I’m in San Diego right now for the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) conference, and one of the biggest stories so far has to be JetBlue’s new lie-flat seats that will be debuting in the “second quarter of 2014.” JetBlue CEO Dave Barger introduced the seats as an answer to customer requests for more premium options (they’re not calling it First Class or Business Class—just “premium”). They will be available on the U.S. market’s two most popular transcontinental routes: New York (JFK) – Los Angeles (LAX) and New York (JFK) – San Francisco (SFO). Both are serviced by the Airbus A321.
One of the most interesting takeaways from the announcement was the way the seats will be arranged. In the new front cabin area, the lie-flat seats will be arranged in a 2-1-2 formation, with the sections of 1 being the market’s first and only private suites. The private suites will have doors that give passengers unprecedented privacy on their trips across the country.
In addition to being able to lie completely flat, the new lie-flat seats will have, according to JetBlue, “adjustable firmness, a massage function, a 15-inch widescreen television featuring the most live entertainment in the skies, and a unique ‘wake-me-for-service’ indicator if the customer chooses to sleep in.”
For those not interested in premium seating, JetBlue’s economy experience is also getting an upgrade. In 2014, the JetBlue Experience as they call it will begin featuring “comfortable seat design with movable headrests, a new entertainment system with up to 100 channels of DirecTV programming on 10.1-inch widescreens, and 110-volt and USB power ports accessible to all customers.” There is one exception to the upgrade: Legroom in coach will be reduced by 1″ (to make room for the premium seats). JetBlue will still have the most legroom among its competitors, but 1″ less. Check out this computer-generated video of the new JetBlue interior that we’ll be seeing in 2014. You can also check out my pictures from the GBTA event below: