MIAMI — Even though JetBlue is adding B/E Aerospace slimline seats on its fleet and reducing pitch from 34 inches to 33 inches, the airline will still offer a comfortable product for customers, said Chief Marketing Officer Marty St. George in remarks at the carrier’s annual Investors Day.
Legroom wasn’t originally a differentiator for jetBlue at the beginning, said St. George. “But customers appreciate the extra legroom, and they make it part of the [ticket buying] decision process,” he said.
The competitive landscape for airline seats have changed, said St. George. “Airlines are installing the slimline seats and pitch has gone down to 31 inches. We’ve heard that one is even considering 30 inches,” he said.
JetBlue has gone through the process of looking at cabin seat pitch, said St. George. “With the Airbus A321, it gave us a chance to overhaul our pitch and seat. We looked at all the seat manufacturers and the slimline seat they offered and tested them all,” he said. “One thing I discovered was that the very thin lawn chair seats were comfortable for about an hour, but it wasn’t a great experience for a six-hour flight.”
So JetBlue now has a comfortable slimline seat from B/E Aerospace, said St. George. “We reduced pitch from 34.7 inches to 33.1 inches. But we’ve designed a fantastic product, with adjustable headrests,” he said.
The airline also offers its “new core” seating product on the A321, a refresh of its economy class product. it offers 33 inches of pitch, flexible headrests, two power outlets and a multi-tiered seat back pocket.
“We’re also increasing seats on the A320 from 150 to 165, which will give us 10 percent more seats for the same investment. Ultimately its a win-win for everyone, allowing us to offer more lower fares on our planes.”
The carrier will begin installing the extra 15 seats in its fleet of A320s in the third quarter of 2016, and it will take two years to complete the project. The change is expected to generate $100 million in incremental operating in come by 2019, said St. George.