Leaked Early: JetBlue May Be About To Announce Service To London Heathrow

JetBlue first announced they’d be flying to London two years ago. They have a brand new Airbus A321LR with new premium seats to carry passengers across the Pond. And they have landing slots in London.

However it wasn’t the slots they’d wanted. They couldn’t get into London Heathrow, and they weren’t given enough slots to operate their desired flights into Gatwick either – despite Virgin ceasing flights out of Gatwick, even, they held onto their slots for some future period in which they might use them.

In November JetBlue secured:

  • 14 takeoff and landing slots per week at London Gatwick (one daily roundtrip, half of what they’d asked for)

  • 28 takeoff and landing slots per week at London Stansted (enough for two daily roundtrips)

Credit: JetBlue

They didn’t want to relegate themselves to Stansted and it appeared they might operate to both airports, which would be suboptimal. JetBlue had asked the U.S. government for assistance in securing a home in London.

Now the ever-vigilant Ishrion Aviation notices several signs that they’re about to announce service to London Heathrow.

  1. London Heathrow has changed on their mobile app from a partner destination to a JetBlue destination. That on its own wouldn’t tell us much, though it’s been a ‘tell’ in the past.

  2. JetBlue’s route map now showed they serve London Heathrow. (This appears to have since been removed.)

  3. The JetBlue website showed London Heathrow as at JetBlue-operated city, though London has since been removed from the list.

Seeing this once could be a mistake, an error in updating the website or app. But this appeared in multiple places and was quickly taken down. Perhaps it isn’t final yet, but it is highly suggestive that JetBlue could soon be announcing they’ve secured slots at London’s premium airport for their planned introduction of service this summer.

Update: JetBlue spokesperson Philip Stewart offers what seems like a ‘non-denial denial’,

As part of periodic IT testing it is possible for certain cities or routes to temporarily appear on jetblue.com or on our app. These brief displays – which today included multiple London airports – are not necessarily indicative of planned JetBlue service or forthcoming announcements.

JetBlue has applied for multiple slots at various London airports and remains committed to launching service in 2021. We continue to review opportunities available to us and will share more details as this process advances.

What’s most striking is that JetBlue doesn’t say ‘this was a mistake’ or ‘we have no plans to serve London Heathrow this year’.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. I used to think that Gatwick was for misfits and riff raff while Heathrow were for real people, but no longer feel that way. Heathrow is the best if one is taking a taxi into central London or if one is going to Earl’s Court or Kensington High Street tube stations because it’s slightly closer but Gatwick is more convenient otherwise.

    The train from Gatwick is much better than the Underground from Heathrow.

  2. Agreed–train from Gatwick to Victoria London is swift, clean, and “bargain” at $40+ return. Only thing I don’t like about Gatwick is the lack of upscale dining and shopping options, as well as fewer premium lounges. But if I’m going through Gatwick I’m trying to get from A to B in the shortest time possible and having a leisurely wait in a nice club for my long-haul flight is a LHR situation.

  3. I still prefer LHR, for a family of 4 that $40.00 becomes $160.00. The tube has always worked just fine for me. That said ,Gatwick is fine if lounge service is not a priority.

  4. To Gary, LHR is the only “real” airport for London just like real New Yorkers don’t use EWR. Both are fiction.

  5. London City is the only airport serious people use. The rest are fine for low budget tourists though

  6. Nice that Heathrow is slated to get JetBlue this summer. It will be interesting to see how I can use my small stash of B6 points to fly B6 to/from Heathrow in August and beyond.

  7. the more options to get to London the better. I’m pleased JetBlue are entering the market.

  8. Newark isn’t a fiction. In fact, it’s the only true hub airport in the New York area, on of the three global hubs of United Airlines (the others being Chicago O’Hare and Houston Intercontinental).

  9. Funny. JFK was a five continent hub for Delta before EWR was for United, IIRC. EWR might be a larger hub for United but it is no more of a “true hub airport” than JFK is for DL.

    And, IIRC, ATL is also a 5 continent hub for DL. UA at IAH has had service to the S. Pacific and Africa but not at the same time.

    and the chances are reasonable that if B6 can get slots, it will add London service from both JFK and EWR eventually.

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