JetBlue Shifts Focus: Boosts Flights to San Juan While Cutting Back in Europe

San Juan has been an underserved destination, and JetBlue has been effective there. They’ve been distracted the last few years, building up their since-dismantled partnership with American Airlines in the Northeast and focused on their since-abandoned merger plans with Spirit Airlines.

Sensing weakness as well as opportunity, Frontier Airlines has grown in San Juan and opened a crew base there. JetBlue now has announced its own expansion.

To/From San Juan (SJU):



Providence, RI (PVD)

1x daily


Westchester County, NY (HPN)

1x daily


Santiago, Dominican Republic (STI) 1

1x daily


Medellín, Colombia (MDE) 1

4x weekly


Cancún, Mexico (CUN) 1

3x weekly


St. Croix, USVI (STX)

1x daily


In addition, JetBlue will be adding Caribbean flights from New York JFK to Bonaire and to Argyle International Airport in St. Vincent. The New York – Bonaire route is currently unserved, while Caribbean Airlines serves St. Vincent twice weekly.

They’ll also be putting their business class Mint product which has both nice lie flat seats and a really strong soft product on New York, Boston, and Fort Lauderdale to Phoenix as well as New York – Vancouver. With Phoenix Mint service seasonal, these moves make some sense. They’re also going to be running a New York – San Juan flight with Mint as well as a couple of seasonal Fort Lauderdale – Las Vegas trips.

As a customer I love to see this but it underscores that JetBlue lacks a product in between coach and a more longer-haul style business class, at a time when competitors report their most profitable products are premium.

The natural question about how they’re adding winter seasonal Mint service, though, is answered by a change to their international flying. As I’ve been writing, transatlantic has underperformed for JetBlue. And they’re abandoning some of it in the winter season – which makes sense, it is tough to fill even a narrowbody with the kind of yields that are needed when it’s premium-heavy during the winter time.

  • London Gatwick becomes seasonal
  • Paris will only maintain two flights for summer, scaling back to once daily
  • Los Angeles – Newark will no longer operate, and it had a Mint cabin

In March I wrote that JetBlue would cut some transatlantic flying and this announcement would come in April. It looks like the timing was off by about a week, but that they are pulling back on winter trips across the Pond. That’s a sinkhole for money and JetBlue can’t afford losses right now.

Fighting for San Juan, and offering premium service to winter long distance domestic destinations from New York makes good sense.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. jetBlue always trying to be different. Once again, didn’t work out. Enough already!
    Trying to expand overseas and now cutting back. Ha Ha Ha!

  2. Gary – how do you feel about JetBlue going head to head with American Airlines to/from PHX with premium product? Would this have happened had they still been in the Northeastern Alliance?

  3. I’ve long thought that an airline could make San Juan or St. Croix a hub for the Caribbean and Latin America and then offer connecting flights on smaller, regional aircraft from San Juan or St. Croix to all the various islands, etc. that can’t necessarily support daily, year-round service on a 757/321/737. And if an airline moved their corporate HQ to Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands, they could effectively get at least 90% off their taxes.

  4. It would also be nice if JetBlue did an intra-Europe business class-style product for flights on routes without Mint. Block the middle seat in the forward rows, serve a Mint meal, and cater Mint wine/drinks. It would go a long ways toward keeping passengers loyal to JetBlue on the secondary routes.

  5. @runningjock so what about when delta and United and American have cut back transatlantic in the winter? Delta also suspended lgw for summer, as well as Geneva and Brussels. British airways virgin cut back lhr. American cut a few as well, ie Madrid etc. united as expected scaled back tatl winter ops. I guess for decades that they been flying over the pond they all failed but yet still serve it? Winter downsizing for tatl is common for all carriers and prudent market planning. I love when everyone else does it it’s natural but when jetblue does it “oh they have failed”!. Please do your research before making statements

  6. Either they don’t know how or do not want to build a profitable route network! Chasing SJU market share is a “weak” move and counters their goal of returning to profitability!!

  7. When’s the 2025 Transatlantic has really taken a pruning I ran a ski club and transatlantic flights for next winter are currently pricing out between$1,000 to $1,200 a seat. Historically that’s summer money

  8. Interesting that they reversed FLL-PHX from what it used to be, making it a “redeye” westbound (7am ET/5am MT, having to wake up at 3am MT — very bad for timezone adjustment), and a decent time eastbound (1020a MT).

    Wish they could have decent times in both directions, but I suppose that requires two aircraft.

  9. @RunningJock – optimizing the schedule is “cutting back”? They got multiple LHR slots so they don’t need the excess LGW lift. If anything these are smart moves!

    If Delta made these moves you guys would call it “brilliant”.

    Waiting for Tim and O’Hare to come talk smack…

  10. I like the additional mint service to Puerto Rico and Vancouver. While JetBlue has some issues, I’ve appreciated that they offered Mint on routes where the Legacy 3 offered standard domestic first. While it does incur a price premium over domestic first on the big 3, I find it to be worth the supplement to have a guaranteed flatbed on longer routes, and there is a market for it. There is not as much of a market for flat beds to Europe; there are 1000s of flatbed seats daily across the Atlantic.

  11. B6 should follow a copy of CM Panama City approach. The gateway to the Americas….

  12. I’m jumping for joy that JetBlue added lay flats for Phoenix to NYC!!!! Once people realize that this has happened the premium sections will be very full and hopefully this service will remain after the ‘season’ ends!

  13. I had a good flight on JetBlue last night. The flight from BUF to LAX departed from the gate 10 minutes early and arrived almost a half hour early. I was fortunate to have an open middle seat next to my window seat in coach. I helped the aisle seat passenger get her stuffed roller carry-on down (she had put it up herself but it was getting hung up while trying to remove it.) The cabin crew was pleasant and efficient. I was able to say hello to the Captain and First Officer (piloting) at the gate area. I also was in line to board the aircraft when the Captain came up the jetway stairs after inspecting the outside of the aircraft. I asked if everything was good to go and he confirmed. I also greeted the Captain again when we took the escalator down at the same time at LAX.

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