Well this is interesting. JetBlue has recently announced plans for expansion out of Hartford's Bradley International Airport. The 4 new routes will compliment B6's 6 preexisting routes to Florida and Puerto Rico.
JetBlue Launching Transcon Flights Out of Hartford
JetBlue has announced the following expansion out of Hartford (BDL):
Las Vegas (LAS)
Los Angeles (LAX)
San Francisco (SFO)
Service to Cancun will Start November 19th while service to the West Coast destinations will start a month later on December 18th. It is currently unknown what aircraft will be used on these on these routes, but many speculate it will be operated by a mix of Airbus A320 and A321s. If A321s are indeed used on the longer routes, Premium travelers from the 959 will be in for a treat for JetBlue's Mint Class, so far the only cabin that features lie flat seats and sliding doors on a narrow-body aircraft in the United States.
JetBlue has been expanding like crazy despite the ongoing global pandemic. Some of there newer routes are questionable but most of them are following a similar strategy: Bring more leisure destinations to more cities. Connecticuters will enjoy the access to be able to fly more directly to tourist locations instead of making stop-overs at large Airline Hubs like Chicago, Atlanta, etc. or having to travel extra hours to Boston or New York to fly direct.
Personally I love and question some of these routes. I think the greatest beneficiary of these new routes will be the People of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts, not necessarily the people on the other end of the routes, which means the load factors on the return flights could be pretty low. Flights to Cancun and Vegas should be somewhat well as those routes do well for other airlines, Southwest had varying degrees of success with a LAS-BDL flight, so that should do nicely, and most flights out of Cancun do well. The West Coast is a bit iffy, especially San Francisco. LAX could be useful as they get another direct Northeastern flight and JetBlue has recently moved their hub to LAX from Long Beach. SFO on the other hand could be very tricky for JetBlue. They've announced flights from SFO to Newark and Cancun before, but does JetBlue actually think they can compete with United on those routes? They showed more thought in the BDL-SFO route since United doesn't operate that route anymore, however, United doesn't really like other airlines flying routes they operate and they have a habit of interrupting other airlines' expansion plans by launching similar ones. United did operate a SFO-BDL route at one point but it was dropped, which says something about a lack of demand.
Its nice to JetBlue growing more and trying to establish itself as a major carrier. They are making strides to compete with the USA's big 3, United, American, and Delta. However, if they really want to establish themselves as a truly competitive airline, once the pandemic ends, they need to start producing results. Its also worth noting JetBlue may not be entirely done yet with expansion, as there have been rumors floating around of a potential Jacksonville expansion, but we will see. What are your thoughts on JetBlue's recent expansions?
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