JetBlue has indicated in a filing to the Federal Aviation Administration that it will start to fit four “mini-suites” on some of its fleet of Airbus A321s. The story has run in a number of industry publications including Aviation Week. The A321 is operated on a number of trans-continental routes.
Airbus has made that submission for an exemption to the FAA for JetBlue to allow “non-standard” seating. The filing proposes 143 coach-class and 16 business-class seats. Of these 16 seats in business four would be converted into the “mini suites.”
If the filing is approved JetBlue could start to offer the service on its trans-continental routes in early 2014. JetBlue would join other airlines on the cross-country route operating business and “mini-suites” options, who’ve already received FAA exemptions.
JetBlue has targeted the lower end of the market since its launch in 2000 and currently offers only one class of travel. It does offer a number of “even more space” seats with more leg room but is not currently in direct competition with the bigger carriers on the lucrative trans-continental routes.
This development would appear to change that, at least for cross-county flights. This year has already seen American, United and Delta offering full lie-flat seats on some of their trans-continental routes.
The filing with the FAA describes a mini-suite that contains a seat with what is described as “surrounding furniture” to screen the occupant. It is accompanied by a sliding door that is accessed from the aisle. This development would appear to be a step above what the big four are currently offering on similar routes – albeit only for a small number of flyers.
JetBlue made the following statement, confirming the development and suggesting they do indeed have the big airlines in their sights:
“Thirteen years ago JetBlue revolutionized the economy experience and we will do the same with premium transcon. Our new onboard experience will enable us to compete with other airlines’ premium transcon products. While the FAA filing from Airbus contains the technical specifications as part of the certification process, it also includes all of the details of the branding and full experience.”
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Tags: Airlines news, Business travel, JetBlue