JetBlue Readies For Launch Of Disruptive Transatlantic Flights

Back in late May, US carrier officially announced what the aviation world had been anticipating for months: Its entry into the transatlantic market. Set to commence just a few days from now, on August 11th, the airline will start off with nonstop service between New York’s John F Kennedy (JFK) and London Heathrow (LHR). This will be bolstered by service to London Gatwick at the end of September. Here’s what you need to know about this service when it launches this Wednesday.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321-271NX N2043J
Flights to both Heathrow and Gatwick will operate daily on JetBlue’s new Airbus A321LR aircraft. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

“The pandemic has opened doors to London’s two busiest airports, and we look forward to bringing customers low fares and great service at both Heathrow and Gatwick,” – Robin Hayes, CEO, JetBlue

With the service set to begin shortly, let’s take a look at three factors: The flight schedule, the aircraft operating the service, and, since we’re still in the midst of a global health crisis, let’s also take a look at the travel requirements.

The flight schedule

JetBlue will start off with just one transatlantic service, flying between JFK and LHR. This will be a once-daily service with the following details. All times listed are local time:

  • JFK – LHR: Flight #007 (B67). Departs at 22:10, arrives at 10:10 the next morning for a total flight duration of seven hours.
  • LHR – JFK: Flight #20 (B620). Departs at 14:05, arrives at 17:28 for a total flight duration of eight hours and 23 minutes.

As we reported in July, the airline will scale back the frequency to four flights per week in September.

When serving London Heathrow, the airline will operate out of the airport’s Terminal 2 facility.

“Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world, and our initial schedule is made possible due to temporary slot availability from the past year. – Robin Hayes, CEO, JetBlue

The airline’s CEO adds that it will continue to work with the slot coordinators and the US and UK governments to “identify long-term pathways to continue serving Heathrow.”

Most of JetBlue’s operations are on the US East Coast. Photo: JetBlue

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The aircraft you’ll fly on

Flights for both Heathrow and Gatwick will operate daily on JetBlue’s new Airbus A321LRs, which are configured with 24 redesigned Mint suites and 114 core seats. These aircraft will also offer Airbus’ new Airspace cabin interior.

All of the A321LRs delivered to JetBlue in 2021 will be deployed on these transatlantic JFK routes. The airline also notes that additional A321LRs scheduled for delivery in 2022 will operate the airline’s Boston to London service.

Travel restrictions

As mentioned in the embedded JetBlue Twitter post above, fully vaccinated US-based travelers can enter the UK without having to quarantine.

The UK currently recognizes four COVID vaccines, which are as follows:

  • Moderna – two doses
  • Oxford/AstraZeneca – two doses
  • BioNTech (Pfizer) – two doses
  • Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) – one dose

Arriving in England, these are the pre-travel requirements according to the government’s website:

  • Have a negative test taken no more than three days before travel.
  • Book and pay for COVID-19 tests – to be taken after arrival in England
  • Complete a passenger locator form

These requirements are in place for both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated arrivals.

For travelers flying from the UK to the US, the CDC’s website notes that a negative test result is required, which should be taken no more than three days before the flight. Alternately, travelers can show documentation of recovery.

These testing hurdles, in addition to being a highly competitive route, might mean JetBlue’s A321LRs won’t be completely full. At least the savings on JetBlue’s fares might help pay for these tests, making the process a little easier on the wallet.

Do you have plans to fly with the airline transatlantic? Let us know in the comments.