FLORIDA – The new blue is here. On Monday we were given early access and invited to sneak peak of the JetBlue Restyle Phase 2 at the conversion facility down in Lake City Florida.

If you remember in May of last year JetBlue began refurbishing their A320’s (Phase 1) with Rockwell Collins Pinnacle seats and LiveTV 4 entertainment options which is currently what customers on the A321 are enjoying.

Beginning with aircraft N729JB (If You Can Read This, You’re Blue Close) Phase 2 of the restyling has begun which will feature the Rockwell Collins Meridan seat and Thales AVANT and ViaSAT-2 products.  

In addition to these new enhancements, the A320 has increased capacity from 150 to 162 seats. Jetblue is able to accomplish this by using a thinner seat and by moving some components around in the galley areas. With the additional seat capacity, Jetblue will also be adding one additional crew member to each flight.

The new Collins Aerospace Meridan seat will give each passenger 32 inches of pitch in economy and 35 inches in Even More Space. Each seat has an extra layer of memory foam for enhanced comfort and an adjustable headrest.

“We are proud to partner with JetBlue on its A320 restyling project by supplying our Meridian Seat,” said Cynthia A. Muklevicz, Vice President, Account Management, Interiors for Collins Aerospace. “Meridian offers passengers industry-leading comfort and living space through an intense focus on ergonomic design supported by optimization of the underlying seat structure.”   

Seatback stowage has been redesigned to accommodate passenger needs such as storing water bottles and personal devices. This translates to the feeling of more leg room despite pitch being reduced by an inch.

While other airlines have shied away from updating their cabins with seatback screens relying on passengers to bring their own PEDs and streaming content. Jetblue is sticking to their original pioneering concept of bringing onboard entertainment to the customer by reimagining the IFE experience.

Each passenger will get their own 10.1 inch 1080P seatback entertainment screen and have some pretty cool features.  The armrest remotes have been replaced by a touchscreen user interface. with picture in picture functionality. You will have access to 100+ channels of live TV and free on-demand content.

Direct TV will have pause/rewind capability just in case you have to get up for any reason you won’t miss a thing. You will be able to use your personal device as a remote.

New content such as games, podcast, the audiobook will also be available. The power ports which used to be under the seat are now facing the passenger for easier access. New LED lighting will enhance the in-cabin ambience and experience.

“Thales is proud to have been a business partner with JetBlue since the beginning of their IFE evolution. The airline has reimagined the flying experience, and with our custom-designed AVANT IFE solution, we’ve helped JetBlue reimagine their passenger experience on the A320 platform,” said Philippe Carette, Chief Executive Officer, Thales InFlyt Experience.

“We look forward to collaborating with the airline to create new opportunities that wow their passengers with a unique and personalized inflight experience.”

With Fly-Fi and ViaSAT-2 customers will now have expanded coverage and be able to have WiFi over parts of the Caribbean. The basic broadband speed service is always free and is of course, gate-to-gate.

The JetBlue A320 restyling (Phase 1 and 2) marks the first major overhaul to the original fleet since the airline’s launch in 2000. Each aircraft restyle is expected to take 30 days to complete.  

JetBlue’s A320 restyling gives the airline a much-needed upgrade and modern feel.  I happened to show a picture of the new cabin interior to a fellow passenger on my flight home last night and her response was “That’s Jetblue?” mind you we were sitting in the very outdated classic cabin.

N729JB is expected to enter service later this week.  JetBlue hopes to have more than forty aircraft restyled by the end of the year and  the rest of the A320 fleet is supposed to be converted over the next 2 years.