- JetBlue is a boutique US airline that incorporates elements from both full-service and low-cost carriers.
- I recently flew JetBlue for the first time from New York to Seattle.
- JetBlue’s in-flight experience lived up to its billing as a service-oriented airline.
Since its founding in 1999, JetBlue has been one of America’s favorite airlines. As an aviation journalist, I’ve spent the past few years covering JetBlue as a business, but I haven’t actually had the chance to experience its service. Chalk it up to spending most of my life living in the shadows of Delta and United Airlines fortress hubs; Atlanta and Newark.
That all changed in October when I went on a business trip to Seattle, Washington and used it as an opportunity to finally fly JetBlue.
As an airline, JetBlue occupies a unique place in the US airline market. On one hand, you have full-service legacy carriers like American, Delta, and United. On the other hand, there are low-cost carriers like Southwest or even ultra-low-cost carriers like Spirit and Frontier.
JetBlue occupies a space somewhere between the legacy carriers and low-cost Southwest. It’s a tweener with elements taken both from full-service as well as low-cost airlines. For instance, JetBlue operates mainly point-to-point service like low-cost carriers while the legacy airlines use a hub and spoke model. But unlike low-cost airlines, JetBlue’s aircraft are stylishly appointed with some planes even equipped with a luxurious Mint premium cabin.
As a result, the New York-based airline is generally referred to as a boutique carrier.
But back to my experience onboard JetBlue. Here’s a closer look at my flight to Seattle.
My journey started with a trip from my home in northern New Jersey to JetBlue’s base at JFK Terminal 5. Getting off the AirTrain, I was greeted by this sign and some digital kiosks.
JetBlue’s terminal sits on real estate once occupied by TWA’s iconic Flight Center. The remnants of that facility are being converted over to a luxury hotel.
At the terminal, the first thing I encountered was the check-in kiosks.
Passengers are directed to the digital kiosks for check-in or to print out checked baggage tags. Since my boarding pass was stored on my iPhone, all I needed was a baggage tag. The airline had several employees on hand to assist anyone struggling with the kiosks.
With my checked baggage tag applied, I simply walked over to the handful of luggage conveyor belts where another employee scanned my bag and boarding pass using a handheld device. With my bags dropped off, all I had to do was go through the TSA checkpoint and then onto my gate.
Overall, JetBlue’s check-in process is simple, efficient, and highly intuitive even for infrequent flyers.