “the JetBlue effect.”
With a long list of industry-shaping innovations and firsts, JetBlue’s remarkable success and stamp on the travel landscape cannot be ignored:
- From serving routes between the northeast and Florida with a handful of aircraft in 2000, JetBlue has become a globally loved brand with service to nearly 100 destinations across almost 25 countries across the U.S., Caribbean and Latin America with plans to expand to Europe in 2021.
- From its sole focus on New York, JetBlue has spread its geographic footprint and is now a leading carrier in six focus cities: Boston; Los Angeles/Long Beach; New York; Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
- With initial operations at JFK’s Terminal 6, JetBlue built and relocated to the new Terminal 5 in 2008, recognized by Frommer’s as one of the world’s most beautiful airport terminals. Since its opening, T5 has offered an amazing ground experience to complement JetBlue’s award-winning onboard experience.
- In 2014, JetBlue took a step forward from its single cabin roots, introducing its Mint premium experience to transcontinental travel, completely disrupting a category for travel that had been stagnant for years.
- JetBlue was the first U.S. airline to introduce a Customer Bill of Rights as a commitment to take care of customers with transparent and consistent compensation when things do not go as planned.
- JetBlue launched the industry’s most customer-friendly loyalty program – TrueBlue – which rewards all customers, regardless of their travel frequency. With TrueBlue, there are no blackout dates with all seats available for redemption, and points never expire.
- JetBlue’s founders believed that people would be the key to success, and JetBlue has invested in its people with an unmatched orientation and training campus, JetBlue University, in Orlando.
- With its innovative JetBlue Scholars program, crewmembers have earned a total of 250 college degrees since launching in 2016. JetBlue is now expanding the successful program to include master’s degrees.
- With a mission to inspire humanity, supporting its communities has been a priority for JetBlue and its crewmembers. In 2019, JetBlue Crewmembers reached an incredible milestone, volunteering one million hours of service over the past eight years since the airline started tracking volunteer hours.
- JetBlue was the first major U.S. airline to announce that it will offset carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) from jet fuel for all domestic flights beginning in July 2020. JetBlue also announced plans to start flying with sustainable aviation fuel in mid-2020 on flights from San Francisco International Airport.
- JetBlue launched the industry-leading Gateway Select program, the first of its kind competency-based pilot training program, giving participants the opportunity to become JetBlue pilots after completing a rigorous four-year training program that incorporates classroom learning, extensive real-world flying experience and instruction in full-flight simulators. The highly selective program is designed specifically for candidates without previous aviation training who demonstrate the most desired qualities in a pilot.
- With JetBlue Technology Ventures, JetBlue was the first to launch a corporate venture capital subsidiary in Silicon Valley backed by a U.S. airline. JetBlue Technology Ventures invests in, incubates and partners with early stage startups at the intersection of technology, travel and hospitality, and several start-ups identified have already been incorporated in JetBlue’s operation.
- JetBlue was the first airline to launch a foundation – the JetBlue Foundation – focused solely on supporting aviation and STEM education.
Beyond the 20th in 2020
JetBlue’s 20th birthday comes as it sets itself up for the next 20 years. With investments in the future of travel through its two subsidiaries – JetBlue Travel Products and JetBlue Technology Ventures – the company is bringing innovative products and services to the market inspired by the same mission that made the airline a beloved brand. Perhaps best known for bringing live TV to the skies in 2000, the airline also continues to raise the bar with a refresh of its fleet, new technology, and customer-friendly offerings that make its onboard experience the best of any U.S. airline:
- This month JetBlue takes delivery of its seventh Airbus A321neo aircraft, the newest aircraft type to join the fleet. The state-of-the-art aircraft features increased fuel efficiency, extended range and the very best in customer comfort.
- Later this year, another new aircraft type will join the JetBlue fleet with delivery of its first Airbus A220-300. The A220’s spacious and comfortable cabin makes it the perfect fit for JetBlue as a replacement for the Embraer 190. The A220’s range and seating capacity will add flexibility to JetBlue’s network and open the door to new markets and routes.
- Later this year JetBlue will also announce details regarding transatlantic service with flights to London set to launch in 2021. Growth into Europe is the next natural step in JetBlue’s focus city strategy, with London being the largest destination not served by JetBlue from both New York and Boston. As part of its transatlantic plans, JetBlue is developing a reimagined version of its Mint experience.
- With the restyling of the Airbus A320 – the backbone of JetBlue’s fleet – JetBlue is introducing a new era of comfort and connectivity to travelers, bringing to the skies the widest seats available for this aircraft.
In 2000, its DIRECTV® offering had 24 channels and a five-inch screen. Today, aircraft with the future JetBlue experience offer customers 100+ channels of live television and hundreds of free movies and shows, larger high-definition touch-screen displays, a personalized experience, expanded coverage of free Fly-Fi® broadband connectivity almost everywhere JetBlue flies, the ability to pair a mobile phone for the remote, and much more.
In January, JetBlue Travel Products, relaunched JetBlue Vacations, adding new benefits focused on giving customers the convenience and personalized service often missing from bundled vacation packages. New additions to the JetBlue Vacations portfolio include the Very Important Perks (VIP) and the Insider Experience programs, which infuse humanity into every step of the travel experience. Packages now also include additional benefits such as no JetBlue change fees, earlier boarding on flights, a free inflight alcoholic drink, and access to 24/7 support.
JetBlue plans to start flying the JKF-GEO-JFK route daily from April 2, 2020 using an Airbus A321 aircraft with seating capacity of 200 passengers.