Don’t like JetBlue’s cozy new cabin? No one cares

This is the interior of JetBlue’s “restyled” Airbus A320 cabin. The airline promises it will “enhance the JetBlue experience to meet the needs of travelers today, including a greater focus on connectivity, comfort, and space.”

Or will it?

The new configuration squeezes more seats into the plane, upping cabin capacity from 150 passengers to 162. Each row will lose two inches of legroom, which is unfortunate, but still not as squishy as the average economy cabin. Still, for a company that promises to bring “humanity” to travel, it doesn’t sit well with passengers like Peter Hoagland.

“It reminded me of companies that redesign packaging as sleight of hand to hope the consumer doesn’t realize that they have shrunk the size,” he says. “And that is exactly what JetBlue is doing. Shrinking passenger room.”

Wait a second. I can hear some of you saying, “Come on, Hoagland. Passengers were demanding lower prices and this is the only way to give it to them. Get with the program!”

But that’s not true. Technically, passengers are demanding free flights in first class. That’s why you have a whole class of loyalty and credit card-shill blogs out there which promise something for nothing.

JetBlue isn’t lowering its fares after introducing this new cabin. Read the press release if you don’t believe me. It’s just wedging more passengers on the plane.

But if this is really being done for the benefit of the passenger, then I assumed JetBlue would have a reasonable response to passengers like Hoagland, who feel they’ve been betrayed by the last airline that cared. I suggested he send a brief, polite email to JetBlue, outlining his concerns.

Here’s how the airline responded:

Dear Mr. Hoagland,

Thank you for contacting JetBlue. We regret that you have concerns about the changes we are making in our aircraft and the legroom we have all come to enjoy as part of our experiences with JetBlue.

We welcome this opportunity to address your concerns.

Offering our customers a comfortable inflight experience is important to us. Our restyling process starts later this year and will continue across our fleet through 2017.

We’ll still provide roomy seating with plenty of room for your legs as well as many other amenities that will give our customers and excellent inflight experience. Check out the details at:

We are excited about our plans, which will give A320 interiors a brand new look and ensure we continue to offer the best experience in our industry. At the same time we’re remaking the cabin with new seats, new TVs, new lighting, and more ? modeled after our A321 cabin, and we’ll enable gate-to-gate Fly-Fi, replace our current TV system and install huge 10″ screens that offer streaming TV, on-demand content, and the ability to pair personal devices with the system.

The A320 cabin restyling plans closely follow our A321 cabin design.

  • Lots of room and the widest seat on a narrow body aircraft
  • Sleek ergonomic B/E Aerospace Pinacle® seats with a patented comfort suspension system that offers better comfort with less cushion foam
  • Moveable headrests that slide up, down and wrap-around LED cabin lighting and a modern interior color palette that’s more stylish and comfortable

We look forward to welcoming you onboard JetBlue to give this new configuration a try in the future, and hope you enjoy many flights with us in the meantime.

Ah, the ol’ “Send him the bedbug letter” response. Shoulda seen that one coming.

What’s JetBlue saying? Shut up and enjoy the cabin, which is still better than our competitors’. In the race to the bottom, we’ve tapped the brakes. That’s what bringing humanity back to air travel means: sucking less than the rest. You should be grateful.

“I am concerned that JetBlue is buying their own BS about how happy their customers are with the changes,” says Hoagland. “Their mantra that we still have more leg room than the competition is not much of a selling point for anyone who has experienced how crammed airplanes have become.”

Hoagland says JetBlue differentiated itself from the major carriers by giving customers what they really wanted. “I fear that, one step at a time, they are losing that differentiation,” he says.

JetBlue's new cabin interiors:

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