Remember the good ol’ days of air travel with sub-$300 flights across the pond? The days when you could smoke a cigar in first class and passengers were free to wear a sidearm on their hip? We’re talking about the heyday of dirt-cheap budget international airfare that ended around 10 years ago. Thanks to a recent announcement from JetBlue, those days — well, those prices — could soon be coming back.
The short version is that JetBlue will begin daily roundtrip flights into London from Boston and New York in 2021. The rumors have finally been confirmed, and the English capital will mark the carrier’s first foray into Europe. Considering its wild popularity here in The States, it’s easy to imagine the airline will see similar success across the pond. If so, it’s likely they’ll expand into other European cities. The fact that it’s already upgrading some new Airbus orders to long-range versions to fly to new destinations that weren’t “previously accessible” further hints at that possibility.
JetBlue has long been our favorite domestic carrier here at The Manual and a favorite of many other air travelers in the U.S. as well. It routinely ranks among the top three U.S. airlines in almost every reader’s choice survey that matters. At a time when most airlines are cutting back on everything from legroom to bottled water to free carry-on bags, JetBlue has bucked the trend. While continually boasting some of the lowest airfares in the country, it simultaneously offers some of the best amenities. Every seat back has a TV and passengers enjoy the most legroom of any U.S. airline. Even the pretzels, chips, and soda are still free.
London passengers looking to upgrade their transatlantic experience can also take advantage of Mint, JetBlue’s flagship cabin experience. That means more lie-flat seats, free top-shelf booze, artisanal food, great in-flight entertainment, and an optional door for extra privacy in their suite.
Even Economy passengers can likely expect a far better flying experience than what’s currently available from legacy carriers like American, United, and Delta. Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue’s president, has publicly shamed the company’s competitors for “mediocre service,” adding that it plans to “raise the bar on what travelers can expect from a low-cost carrier.”