JetBlue announced a while ago that they’d be joining the ranks of US airlines that fly to the UK and they’ve made good on that promise.
Flights to London are now bookable, although pricing isn’t as competitive as you might expect for newly-launched flights. Having said that, business class flights could be good value, especially if originating in the UK. However, it doesn’t look like using TrueBlue points will provide you with the best value, so it might be best to save those for cheaper domestic flights.
Flights from JFK to London Heathrow will begin on August 12, 2021, with flights from JFK to London Gatwick starting about a month and a half later on September 30. They’re due to also launch flights from Boston, but for now it’s only flights to and from New York that are bookable.
Will these flights be good value though? Well, looking at cash prices they’re not as low as you might expect, although they do seem to be somewhat competitive. For example, round trip flights from New York to London on October 13 and returning a week later cost at least $202 for the outbound leg and $346 for the inbound leg; that’s based on selecting the cheapest Blue Basic fare which doesn’t include any checked bags.
JetBlue dresses up the $545.55 round trip price as a great deal because look! You’re only paying $1 for the round trip fare, with the other $544.55 being due to those pesky taxes and fees.
If you click on ‘Total Details’ though, you’ll see that that’s not the whole story. $342 of the $545.55 in taxes and fees is a ‘Carrier Imposed Fee’, i.e. a fee imposed by JetBlue. Ryanair would be proud.
To be fair though, that $545.55 pricing isn’t bad compared to what else is on the market. When checking Google Flights, the cheapest non-stop flights between New York and London for those specific dates are on United and those cost $628. The cheapest available price for those dates is with Icelandair at $516, but that requires a stop at Keflavik along the way.
As you can see in the previous screenshots, round trip flights in Mint (i.e. business class) come in at $1,922. That’s a very competitive price for non-stop flights as the cheapest alternative for those dates – also with United – are twice the price. TAP Air Portugal has a marginally cheaper business class fare for those dates than JetBlue ($1,916), but that requires a stop in Lisbon.
If you were to originate your flights in London, pricing appears to be cheaper. For example, using those same dates but flying from London to New York on the 13th rather than the other way around and returning on the 20th offers fares as low as $408.53.
Even better, round-trip pricing in Mint can be had for only $1,349.69 which is a fantastic price, particularly for non-stop flights. The cheapest alternative non-stop round trip business class flights on those dates originating in London are almost triple the price.
It’s not only cash prices that are bookable – you can also redeem TrueBlue points for these flights. The problem is that it seems to be a poor redemption value.
About 2.5 years ago, Greg did some deep-diving into how JetBlue award pricing worked. His conclusion was that a Reasonable Redemption Value for TrueBlue points was 1.43cpp, although that subsequently got revised down to 1.33cpp to account for the fact that you don’t earn points on award flights.
Greg’s hypothesis was that cheaper flights (particularly in cheaper fare classes) required fewer points per dollar. When it comes to transatlantic flights, that kind of award pricing doesn’t work in your favor because ticket prices are higher.
When doing some searches, redeeming points was resulting in 1.08cpp of value, at least when it came to economy flights. Unfortunately I hadn’t taken any screenshots at the time and JetBlue’s site is now erroring out when doing any searches. It’s worth doing some searches of your own though once their search functionality is back up and running because perhaps there are better values to be had when redeeming points.
As you might have noticed when booking flights to and/or from the UK in the past, one-way paid fares are usually even more expensive than round trip flights and that sadly seems to be the case for JetBlue too. That means that the $132-$202 fares from New York to London are only available when booked as part of a round-trip.
JetBlue flights to London are now bookable to and from New York. Economy flights are fairly comparable to other airlines, while Mint flights are better than most of the competition, especially when it comes to non-stop flights.
It doesn’t appear to be as exciting from an award redemption perspective but perhaps that’ll change, especially if there are fare sales in the future given the extra competition that JetBlue themselves are introducing.