JetBlue's first Airbus A321neo, named after its founder, David Neeleman.

WHY IT RATES: JetBlue ushers in the future of its fleet with the inauguration of its much-anticipated Airbus A321neo aircraft, which delivers a new standard of passenger comfort, state-of-the-art in-flight amenities and more efficient engines. — Laurie Baratti, TravelPulse Associate Writer

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JetBlue today announced its newest aircraft, the Airbus A321neo, has officially entered scheduled service, marking the start of a new and exciting future for the customer-favorite airline’s modern fleet. Featuring increased fuel efficiency, an extended range and the very best in customer comfort, the aircraft will benefit the airline’s customers, crewmembers and investors.

The new aircraft officially entered scheduled service today as flight #1 from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), which commemorated JetBlue’s first revenue route nearly 20 years ago when the airline first took to the skies.

At a very special gate-side event at JFK’s Terminal 5, JetBlue’s current CEO, Robin Hayes, and President and Chief Operating Officer, Joanna Geraghty, were joined by JetBlue founder, David Neeleman. When Neeleman and Dave Barger brought together a group of aviation veterans more than 20 years ago to create JetBlue, Neeleman’s vision of creating a low-cost airline that would bring humanity back to air travel was an instant sensation that shook up the industry. In the years since, JetBlue has grown into one of the most recognized and awarded airline brands in the world.

As the airline approaches 20 years of service in 2020, JetBlue invited Neeleman to collaborate with the airline’s design team for the new aircraft’s eye-catching and vibrant tail pattern, dubbed “balloons,” which includes five different colored balloons, representing the five values (Safety, Caring, Integrity, Passion and Fun) that were selected by Neeleman and JetBlue’s founders long before JetBlue even had a name. To celebrate Neeleman’s legacy, JetBlue’s first A321neo—tail number N2002JB—is named in his honor.

Mobile phones can be paired as remote controls aboard JetBlue's new A321neo aircraft.

“David Neeleman’s vision is as relevant today as it was 20 years ago, and today we honor his contributions to JetBlue. He set us on a course to lead the industry in customer comfort and amenities, and today we’re proud to continue in that tradition by introducing this new aircraft that’s both fuel-efficient and features our most advanced cabin design,” said Hayes. “JetBlue’s new A321neo boasts features such as the widest and most comfortable seats available for this aircraft type, and a host of thoughtful design elements that are meant to enhance customer comfort and help our crewmembers deliver award-winning service.”

JetBlue’s A321neo aircraft features state-of-the-art interiors designed to lighten and brighten customers’ journey and facilitate seamless living—the idea that you don’t have to stop living your life just because you’re in the air. All of these features were born out of feedback received from crewmembers and customers on how to make JetBlue’s inflight experience even better. Some of the amazing new features available on the aircraft include:

New Welcome Area: The NEO features a completely redesigned welcome area outfitted with residential finishes, full-height edge-lit partitions, and custom flooring designed to create a striking first impression.

Enhanced Boarding Experience: Sky blue mood lighting and uplifting boarding music will create a laid-back and fun ambiance as Customers make their way onto the aircraft.

Brand New Seats: JetBlue’s stylish new seats were designed to maximize comfort with enhanced memory foam cushions, adjustable headrests and more living space. They’re also the widest seats on the market and offer the most legroom in coach (based on average fleet-wide seat pitch for U.S. airlines).

Redesigned Seatback Pockets: With feedback from customers and crewmembers, JetBlue reinvented the seatback pocket with an elastic “gadget panel” stowage, mesh pockets for water bottles or personal devices and a larger pocket for laptops

Easy-to-Reach Power: With a USB port in each seatback monitor and repositioned AC power ports located in front of each seat, travelers can relax knowing they will arrive with a full charge across all devices.

All New: The Pantry: JetBlue’s take on an inflight snack bar has been completely reinvented and will serve as an onboard gathering place for customers to stretch their legs and grab a free refreshment or some extra snacks throughout the flight.

Cutting-Edge HD Seatback Screens: With 100-plus channels of DIRECTV, hundreds of movies, full seasons of binge-worthy TV shows, and custom seatback games, JetBlue customers will never be bored. Plus, travelers can follow their flight on a new 3D moving map and pair a personal device with the seatbacks to use as a remote.

Expanded Fly-Fi Coverage: JetBlue is the only airline to offer free, high-speed Wi-Fi at every seat, on every plane. Equipped with Viasat-2, the A321neo will offer expanded coverage on more than 99 percent of JetBlue’s route network, including over-water and international cities.

JetBlue created an interactive 360-degree video to showcase the experience aboard the airline’s new A321neo. The virtual tour highlights the aforementioned features of the aircraft and encourages viewers to look around and explore all the latest enhancements inside the cabin. A 360-degree video of JetBlue’s new A321neo is available to explore on YouTube.

The A321neo—the newest aircraft to join JetBlue’s growing fleet of more than 250 aircraft—boasts a 20-percent increase in fuel efficiency, which supports an extended range of some 500 nautical miles over the A321. While the A321neo will operate throughout JetBlue’s existing network, the longer-range flying capabilities of the aircraft open up a host of new markets which the airline’s existing fleet could not serve with nonstop flights, including new service from New York JFK to Guayaquil, Ecuador, beginning this December 5, 2019, and to Georgetown, Guyana, beginning April 2, 2020.

Additionally, each JetBlue Airbus A321neo will be powered by two Pratt & Whitney GTF engines, which produce a smaller noise footprint and offer lower operating costs, compared with today’s engines.

JetBlue has 85 A321neo aircraft on order, including thirteen A321LR (Long Range) aircraft for service to London from New York and Boston, beginning in 2021, as well as thirteen A321XLR (Xtra Long Range) aircraft, which the airline intends to use to serve a variety of European cities.

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SOURCE: JetBlue press release.