JetBlue just began flying between New York and London with the smallest plane of any airline on the route - here's why I'm eager to book it again

·9-min read
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider
  • JetBlue Airways just began flying between New York and London with one of Airbus' newest jets.

  • The Airbus A321neoLR is the next-generation variant of the popular A321 and is capable of flying transatlantic flights.

  • JetBlue has packed the aircraft full of customer-friendly features that take away from the fact that the aircraft is smaller than what competitors use.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

JetBlue Airways began flying between New York and London in August, bringing its low fares to Europe for the first time.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Read More: I flew on JetBlue's historic first trip to London and saw how low fares and great service will give competitors a run for their money

Introductory fares on the route started at $599 round-trip for economy class and $1,979 for Mint business class.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR. Thomas Pallini/Insider

One way the airline is keeping prices low is by flying smaller aircraft across the pond.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR. Thomas Pallini/Insider

JetBlue chose the Airbus A321neoLR for its European flights and is currently the only airline to fly a single-aisle aircraft between New York and London.

JetBlue Airways taking delivery of its first Airbus A321neoLR
JetBlue Airways' first Airbus A321neoLR. JetBlue Airways and Airbus

The trend is becoming more common as airlines try to lower costs on lucrative transatlantic flights, and manufacturers like Airbus are accommodating by making the planes fly further than ever before.

Airbus A321neo
Dominique Boutin/TASS/Getty

Read More: Double-decker planes are going extinct as Airbus and Boeing discontinue their largest models. Here's why airlines are abandoning 4-engine jets.

Some frequent flyers, including myself, dread the idea of having to fly on a single-aisle plane across an ocean. But after two flights on the aircraft, I was more than happy with the experience and enjoyed flying on it more than some larger aircraft.

A JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Here's why I'd book another flight on a JetBlue Airbus A321neoLR when flying transatlantic.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Insider paid a media rate to fly from New York to London and back

As a New Yorker, I've taken countless JetBlue flights in my flying career and have seen how quickly the airline has improved its onboard product in recent years. Those improvements culminated in the Airbus A321neoLR, flying exclusively between New York and London.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider

JetBlue's latest seat products and satellite WiFi can be found on the aircraft, as well as other features like the JetBlue "pantry."

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR. Thomas Pallini/Insider

I specifically book a standard economy seat for the overnight flight to London in seat 24A.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider

I sat down in the seat and felt surprisingly at ease. It felt like just another flight on JetBlue, an airline on which I'd become incredibly comfortable flying.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Read More: I flew on a newly upgraded JetBlue plane and despite less legroom and slimmer seats, the refresh is exactly what the airline needed

JetBlue offers 32 inches of legroom in these seats as well as 18.4 inches of width.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider

For a larger traveler like myself, the extra room made a world of difference. I didn't feel hemmed in or struggling to find a comfortable position.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Those dimensions make JetBlue's seats more spacious than all of its competitors on the route, despite the smaller plane.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider

American Airlines offers between 31 and 32 inches of seat pitch for its economy seats on the Boeing 777-300ER, according to SeatGuru, while seat widths range between 16.2 and 17.1 inches.

American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER
An American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER. Nicolas Economou/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty

Source: SeatGuru

British Airways' Boeing 777-200 aircraft offers 31 inches of pitch and 17.5 inches of seat width in economy, according to SeatGuru.

British Airways Boeing 777
A British Airways Boeing 777. Reuters

Source: SeatGuru

Delta Air Lines' Boeing 767-400ER aircraft offer 31 inches of pitch and a nearly comparable 18.1 inches of width, according to SeatGuru.

Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-400
A Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-400. Philip Pilosian/Shutterstock.com

Source: SeatGuru

Virgin Atlantic Airways offers between 31 and 34 inches of pitch on its Airbus A350-1000 XWB aircraft in economy, according to SeatGuru, with a seat width of 17.4 inches.

