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JetBlue Details Major West Coast Expansion

April 25, 2018
7 min read
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JetBlue, the New York-based low-cost carrier, is expanding its presence on the West Coast. The carrier has traditionally been focused on the East Coast (its two largest hubs are at New York-JFK and Boston), but it's now beefing up its presence on the West Coast in an attempt to better compete against the post-merger Alaska Airlines, which has combined with Virgin America and has a strong presence in the west.

As part of Wednesday's announcement, JetBlue is bringing a number of changes to its schedule for the rest of 2018. You can find each of the changes below. Note that with the exception of the Mint routes, all will be operated with the carrier's A320 aircraft:

New West Coast Cities

JetBlue is launching service to the following cities in 2018:

  • Ontario, California (ONT) — JetBlue previously served ONT between 2000 and 2008
  • Daily service to/from New York (JFK) beginning September 5:
  • B6 355 New York (JFK) 7:12pm Departure ⇒ Ontario (ONT) 10:39pm Arrival
  • B6 354 Ontario (ONT) 11:59pm Departure ⇒ New York (JFK) 8:24 (+1) Arrival
  • Steamboat Springs, Colorado (HDN)
  • 2x weekly (Wednesday and Saturday) service to/from Boston (BOS) beginning December 15:
  • B6 1227 Boston (BOS) 9:14am Departure ⇒ Steamboat/Hayden (HDN) 12:16pm Arrival
  • B6 1228 Steamboat/Hayden (HDN) 1:11pm Departure ⇒ Boston (BOS) 7:17pm Arrival
  • 1x weekly (Saturday) service to/from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) beginning December 15:
  • B6 45 Fort Lauderdale (FLL) 7:31am Departure ⇒ Steamboat/Hayden (HDN) 10:27am Arrival
  • B6 48 Steamboat/Hayden (HDN) 11:22am Departure ⇒ Fort Lauderdale (FLL) 5:20pm Arrival
  • 2x weekly (Wednesday and Saturday) service to/from Long Beach (LGB) beginning December 15:
  • B6 820 Long Beach (LGB) 11:14am Departure ⇒ Steamboat/Hayden (HDN) 2:15pm Arrival
  • B6 821 Steamboat/Hayden (HDN) 3:00pm Departure ⇒ Long Beach (LGB) 4:14pm Arrival
  • Bozeman, Montana (BZN)
  • 2x weekly (Thursday and Sunday) service to/from Long Beach (LGB) beginning December 13:
  • B6 10 Long Beach (LGB) 10:48am Departure ⇒ Bozeman (BZN) 2:27pm Arrival
  • B6 9 Bozeman (BZN) 3:12pm Departure ⇒ Long Beach (LGB) 4:51pm Arrival

Additions in California and Utah

JetBlue has operated at Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) since 2005, and it remains the only carrier to offer transcon service to the airport with its New York-JFK flights. Clearly, that route has been a success, as the airline announced Wednesday that it's going to add a second daily round-trip on the route. The added frequency will feature daylight travel times over the traditional redeye. Here are the two daily nonstops JetBlue will offer on the route, beginning September 5:

  • B6 2359 New York (JFK) 7:43am Departure ⇒ Burbank (BUR) 10:51am Arrival
  • B6 2358 Burbank (BUR) 11:41am Departure ⇒ New York (JFK) 8:05pm Arrival
  • B6 359 New York (JFK) 5:23pm Departure ⇒ Burbank (BUR) 8:39pm Arrival
  • B6 358 Burbank (BUR) 9:59pm Departure ⇒ New York (JFK) 6:26am (+1) Arrival

In addition to the additional frequency on the JFK route, it will add another daily transcon route to Boston (BOS), effective September 5. As of Wednesday, seats are on sale for the new route with fares starting at $139 one-way. Here's the schedule for that new route:

  • B6 2339 Boston (BOS) 3:28pm Departure ⇒ Burbank (BUR) 6:48pm Arrival
  • B6 2338 Burbank (BUR) 8:08pm Departure ⇒ Boston (BOS) 4:40am (+1) Arrival

