JetBlue announced on Tuesday that it expects its first Airbus A321LR to arrive at the carrier on Wednesday, April 28th. As the airline gears up for a summer London launch, having the aircraft to run the flights is an exciting development that foretells a launch announcement. The long-range narrowbody will come equipped with a large business class cabin featuring the airline’s latest Mint suite product.
JetBlue’s first Airbus A321LR due tomorrow
The first Airbus A321LR for JetBlue is scheduled to be delivered on Wednesday. Speaking on the airline’s first-quarter earnings call on Tuesday, CEO Robin Hayes stated the following:
“We are thrilled that our first A220 entered into service yesterday. We’ve also started selling transcon flights on our first A321neo low density aircraft, and tomorrow we expect to take delivery of our first, A321 long range aircraft [A321LR]. Both aircraft types are equipped with our incredible next generation Mint cabin.”
JetBlue has big plans for the Airbus A321LR. It will use the jets on its first forays into Europe, with the first destination highlighted as London. As the carrier takes more A321LRs, and later A321XLRs, it will expand its portfolio to include more destinations in Europe.
JetBlue plans on taking two Airbus A321LRs during the second quarter. Targeting a late-summer launch, the first delivery will put the airline on track to have enough planes to run initial flights from both Boston and New York to London. As it takes more jets, it will be able to offer more frequencies on both routes.
Delivery dates can slip. By nature, aircraft deliveries are fluid, and various factors could lead the jet’s arrival to slip by a day or two. Nevertheless, JetBlue is getting so much closer to flying an Airbus A321LR to London.
An imminent London launch
JetBlue has not announced flights to London yet, but it is widely expected to do so soon. The latest news appears to be that the carrier has secured slots at both London Heathrow (LHR) and London Gatwick (LGW), two major London-area airports. JetBlue has been consistent that it could operate at multiple airports in London and has repeatedly stated it has a path to multiple airports.
Mr. Hayes did not have too much to say on the timing of the announcement, saying the following on the earnings call:
“We will soon announce our inaugural flight to London, bringing both our award winning Mint and Core products and low fares to the transatlantic market starting later this summer.”
Mr. Hayes later cited the vaccine rollout in the UK as a sign that the country may open up for travel later this year.
What to expect on London flights
JetBlue is bringing its best product and inflight offering on flights to London. One of the biggest changes is the business class cabin. With room for 24 passengers up front, the large Mint cabin will include suites with doors in a herringbone configuration. All seats will be lie-flat and include a 17-inch Thales AVANT seatback screen, wireless charging capabilities, a phone ledge, and power access.
The seat itself is the Thompson Aero Seating’s VantageSOLO seat. This product was designed specifically for narrowbody lie-flat business class, and JetBlue is the first airline to put the product on a plane. The two seats at the front of the cabin are called “Mint Studios” These seats feature extra space with a larger 22-inch screen, an extra side table, and a guest seat that can accommodate an additional Mint customer during cruising altitude. The bed is also larger in this cabin.
JetBlue is also making improvements in economy class. The carrier will offer a build-your-own meal service for the 114 economy class passengers on the aircraft. Passengers will have the option of choosing one of three main meal selections and two out of three hot and chilled side options.
Passengers can also delight in an onboard pantry with a self-serve grab-and-go snack basket. There will also be a complimentary soft drink, coffee, tea, beer, wine, and liquor service on the flights to London. JetBlue plans on offering passengers a post-meal dessert and a “light bite” before arrival.
With the first A321LR delivery expected tomorrow, JetBlue is gearing up to fly to London.
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