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JetBlue formally unveiled its first refurbished A320 on Wednesday, as it officially entered service for the first time on the same day. The aircraft — registration N646JB and named “Bravo Lime Uniform Echo” (all JetBlue planes have a blue-inspired name) — operated its first scheduled flight on Wednesday between Boston (BOS) and Bermuda (BDA).
Since launching as an airline in 2000, JetBlue’s A320 refurbishment is the first major overhaul of its fleet. While the interior of the cabin is more in-line with JetBlue’s offering on its newer Mint-equipped A321s, passengers will find that the seats are a tighter squeeze. While JetBlue is increasing the number of seats on its A320s, it’s still able to keep its “Most Legroom in Coach” catchphrase, as with each phase of the restyle, passengers will still get at least 32 inches of pitch.
JetBlue’s old A320s feature a total of 150 seats — with those in traditional economy offering 34 inches of pitch, which is a generous offering, compared to its domestic competitors. With the restyling, JetBlue will add an additional 12 seats, totaling 162. In order to accommodate the additional seats, JetBlue will decrease seat pitch to 32 inches, which is still more than can be expected with its competition that have an average of about 30 to 31 inches. Even More Space seats in both phases will offer 35 inches of pitch. JetBlue is also relocating two lavatories and installing a new galley in order to accommodate the new seats.
At the focus of this refresh for JetBlue is allowing passengers to remain connected while traveling. Inside the refurbished A320s, you’ll find a new in-flight entertainment system, featuring a high-definition seatback screen, in-seat power outlets with USB ports and gate-to-gate Fly-Fi — free, as it is on other JetBlue Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft — mood lighting, updated seats, larger overhead bins and more.
In all, there will be two phases to this fleet-wide A320 refurbishment.
The first, which includes N646JB that entered service on Wednesday, features an interior modeled after its A321s — a familiar look for frequent JetBlue flyers. For the next nine months, JetBlue’s A320s will be restyled with Rockwell Collins Pinnacle seats, as well as LiveTV 4 entertainment options, which you’ll also find on the carrier’s A321.
As part of Phase 1, you’ll get a larger, 10.1-inch seatback entertainment screen at every seat. The system is equipped with more than 100 channels of live TV, which the carrier also offers on its A321s. Plus, you’ll have access to complimentary on-demand content.
Each of the seats will have two power options — a standard plug and USB outlet. With the Rockwell Collins Pinnacle seats, you’ll also get an adjustable headrest.
Not only will the seats look more updated and modern, but the cabin interior itself offers a much-refreshed look. There’s LED moodlighting throughout the cabin, as well as new, larger overhead bins, sidewalls and carpets.
Then, in early 2019, JetBlue will transition to refreshing its A320s with a Rockwell Collins Meridian seat and Thales AVANT and ViaSat-2 entertainment products. The Rockwell Collins Meridian seat on its A320s will give each passenger the same 32 inches of pitch in economy (35 inches in Even More Space), but also an additional inch of “living space,” likely due to thinner seats and other features.
In all, the Rockwell Collins Meridian seat offers the widest economy seat in the A320 market — at 18.4 inches.
Each passenger will get their own 10.1-inch seatback entertainment screen, which is touchscreen. You’ll have access to the same content as previous systems — 100+ channels of live TV and free on-demand content. However, you will be able to personalize the system by using your personal device as a remote, as well as new content like gaming, podcasts, audiobooks and more. The power outlet — both the standard plug and USB — face the passenger, so they’re easier to access than those located under the seat.
In addition, these seats will offer adjustable headrests and enhanced cushion comfort. On the seatback, you’ll get an elastic stowage device — a spot to put both your personal items and a separate pocket for a water bottle. There will also be a traditional pocket for some larger items.
Overall, JetBlue expects to complete about 12 A320 restyles (Phase 1) by the end of 2018. The carrier’s A320 classics will be restyled first. The overall timeline for the A320 fleet refresh is expected to take approximately three years to complete.
As mentioned, N646JB is en route from Boston (BOS) to Bermuda (BDA) on Wednesday afternoon. According to Flight Aware, it will fly from Palm Beach (PBI) to Boston (BOS) on Wednesday night.
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