Virgin Atlantic Airways Airbus A350
A Virgin Atlantic Airways Airbus A350-900 XWB. Robert Smith/MI News/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Source: SeatGuru

United Airlines offers the closest rival on its premium-configured Boeing 767-300ER with seat pitches varying between 31 and 34 inches for economy seats and 18.5 inches of pitch, according to SeatGuru. The 34-inch pitch seats are paid, extra-legroom "Economy Plus" seats.

United Airlines Boeing 767-300ER
A United Airlines Boeing 767-300ER. Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

JetBlue's spacious seats are accompanied by a low-density configuration of only 138 seats across 31 rows. In economy, you can see from the first row all the way to the last with no dividers in between.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR. Thomas Pallini/Insider

American, by comparison, has 216 economy seats alone on its Boeing 777-300ER flying between New York and London.

American Airlines
American Airlines Boeing 777 at New York JFK airport before boarding passengers. William Perugini/shutterstock

The only other airline flying planes with fewer passengers between New York and Europe is French boutique airline La Compagnie.

Onboard La Compagnie's Airbus A321neo - La Compagnie Airbus A321neo Tour
A La Compagnie Airbus A321neo. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Read More: I toured La Compagnie, the all-business class airline flying between the US and France. It's the closest thing to flying private across the Atlantic.

Having fewer seats means it takes less time to board and deplane the aircraft. It might even take less time to board and deplane than JetBlue's other aircraft that have more seats.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Personally, having fewer people onboard made it feel like there was a lot less hassle during boarding and deplaning. Flying to London felt no different than if I was flying down to Florida, and it made the overall experience a lot less stressful.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Beyond its impressive spaciousness, the economy seat itself had all the usual trimmings for a transatlantic product a 10.1-inch in-flight entertainment screen with a USB charging port, 110v AC power outlet, and adjustable headrest.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Also on display during boarding was the Airbus Airspace cabin found on its newest jets. Mood lighting welcomes passengers onboard with LED lights above giving the impression of a starry night.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Economy seats are configured in a standard 3-3 configuration with an equal number of aisle, window, and middle seats.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider

It didn't take long to get everybody onboard and ready for the seven-hour crossing. We would've departed right on time had it not been for bad weather in the area that prevented us from pushing back from the gate.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider

But once we got underway, it was smooth sailing to London. The A321neoLR handled what little turbulence we experienced quite well.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Flight attendants walked up and down the aisle to perform the in-flight service, just like a normal flight. It took a bit longer than it should have but that was chalked up to it being the very first flight.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider

One cool feature of JetBlue's transatlantic product is that customers can order their meals from the in-flight entertainment system.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider

I quickly fell asleep and woke up over Ireland in time for breakfast with only around an hour left in the flight.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider

The fuel-efficient Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan engines also make the cabin incredibly quiet and conducive to uninterrupted sleep.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider

The flight ended, as all do, and I was thinking more about how happy I was in London than the fact that I flew across the Atlantic in a single-aisle plane.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider

I flew back to New York just a few days later on the very same aircraft. The only difference was that this time, I was in business class.

A JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider

JetBlue rolled out a brand-new Mint business class seat for this aircraft to give flyers maximum privacy and exclusivity.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Read More: I flew JetBlue's new London to New York route in Mint business class. It's a premium leisure traveler's dream but some kinks need to be ironed out.

Business class seats are arranged in a 1-1 configuration across 12 rows, taking up nearly half of the aircraft.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Each seat offers direct aisle access and has closing doors for additional privacy.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider

There were even fewer passengers on this flight so boarding took less than 30 minutes and we were quickly on our way to New York.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider

The flight time was also around seven hours for this leg thanks to favorable winds. What the A321neoLR lacks in speed, however, JetBlue makes up for in the in-flight service.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider

A three-course meal was served for lunch, accompanied by multiple pre-landing snacks.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider

And for those still hungry, the JetBlue "pantry" is available on the aircraft where passengers can take whatever snacks and beverages they like.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Besides the extra flight duration, I could hardly tell the difference or care that I was on a smaller plane.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider

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