The JetBlue-American Northeast Alliance has ruffled some feathers in the airline industry. However, the combined actions of the two airlines, plus reactions from competitors, are proving to be a boon for travelers going to or from the Northeastern US.
JetBlue and American are growing in the Northeast
Both JetBlue and American have announced new growth plans out of New York and Boston. For example, JetBlue will add flights to Vancouver, San Antonio, Kansas City, and San Pedro Sula, among others, through 2022. American Airlines, meanwhile, will be expanding internationally.
Recently, American inaugurated flights from New York to Tel Aviv, Bogota, and others. Upcoming this year will include flights to New Delhi, India; Athens, Greece; and Santiago, Chile. This means more options for New York-area travelers. Loyal JetBlue flyers can access new international destinations on American. In contrast, American flyers can catch a flight on JetBlue to cities American does not serve out of either New York or Boston.
American and JetBlue are also focused on improving the customer experience. American Airlines is upgrading all flights between Boston and Los Angeles to Airbus A321T services from November-onwards. This highly premium aircraft should do well on the market thanks to American’s partnership with JetBlue.
American Airlines will also be flying dual-class jets out of New York. It is ending 50-seater operations in New York, which will mean more capacity and more options for premium travelers.
Airlines are responding
One of the biggest responses has come from Delta Air Lines. Its position in both New York and Boston is severely threatened as a result of the American-JetBlue alliance. One of the most prominent examples is the New York to Los Angeles route.
Delta had previously flown its older Boeing 767-300ERs on the routes. Now, Delta is flying a mix of Boeing 767-400ERs and Boeing 767-300ERs on the route. The Boeing 767-400ERs offer a much better business class product, a premium economy product, and an improved economy product compared to the 767-300ERs.
Now, Delta is making another route upgrade. From July onwards, Delta Air Lines is upgrading flights from Boston to Los Angeles. Passengers will get a huge boost, going from four daily Boeing 737-800 services to four daily Boeing 757-200 services. The 757-200s operating the route will see lie-flat seats in the Delta One cabin, marking a vast improvement for premium passengers.
United Airlines has also entered the market between New York-JFK and coastal markets in San Francisco and Los Angeles. This heavily premium market is important for business travelers and touch United hubs. However, it flies from its Newark hub to both markets, wanted in out of JFK to cater to more passengers.
Limited low-cost expansion
The Northeastern Alliance between JetBlue and American has drawn the ire of low-cost carriers. Spirit and Southwest are unhappy with the alliance. Both carriers have faced barriers to expansion in both New York and Boston. The US government, thus far, has let the alliance proceed, though Spirit Airlines has some concerns about the two airlines cooperating more expansively outside of the Northeast.
Essentially, not only are JetBlue and American expanding and improving the travel experience out of both New York and Boston, but it is forcing competitors to do the same. As the airline industry rebounds and travel comes back, expect more airlines to improve or expand their services out of both regions to compete more forcefully against JetBlue and American.
Competition helps improve services and puts downward pressure on fares. Both of these are good news for travelers who are originating or terminating in the Northeast.
Do you think the JetBlue-American alliance is benefiting travelers? Let us know in the comments!