Air Travel: JetBlue’s Fleet Upgrade, New Osaka Flight

Photo by Business Wire

JetBlue’s big fleet upgrade leads this week’s air travel news. 

This week JetBlue announced that it has ordered 60 Airbus A220-300 aircraft (previously called the Bombardier CS300) for delivery beginning in 2020 as a core component of its fleet upgrade plan. The order also allows an option for 60 additional aircraft beginning in 2025, and it converts its order for 25 A320neos to the A321neo, as well as adjusting the delivery schedule. The A220’s cabin has wider seats, larger overhead bins and larger windows, JetBlue said, as well as approximately 40 percent lower fuel burn per seat than the airline’s current E190 fleet. Other perks include reduced noise and emissions. 

The new aircraft will be phased in to replace the older E190s, and JetBlue said it plans to use the A220’s additional range and seating capacity to drive growth in its focus cities, including options to schedule it for transcontinental flying. The aircraft also opens the door to new markets and roues that would have been unprofitable with JetBlue’s existing fleet, the airline said, although there was no word on what those markets could be. 

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In flight news this week, Delta opened bookings on its new Seattle-Osaka nonstop route, which is part of its partnership with Korean Air. The first flight from Seattle will debut April 1, 2019, with the return flight from Osaka kicking off a day later. The daily flight will be operated on Boeing 767-300ER aircraft with 25 fully flat-bed seats in Delta One, 29 seats in Delta Comfort+ and 171 seats in the Main Cabin. Every seat has access to Wi-Fi, free personal in-flight seatback entertainment screens and power ports. Meals, created in partnership with Delta’s Michelin two-star consulting chef Norio Ueno will be featured in all cabins of service. Delta’s transpacific joint venture partnership with Korean Air serves 12 destinations in Japan

Also this week, two new airlines launched new credit cards. Hawaiian Airlines partnered with Barclays to launch an enhanced Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard and Hawaiian Airlines Business Mastercard that allow cardmembers to earn more miles faster through a refreshed 3-2-1 rewards structure. The new structure allows consumer cardmembers to earn 3x HawaiianMiles per dollar spent on Hawaiian Airlines purchases; 2x on gas, dining and grocery store purchases; and 1x on all other purchases, with no mileage caps. World Elite consumer cardmembers will continue to enjoy current benefits such as one free checked bag for eligible bags on Hawaiian Airlines-operated flights, no foreign transaction fees, $100 annual companion discount and low introductory APR on balance transfers, as well as all the World Elite Mastercard benefits. New cardmembers are eligible to receive 50,000 bonus miles after meeting the spend threshold, which is enough for a roundtrip between the West Coast and Hawaii

This week American Airlines and Citi announced the AAdvantage MileUp card, a new no-annual-fee credit card with travel rewards. Starting July 22, cardmembers will be able to earn miles in the following ways:

  • 2 AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and at grocery stores, along with 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • A limited-time offer for new cardmembers of 10,000 AAdvantage bonus miles and a $50 statement credit after spending $500 in purchases within the first three months of opening an account

American Airlines also announced this week that it is eliminating single-use plastic straws from its lounges and replacing them with a biodegradable, eco-friendly straw and wood stir stick, starting this month. The airline will also begin transitioning to all eco-friendly flatware in the lounges. In November, the airline will change the plastic straw / stir stick in its onboard service to a stir stick made of sustainable bamboo. With these changes, American said it will eliminate more than 71,000 pounds of plastic per year.

Finally, in technology news, this week United Airlines launched its redesigned united.com website. The new home page has a more contemporary, user-friendly design, personalized content, a fully responsive display and a “travel inspiration” section. 

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