Remember when jetBlue announced it would take out a row of seats, primarily to save on labor costs, but simultaneously adding a few inches of legroom? I noted at the time that the front of the plane was getting the bulk of the benefit. More room than the back, plus easier boarding and exiting (at least at airports where the airline didn’t use the air-stairs.)
I predicted then that jetBlue would “eventually start charging a premium for the seats in rows 1 through 11.”
Looks like my prediction was right:
JetBlue is working on a plan to reserve some of it roomiest seats for higher-paying passengers after it completes the reconfiguration of all of its A320 aircraft next month.
[CEO David] Neeleman said JetBlue management is convinced some of the public’s highest-paying travelers don’t fly JetBlue today because it doesn’t provide a first class section or a way to get the better seats at the last minute. Neeleman said the airline is working on a program to make up for that.
“To the extent we hold out a few of the 36-inch seats for the highest-paying customers, that’s probably the smart thing to do,” he said. But Neeleman added, with 34 inches of pitch for the rest of the seats, he’s not worried other customers will feel short-changed.
It may not be a full-fledged first class cabin, but the front of the plane is now effectively premium economy. You can’t pre-reserve seats there on a cheapo ticket. Unlike United’s Economy Plus, which is reserved for United elites until the day of the flight, jetBlue’s system doesn’t rely on status.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but face it, the days of egalitarianism at jetBlue are over. JetBlue is becoming a more “normal” airline every day.