JetBlue is finally ready to cross the Atlantic. After years of planning seats are now on sale for the company’s flights between the US and London, though no official word from the company announcing the plans. The inaugural flight departs JFK for London Heathrow on 11 August 2021.
A second London flight will launch at the end of September, connecting JFK to London’s Gatwick airport. It seems that, when deciding which of the two major London airports to serve, the carrier simply chose both.
Boston flights, previously also expected for late summer/early autumn service, now expect to launch in 2022 as additional A321LR deliveries occur.
JetBlue Flight Times to London
The published flight times offer a late departure from JFK to Heathrow, departing just before 10pm and arriving after 10am the following morning. The plane appears to sit in London for eight hours, with the return departure scheduled for 6:10pm westbound, landing at JFK at 9:35pm. These flight times necessitate two aircraft to offer daily service, far less than ideal from a fleet utilization perspective.
It also means almost no onward connections are available to US-bound travelers. That may be less of an issue, however, as the company is mostly targeting non-stop travelers on the London route. The flight times allow for a full day of work in New York or most of a day in London before crossing the Pond.
JetBlue also acknowledges that the Heathrow slots are only temporary. CEO Robin Hayes notes that the carrier only gained access because of “temporary slot availability from the past year.”
Hayes also says the airline will “continue to work with the slot coordinators and the U.S. and U.K. governments to identify long-term pathways to continue serving Heathrow, as we believe the public benefit from true competition into this market will be extremely meaningful.”
Put another way, the Heathrow schedule for flights after October 30, 2021 should be seen as soft and likely to change.
The Gatwick flight departs JFK at 7:48pm, arriving in London just before 8a the following day. The return flight leaves Gatwick at noon, arriving in New York at 3:33 or 3:43, depending on the day of the week. This timing is far better suited to connections and a better aircraft utilization plan.
The company believes diversity of airport options in London is good for its long-term growth plans across the Atlantic:
With the ability to access slots at both Heathrow and Gatwick, JetBlue is delivering on its commitment to serve multiple London airports and give customers greater choice between the two. Additionally, the airline can immediately begin growing a meaningful transatlantic customer base with diversified flying at two London airports. This strategy is consistent with JetBlue’s successful multi-airport approaches in New York, Los Angeles, South Florida and other metropolitan regions of the airline’s U.S. network.
The strategy also helps ensure that it can maintain a continuing operation at LGW if the LHR slots, currently held via a waiver program tied to COVID-related service cuts, disappear.
Priced to play
The Mint “Studio” suite in row one is priced as low as $129 over the regular Mint fares. And the business class prices are very reasonable to start.
Round trip Mint fares under $1400 from London have been spotted in the wild. I was able to book an $800 seat departing JFK as part of a round trip, mixed cabin itinerary with a Saturday night stay.
More about the JetBlue London offerings:
- JetBlue boosts coach experience for London service
- JetBlue unveils Mint 2.0, business class cabin for London
- JetBlue makes its London plans official
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