That's not all that's in the pipeline for New Englanders, though. Also beginning September 5, JetBlue will add a second daily nonstop flight between BOS and Long Beach (LGB), which means there will be a daylight flight in both directions. Here's the schedule of the two daily BOS-LGB frequencies:

  • B6 2405 Boston (BOS) 9:16am Departure ⇒ Long Beach (LGB) 12:35pm Arrival
  • B6 2404 Long Beach (LGB) 9:58am Departure ⇒ Boston (BOS) 6:28pm Arrival
  • B6 405 Boston (BOS) 6:13pm Departure ⇒ Long Beach (LGB) 9:33pm Arrival
  • B6 504 Long Beach (LGB) 9:35pm Departure ⇒ Boston (BOS) 6:02am (+1) Arrival

Finally, JetBlue is adding a second daily frequency on its existing route between JFK and Salt Lake City (SLC). Effective September 5, the flights are scheduled as daylight flights in both directions, and will link JetBlue's nearly 2,500 customer support agents that are based in the Salt Lake City area to the airline's home base in NYC. Here are the schedules for both JFK-SLC frequencies:

  • B6 871 New York (JFK) 9:29am Departure ⇒ Sal Lake City (SLC) 12:57pm Arrival
  • B6 872 Salt Lake City (SLC) 2:00pm Departure ⇒ New York (JFK) 8:27pm Arrival
  • B6 71 New York (JFK) 7:07pm Departure ⇒ Salt Lake City (SLC) 10:28pm Arrival
  • B6 72 Salt Lake City (SLC) 11:18pm Departure ⇒ New York (JFK) 5:44am (+1) Arrival

Refining Long Beach (LGB) Ops

In addition to launching service to three new cities and adding frequencies in others, JetBlue is refining its Long Beach, California (LGB) schedule to "better meet the needs of the market." When the changes take effect on September 5, 2018, JetBlue will operate up to 23 daily flights from LGB.

Beginning September 5, the carrier will operate the following routes from LGB:

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  • Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) — 3x daily service
  • Oakland International Airport (OAK) — 2x daily service
  • Portland International Airport (PDX) — 1x daily service
  • Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) — up to 3x daily service
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO) — 2x daily service
  • San José International Airport (SJC) — 2x daily service
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) — 1x daily service

The changes detailed above do not count the current flights from LGB to New York (JFK), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Austin (AUS), Reno (RNO) and Sacramento (SMF), which will all remain the same.

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More Mint to Palm Springs

Last year, JetBlue flew its Mint-equipped A321s between New York (JFK) and Palm Springs (PSP) for a short period of time during the holiday season. The carrier said that it was an extremely successful service, and it's going to bring it back again this year around the same time. Specifically, you'll be able to fly a Mint-equipped A321 between JFK and PSP between December 20, 2018, and January 3, 2019 with the following schedule:

  • B6 149 New York (JFK) 9:25am Departure ⇒ Palm Springs (PSP) 12:39pm Arrival
  • B6 150 Palm Springs (PSP) 2:00pm Departure ⇒ New York (JFK) 10:04pm Arrival

Beginning October 10, JetBlue will resume operating its JFK-PSP route altogether — though with its non-Mint-equipped A320. It will initially operate with 4x weekly service before expanding to daily service in mid-December. Here's the schedule for the service:

  • B6 149 New York (JFK) 5:42pm Departure ⇒ Palm Springs (PSP) 8:55pm Arrival
  • B6 150 Palm Springs (PSP) 9:45pm Departure ⇒ New York (JFK) 5:40m (+1) Arrival

Bottom Line

With all of Wednesday's announced changes, it's clear that JetBlue has intentions to increase its presence and focus on the West Coast. The announcement come just one day after its main mid-size competitor, Alaska Airlines, officially merged with Virgin America. Prior to Alaska's acquisition, there were rumors that JetBlue was eyeing Virgin — a move that would have established a presence on both coasts. Since the deal didn't work out in JetBlue's favor, it looks like the airline is making moves of its own to cement its footprint in the region.

Featured image by Robert Alexander

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