JetBlue is winning Hollywood. Not the studio contracts, of course. If you have a deal with Paramount, you’re flying American on the lucrative Los Angeles – New York route. But the ‘real’ Hollywood. The actors and directors and producers and independent talent who work for a living, aren’t traveling on a studio’s dime, but view the world through the lens of those who do.
One of the best sources of clients for my award booking business has been Hollywood – recognizable actors who have had many small roles in film, or recurring roles on cable TV, comedic directors whose shows we know but that we wouldn’t recognize in an airport.
They travel in circles with actresses and actors who fly private, or who are flown in international first class all over the world. They want to travel this way, but they frankly can’t afford to. And they love miles and points as a result because it opens up the world that they’re otherwise merely on the fringes of.
One really great client who I like a lot recently emailed,
Boy, JetBlue Mint is great for the money.
He’s otherwise picking and choosing flights based on which airline, day, and time has confirmable upgrade space. He’s buying the cheapest coach ticket, spending miles, and a cash co-pay. By the time he does that roundtrip, he’s effectively paying at least as much as just buying the seat outright from JetBlue.
The thing is, American, United, and Delta are regularly selling seats at these prices. Just not to you, and not to him.
Corporate contracts on these routes are much more cost-competitive with JetBlue than the prices you see quoted on an airline’s website, or on Orbitz or Expedia.
JetBlue will sell seats to anyone. And that’s why the A-listers may fly American, but the B-listers choose JetBlue.
Premium cabin travel used to be priced several multiples that of coach on domestic flights. And as a result, no one bought the tickets. 90% of domestic first class seats were taken by upgraders. Now with airlines generally reducing first class fares, they unsurprisingly sell more first class tickets.
That doesn’t mean the seats are cheap. JetBlue gets $600 each way. But it’s much less than what competitors are charging on the route.
There’s a premium market where prices modest multiples of economy. That’s a market that legacy carriers are currently ceding.