The budget airline will begin operating three daily nonstop flights between Minneapolis-St. Paul International and Boston's Logan International in May, it recently announced. It's the new kid in the MSP neighborhood.
As with many budding relationships, hopeful anticipation prevails — on both sides. The airline likes this market's robust business community. What is there for us to like about it? That's subjective, but this primer on flying JetBlue can offer clues.
Basics: The New York-based airline offers service to more than 100 cities in the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America. J.F.K. International is its main hub, though it also maintains bases for crews in Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Boston and Long Beach, Calif. JetBlue is the nation's sixth-largest airline. At MSP, it will operate out of Terminal 2, flying Airbus A320 aircraft.
The flying experience: The airline gets good marks for legroom; average pitch between seats is 32 inches. Its A320s have seats in 27 rows; every seat is outfitted with a TV that can access 36 DirecTV stations, including Comedy Central and Fox Sports 1. Passengers also get free high-speed, gate-to-gate Wi-Fi with access to entertainment content from partners such as Amazon. Among its free food: Terra chips, Cheez-It crackers and Dunkin' Donuts coffee.
Fare classes: JetBlue offers several fare options on its A321s: Blue, Blue Plus and Blue Flex. Blue is the basic fare with few perks, except those noted above for all passengers, and includes no free checked bags. Blue Plus allows for one free checked bag; Blue Flex gets you two. With Blue Flex, cancellations and changes incur no fee. The airline also has a premium class, Mint, with lie-flat beds, free meals and other goodies; this option is available only on long-haul flights, including from Boston to some Caribbean destinations. The airline also offers Even More Space seats, with extra legroom, plus early boarding.
Frequent-flier program: JetBlue's frequent-flier program is called TrueBlue. Members earn three points per dollar spent, with bonus points for booking online (three per dollar for Blue and Mint fares; four for Blue Plus, and five for Blue Flex). Why join when the airline offers flights only to Boston? The points never expire. And with Orlando and Fort Lauderdale in the airline's orbit, maybe its MSP routes will expand.
Ratings: Skytrax, which reviews and rates airlines, gives JetBlue 4 stars (out of 5 possible); Southwest, Delta and United all get 3. The airline came in second, behind Southwest, in the low-cost category of J.D. Power's 2017 North America Airline Satisfaction Survey.
Fun fact: Remember Delta's Song and United's Ted? These short-lived budget spinoffs of the major airlines came about, at least in part, because of JetBlue's relative success.
Kerri Westenberg • 612-673-4282