Skip to content

‘We thrived’: JetBlue’s president reflects on history of the airline, promise of Northeast Alliance

Nov. 19, 2021
4 min read
‘We thrived’: JetBlue’s president reflects on history of the airline, promise of Northeast Alliance
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Lost in the craziness that was 2020 was a very important milestone for JetBlue Airways.

The New York-based carrier turned 20 on Feb. 11, 2020, just 15 days before JetBlue would become the first U.S. carrier to temporarily suspend all change and cancellation fees due to the emerging pandemic.

Speaking about JetBlue’s legacy, Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer, succinctly summed up JetBlue’s first two decades as “we not only survived. We thrived.”

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

Geraghty was addressing a room full of roughly 250 well-dressed aviation executives, bigwigs and other industry dignitaries at the monthly Wing’s Club luncheon on Thursday at the Yale Club in Midtown Manhattan.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

JetBlue, the sixth-largest carrier in the U.S. now accounts for just 5% of seats available in the domestic market, said Geraghty.

She explained several of the airline’s major milestones in its 20-year history, including the introduction of one of the most comfortable domestic coach and Mint business-class products, as well as the fact that the airline has never furloughed or sent a furlough warning to any crew member, pandemic included.

While she spent roughly six minutes outlining the JetBlue story to date, Geraghty quickly turned to the carrier’s future.

And front and center to the airline’s next phase of growth is the new Northeast Alliance with American Airlines. (Perhaps it was meant to be that Elise Eberwein, the current president of the Wing’s Club and the executive vice president of people and communications at American, had introduced Geraghty to the podium.)

American and JetBlue partnered up in July 2020, as part of the Northeast Alliance, to become a formidable competitor against Delta and United, two of the largest carriers in Boston and New York.

“When all is said and done, the Northeast Alliance will account for roughly 70% of the JetBlue network,” Geraghty said

This includes the 58 new routes and 130 routes with increased frequencies that have been unveiled to date as part of the partnership.

In fact, the two carriers will operate 500 daily flights from New York City’s three major airports this winter — half of which will be flown by JetBlue.

And it’s not just about more choice for flyers headed to or from the Northeast. JetBlue is hiring more than 1,800 new crewmembers to directly support growth from the Northeast Alliance, according to Geraghty, “jobs that would not otherwise be created.”

While Geraghty received a round of applause during the celebratory luncheon in the 18th-floor ballroom, it hasn’t only been smooth sailing for the Northeast Alliance.

In September, the Department of Justice filed a suit against the alliance, alleging that it violates anti-trust regulations. The alliance had received approval in the last days of the Trump Administration after the airlines agreed to forfeit several slots in New York and Washington and to avoid coordinating fares or revenue management.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Geraghty didn’t appear to be phased by the regulatory challenges. Though she didn’t explicitly mention the suit, it was clear that in Geraghty’s mind that the benefits of the pact far outweigh any possible challenges.

“The alliance is supercharging competition, provoking a competitive response from entrenched legacy carriers, and ultimately benefitting consumers with more flights at lower fares,” she added. (Both Delta and United have added Northeast routes since the pact went into effect.)

Perhaps most interestingly, Geraghty’s remarks come just days after American made sweeping network cuts in the New York area. This weekend, the carrier filed plans to pull out of 18 routes from New York, leaving eight cities unserved under the Northeast Alliance.

Geraghty didn’t address these cuts, but she left the attendees with an optimistic message.

“We are very much still in the ramp-up phase,” Geraghty said, referring to additional growth still to come in the Northeast Alliance.

We don’t yet have the details, but it likely won’t be much longer until we learn about another round of expansion under the Northeast Alliance. After all, JetBlue is going all-in on the partnership, with an overwhelming majority of its network soon to be dedicated to the pact.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases