Skift Take

All signs point to JetBlue making a meal of this Alaska Air/Virgin America situation. Butter the popcorn and watch this space.

JetBlue is having serious fun capitalizing on the customer grab opportunities afforded by Alaska Airline’s acquisition of Virgin America.

And it’s only getting started.

The New York-based airline first sent out a feisty invitation to JetBlue “virgins” encouraging them to try out the JetBlue flying experience, with a chance to win free flights.


JetBlue has also picked up on uncertainty surrounding Alaska Airlines’ plans for Virgin America—which Alaska has failed to clearly address—by announcing the launch of more Mint transcontinental routes.

This comes shortly after a recent expansion of JetBlue’s Mint service to attractive Caribbean destinations.

The objective of the Virgin America acquisition was to give Alaska Airlines a better hold on valuable transcontinental routes, but those routes are also an upscale cabin product market.

As Chris Nurko, Global Chairman for Futurebrand explains that’s what gives JetBlue a perfect opportunity to jump in and differentiate itself clearly in the consumer’s mind:

“That’s where the product all the product is being invested in, like Business class/First-type services and where JetBlue and Virgin have been really been trapping the most lucrative market which is the hipster millennial: the urban sophisticated traveler, who travels frequently and just won’t travel in coach class. Whether they pay for it themselves or a combination credited while they have a couple of days in Palm Springs. That is very much the profile that American have been after, that JetBlue have been after–which is why they launched Mint, and it’s been very successful.”

“If you really want to read the tea leaves on what’s going to happen [with Virgin America and Alaska Air], watch JetBlue right now. Watch what they do, watch what JetBlue quickly establishes in terms of product route communications,” Nurko adds.

In JetBlue’s case, it might be best to read the Mint leaves.

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Tags: alaska airlines, jetblue airways, virgin america

Photo credit: The JetBlue logo in its Long Island City headquarters in New York. Skift

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