This is the latest installment of my “best time to buy airline tickets” series, featuring profiles of major U.S. carriers. It began with Southwest, followed by AirTran, then American, Continental, Delta and Frontier. More profiles are coming, but here’s the latest: JetBlue.
A Brief History of JetBlue Airlines
JetBlue was founded in 1998 as a low cost carrier with a strong sense of customer service, and despite a couple of snags along the way, its free TV, free snacks, free first checked-bag and generally cheerful flight attendants made the airline an immediate (and continuing) hit with the flying public.
“Snags” included the February 2007 incident at JFK when ice storms kept hundreds of passengers trapped in planes on the tarmac for several hours as the airline waited for the weather to pass. JetBlue execs later admitted this was “a debacle” though the airline made amends and regained its trust with passengers.
In August of 2010, JetBlue again made international news when one of its flight attendants reportedly cursed out a passenger, then bailed out of his aircraft at JFK via the emergency slide, beer in hand.
JetBlue Airports, Statistics
JetBlue, based at JFK, has more than 150 planes (some with free WiFi) that fly to 60-plus destinations mostly in the U.S. and the Caribbean. Focus cities include Boston, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale and Long Beach.
Ticket prices can be very volatile especially at large competitive airports like JFK – so let’s take a quick look at the average cheapest roundtrip ticket prices from JetBlue’s biggest airport (JFK) to the top 50 U.S. cities by airport traffic:
Note the big pricing difference in 2009 (during the height of the recession) compared to 2010 when demand steadily picked up.
JetBlue’s Creative Ads
JetBlue likes to poke fun at cramped conditions aboard unnamed rival airlines; one of the carrier’s more successful efforts at this was the TV advertisement known as the “Airline Seat Monster” seen below:
JetBlue Sales and Deals Including Twitter and Facebook Specials
JetBlue is also known for the occasional 24 hour sale, and specials such as its “All You Can Jet” pass which allows passengers to fly as many flights as they want for a month.
JetBlue also maintains an active presence on Facebook and Twitter; its @JetBlueCheeps account featuring social media specials is extremely popular (and we can show you how to follow your favorite airline on social media).
Note: these JetBlue deals go quickly; smart shoppers sign up for real-time airfare alerts, and move fast when they see a deal they like.
Cheapest Days to Fly on JetBlue
Don’t forget: even if you fly only half your trip on one of the cheapest days to fly, you still get half the benefit.
Best Time to Buy Airline Tickets on JetBlue
Tuesday at 3pm Eastern has been the best time to buy airline tickets, no matter what the carrier. This is because an airline generally begins a sale late Monday evening, which prompts the other airlines such as JetBlue to join the sale by the next day.
In the past few years, airlines have lived by two mottos – 1.) Match All Competitor Sales and 2.) Don’t Be a Dollar More or Less than the Competition (unless of course, the airline can offer more options like convenient nonstops).
Studying airline sale behavior as I’ve been doing over the past several years, I have not found JetBlue to be a big leader in sales like AirTran and some others; however, JetBlue does follow sales quickly and constantly tinkers with pricing on its long haul coast-to-coast routes.
Remember, Sale Seats Go Quickly in the Internet Age
If you see a great deal, do not delay your purchase – the cheapest fares don’t last long. On average, only about 10% (or less) of an airplane’s seats are ever “on sale”. Those who delay lose out.
I know many of you who see a deal during the day, will want to negotiate with your significant other later in the evening before making your purchase, but be careful!That great deal you saw at work may not to be around by the time you hop on your computer at home.
JetBlue Sale Details
As a “low cost carrier”, the best-priced JetBlue airfare is often available with as little as a week’s advance purchase and sometimes less. However, on occasion, JetBlue sale fares sometimes require a 10 day (or more) advance purchase, so again – it would be wise to check with a “flexible search calendar“.
Get the Best Prices with JetBlue (and All Airlines) Every Time You Shop
To review: sign up for real-time email airfare alerts – follow the airfare deals – shop Tuesdays at 3pm – and get yourself involved in social media. This is an easy way to save and don’t forget our new real-time price drop iPhone alert app (remember, the key to finding a good deal is using technology to let you know when one is afoot).
JetBlue photo from Aaron Gustafson’s photostream on flickr