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Old 01-10-2007, 07:56 AM   #1  
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Default Jet Blue starts SFO service

JetBlue Airways, the stylish discount carrier that has built a loyal following at Oakland International Airport the past several years, will cross the bay, starting five daily nonstop flights between San Francisco International Airport and the East Coast, starting May 3.

The 6-year-old New York airline plans to announce four daily flights between SFO and New York's John F. Kennedy Airport and a once-daily flight between the airport and Boston's Logan airport at a new conference today at SFO with JetBlue founder and chief executive David Neeleman scheduled to attend.

Restricted introductory fares between SFO and the two East Coast cities will start at $99 one way, though general fares on these routes will be higher, ranging from $159 to $399 one way, according to JetBlue, which has not flown from SFO before. JetBlue will continue to fly from Oakland as it adds San Francisco service.

The San Francisco-to-New York service will include a red-eye flight that departs SFO at 11:50 p.m. and arrives at JFK at 8:15 a.m. the next day.

American Airlines and United Airlines fly between SFO and JFK. JetBlue's fares are generally below those of major carriers, although fares can vary considerably not only between carriers but on the same airline, depending on the date and time of day for a flight.

JetBlue's planned takeoff at SFO, which has courted low-fare carriers with intermittent success while discounters Southwest Airlines and JetBlue have thrived in Oakland, may well take place before the long-planned start of transcontinental service between SFO and JKF by Virgin America, a Burlingame startup low-cost carrier that has applied for federal permission to begin flying but hasn't yet received it.

Virgin America has said it will respond Wednesday to a Department of Transportation tentative ruling on Dec. 27 to deny it permission to fly. Regulators said Virgin America doesn't satisfy federal rules requiring U.S. carriers to be controlled by U.S. citizens. Virgin America hasn't disclosed details of its appeal.

JetBlue portrayed its entry in SFO as driven by consumer demand.

"Our customers continually asked for more service from more airports,'' said Neeleman in a statement Monday. "It's important to our customers to have choice and low fares.''

SFO director John Martin said Monday he is "very excited, very pleased'' that San Francisco will soon be getting service from JetBlue, which has won praise from many travelers for its leather seats, free seatback DirectTV service and other service touches on its all-economy cases flights.

"New York is one of our biggest markets,'' said Martin. "We've been eager to have a very strong competitor on that route. I visited JetBlue's headquarters about five years ago, and obviously nothing happened then. My aviation development staff has been in touch with them for several years. In the last six to eight weeks, things came together.'

"David Neeleman has been amazingly successful in growing that airline, and their brand is very respected,'' Martin said.

"We hope that Virgin America will begin flying here, too, and provide strong competition on fares,'' he added. "That would be a real win-win for the consumer.''

JetBlue's introductory $99 one-way fares are available on a limited basis and require a 21-day advance purchase, according to JetBlue. Introductory fares must be booked by Jan. 22 and travel must be completed between May 3 and June 13.

"Introductory fares may not be available on all days or on all flights,'' the airline cautioned. "Introductory fares are most often found on midweek travel dates.'
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Old 01-10-2007, 07:56 AM   #2  
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This seems interesting. JetBlue flies to Oakland. While it is a "low cost airport", most of the business travelers fly out of SFO. United has chosen "premium service" on their SFO-JFK route, offering their P.S. configured 757's with the first class suite, business class, and economy plus. No coach. Maybe 110 seats on an airplane that usually seats 182, and can seat 200. Didn't Song (Delta) used to fly SFO-JFK and SFO-BOS, but stop because it was not a low fare market. I wonder if JetBlue will really succeed with their low cost service.

Another idea, do you think JetBlue is afraid of Virgin America. After all, Virgin America said SFO will be their hub, and SFO-JFK would be their first route. Maybe JetBlue wants to take whatever few low cost customers there are in SFO and take them away from Virgin America before they start operations. Maybe that will be a good thing.
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Old 01-10-2007, 08:42 AM   #3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryane946 View Post
This seems interesting. JetBlue flies to Oakland. While it is a "low cost airport", most of the business travelers fly out of SFO. United has chosen "premium service" on their SFO-JFK route, offering their P.S. configured 757's with the first class suite, business class, and economy plus. No coach. Maybe 110 seats on an airplane that usually seats 182, and can seat 200. Didn't Song (Delta) used to fly SFO-JFK and SFO-BOS, but stop because it was not a low fare market. I wonder if JetBlue will really succeed with their low cost service.

Another idea, do you think JetBlue is afraid of Virgin America. After all, Virgin America said SFO will be their hub, and SFO-JFK would be their first route. Maybe JetBlue wants to take whatever few low cost customers there are in SFO and take them away from Virgin America before they start operations. Maybe that will be a good thing.
I'm not at all surprised. I'm sure that JetBlue has been quietly working behind the scenes to try to gain SFO's low cost carrier market before Virgin America gets approval to fly. United's Premium Service (P.S. 757) is very popular with business travelers so I doubt they will lose those folks to JetBlue. They may take some of United's leisure market, but I suspect a loyalty amongst UAL's P.S. business passengers.
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