JetBlue considering a first class cabin

A couple weeks ago during our tour of the new JFK Terminal 5 with JetBlue I asked the marketing and TrueBlue folks there if a bigger seat option (i.e. first class cabin) was on the drawing board.  I was almost laughed out of the room.  They made it pretty clear that they are very unlikely to remove seats from the planes because they don’t think that the yields are there on the larger seats to justify removing any from the cabin.

But today JetBlue CEO Dave Barger was quoted as saying, “Everything is on the table,” so they certainly seem to be considering it.  The carrier recently reconfigured their planes to add a few rows of 38” pitch and call it Even More Legroom (“EML”).  If they put in the wider seats to allow for Even More Butt Room (“EMBR”) seating then they’re almost certainly going to have to remove some seats or dramatically scale back on the EML seating area in the planes.  They pretty much need to add an extra row of seats to keep the number of seats on their planes level at 150 and also add EMBR seats.  To find 32” of space in the plane likely means further reducing the pitch available in the existing “normal” seats on their planes.  Even just getting rid of EML seats completely would only recover ~20” of pitch on the plane, some of which would still be needed by the EMBR seats, assuming EMBR includes EML, too.

So it might be on the table, but unless they can charge enough to cover the loss of 6 seats on the plane with the 12 first class seats (or cover losing 4 with 8 F seats) the chances of EMBR seem to be pretty low to me.  It would also take away for their egalitarian marketing shtick, though the EML seats are moving in that direction a bit anyway.  On the plus side, I got to coin a new acronym, so I’m pretty happy with that.  More discussion here as well.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.