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TravelJetBlue adds Caribbean and Mint service, but cuts slew of routes in...

JetBlue adds Caribbean and Mint service, but cuts slew of routes in network shakeup


JetBlue is doubling down on Puerto Rico, slashing service from New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA), scaling back its winter Europe offerings, and deploying more of its Mint-equipped jets throughout North America.

It’s all part of a major network shake-up announced Wednesday by the New York-based carrier — one that will also see JetBlue pull out of a popular Mexico market entirely.

These “significant network enhancements” JetBlue laid out will see the carrier add six new destinations from Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) in San Juan, Puerto Rico — including new nonstops to the East Coast and others to Mexico, the Caribbean and South America.

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At the same time, the airline is cutting seven routes, and eliminating all winter flying to London Gatwick Airport (LGW).

SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

The move comes amid a series of changes at JetBlue designed to get the airline back to profitability.

New routes from San Juan

As part of the changes unveiled Wednesday, JetBlue will launch six new routes from San Juan: two to the Northeast, two to the Caribbean, one to Mexico and another to South America.

Route Launches Frequency
SJU to Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport (PVD) in Providence, Rhode Island Oct. 27 Daily
SJU to Westchester County Airport (HPN) in New York Oct. 27 Daily
SJU to Cibao International Airport (STI) in Santiago, Dominican Republic Oct. 28 Daily
SJU to Jose Maria Cordova International Airport (MDE) in Medellin, Colombia Oct. 29 Four weekly round trips
SJU to Cancun International Airport (CUN) Oct. 28 Three weekly round trips
SJU to Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX) in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands Dec. 12 Daily

Among those new routes, JetBlue’s San Juan service to St. Croix will give the carrier a new destination in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Once each of these fall routes launch, JetBlue will serve 18 destinations from Puerto Rico, the carrier noted Wednesday — including an average 40 daily departures from San Juan.

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That includes the sizable scale-up from the island’s largest airport to destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean, as shown in red (complementing existing routes in the region in blue) on the below map from aviation analytics firm Cirium.

CIRIUM

“JetBlue has been a proud part of the Puerto Rican community for over twenty years, and we’re excited to deepen our roots with this expansion,” JetBlue President Marty St. George said in a statement announcing the news.

Additional Caribbean nonstops

On top of its expansion in San Juan, JetBlue also signaled plans to fly to two more entirely new cities in the Caribbean — both from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

The carrier is planning a new JFK nonstop to Argyle International Airport (SVD) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines … and another to Flamingo International Airport (BON) in Bonaire, an island east of Curacao. Dates and frequencies on those routes are still pending.

Doubling down on leisure

These new Caribbean and Latin America routes come as JetBlue leaders have emphasized leisure travel in recent months, amid efforts to get the airline back to profitability.

“We’re definitely known for leisure, we’re born to do leisure, so continuing to redouble around our leisure core, and what that brings,” CEO Joanna Geraghty said of the airline’s future plans, speaking to me in a March interview prior to JetBlue’s inaugural flight to Dublin.

“I think we have a lot of core inherent strengths that we can really look to take advantage of,” Geraghty added at the time.

Significant route cuts planned

It’s not all good news for JetBlue flyers.

As part of Wednesday’s network shake-up, the carrier announced a slew of route cuts, service reductions and one complete market pullout.

SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

Scaling back winter Europe service

Recent years have seen JetBlue quickly scale up its transatlantic presence, with new flights to London, Paris, Amsterdam and Dublin — and another seasonal route launch to Edinburgh planned for later this month.

Beginning Oct. 27, though, JetBlue will halt its service from Boston and New York to London’s Gatwick for the winter season. (It’s worth noting that the carrier will still serve London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) from both Northeast cities.)

JetBlue’s August 2022 inaugural flight to London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW). SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

Also on Oct. 27, JetBlue will reduce its JFK service to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) to just one daily frequency for the winter season.

This seasonal trimming of JetBlue’s Europe schedule comes months after Geraghty signaled a tapping of the brakes, of sorts, with respect to JetBlue’s transatlantic plans.

“I think we’re going to be far more opportunistic in what we’re doing,” she said of potential future growth in Europe, while speaking at an industry conference in March.

This move would seem to go a step further, in actually reducing JetBlue’s capacity over the Atlantic.

Cutting service from LaGuardia

Terminal B at New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA). SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

JetBlue is also trimming its schedule, particularly at LaGuardia.

Effective Oct. 27, the carrier will cut four routes from the New York airport:

  • LGA to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • LGA to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)
  • LGA to Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) in Nassau, Bahamas
  • LGA to Fort Myers’ Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW)

And it will reduce frequency on three additional routes between its focus cities:

  • LGA to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • LGA to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
  • LGA to Orlando International Airport (MCO)

JetBlue largely attributed these route cuts at LaGuardia to a changing landscape for the carrier after a federal judge last year struck down its Northeast Alliance with American Airlines, which had previously prompted the carrier to increase its capacity at LaGuardia.

Even prior to these cuts, JetBlue’s 2024 seats from LaGuardia were set to drop some 30% over last year, per Cirium. That’s after its 2023 LaGuardia seats were up 178% over 2019, before the NEA began.

Additional reductions

JetBlue is also ending three additional routes.

It will drop all service to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on June 12. And it will continue its scale-back at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Oct. 27, ending LAX nonstops to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Orlando.

Mint redeployed to 6 new routes

There is a bit of good news for travelers who frequently fly JetBlue within the U.S. and on other transcontinental and short-haul routes.

The airline is bringing its Mint service to several routes, including the cabin’s lie-flat seats and impressive dining options that this week landed the airline the second spot in J.D. Power’s 2024 airline service rankings among first- and business-class travelers.

New route with Mint Launch date Frequency
JFK-SJU July 22 Daily
JFK to Vancouver International Airport (YVR) July 21 Daily
FLL to Las Vegas’ Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) Oct. 27 Twice daily, winter seasonal
FLL to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) Oct. 27 Daily, winter seasonal
BOS-PHX Oct. 27 Twice daily, winter seasonal
JFK-PHX Oct. 27 Twice daily, winter seasonal

JetBlue was surely able to bring Mint to new cities thanks to some of the domestic capacity cuts, and the fact that it won’t be flying its Airbus A321LR jets to Europe with as much frequency this winter as previously planned.

A JetBlue Mint suite on an Airbus A321LR aircraft. SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

What these changes mean

These far-reaching network changes unveiled by JetBlue follow additional changes the airline has taken in recent months in hopes of reaching profitability.

Prior changes included another network shake-up announced earlier this year, which included a scaling back of its offerings out of LAX.

The airline also hiked checked bag fees not once but twice, more recently introducing dynamic pricing for bags that could see prices as high as $70 in some situations.

“We’ve taken significant steps to rebalance our network,” Geraghty told analysts on the carrier’s earnings call last month.

“And we expect to continue implementing additional tranches in the coming weeks and months,” she said, seemingly forecasting Wednesday’s changes — and perhaps leaving the door open to more future adjustments.

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