The thought of an extended flight on a single-aisle aircraft is enough to make most people cringe but Airbus and JetBlue are out to prove smaller planes can be just as comfortable as their bigger cousins.
JetBlue this week became the first airline to take delivery of Airbus’ latest Airspace cabin on the first of 13 Airbus A321 LRs destined to fly trans-Atlantic routes.
The Impressive single-aisle cabin is designed to complement the European manufacturer’s A330neo and A350 widebodies.
And if the JetBlue specs are anything to go by, it will be a better experience for economy passengers than many widebody planes, including Boeing’s popular 787 Dreamliner.
It will use it on much-anticipated direct flights to London due to start later in 2021.
“These aircraft will allow us to offer our customers attentive, boutique-style service, while also ensuring ample personal space, larger overhead bins, customized lighting and a design that gives the cabin a wide-body feel.,’’ JetBlue chief executive Robin Hayes said.
Features of the new cabin include customizable hero lighting aimed at reducing jet lag, slimmer sidewall panels for extra personal space at shoulder level and improved views through the windows thanks to redesigned bezels and completely integrated window shades.
There is also the latest full LED lighting technologies; the largest overhead bin in class; and new lavatories with hygienic touchless features and antimicrobial surfaces.
JetBlue has taken advantage of A321’s wider cross-section to install 24-fully-flat seats in its Mint premium private suites while the aircraft’s 114 economy passengers get 18.4-inch wide seats with a full 32-inch seat pitch and contoured seta-backs for extra knee space.
The airline also offers four rows of “Even More Space” seating with five additional inches of legroom.
Passengers flying across the Atlantic will be able to take advantage of the airline’s free, high-speed Wi-Fi as well as enjoy a selection of live TV channels and an extensive library of seatback entertainment.
Seats feature easy-to-reach in-seat power from AC and USB-C outlets and customers will be able to customize their inflight meals from the seatback screen.
The A321LR allows airlines to access long-haul markets not previously accessible to single-aisle aircraft and the withdrawal from the trans-Atlantic market of Norwegian Air opens up further opportunities for JetBlue’s competitive offering.
It is looking at routes such as New York -London and Boston-London and reports last month suggested it had secured slots at London’s Heathrow airport for the northern summer season with speculation it could launch in August. The airline also had slots secured at Gatwick.