Travelers Are Abandoning JetBlue, New Data Shows—Here's Why
The carrier just issued a warning about its revenue for the latest quarter.
Most major U.S. airlines are dealing with a lot of challenges these days. American Airlines is facing a potential strike from its flight attendants, while it's also struggling with a widespread scam over unapproved parts alongside United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. Now, JetBlue is joining the fray with issues of its own—particularly when it comes to passenger bookings. Read on to discover why travelers are abandoning JetBlue.
JetBlue just issued a warning about its revenue.
JetBlue isn't confident in its financial results for its latest quarter. In a Sept. 28 regulatory filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the carrier announced an update of its expected third quarter 2023 results. JetBlue is now anticipating its revenue for the period to "be near the low end" of its previously expected range, according to the filing.
When JetBlue released its financial results for the second quarter, the carrier had already started warning that its outlook for the third quarter wasn't looking as promising, Simple Flying reported. At the time, JetBlue said that revenues for the third quarter could be down by as much as 8 percent compared to the same time period in 2022, according to the news outlet.
The carrier said that certain disruptions have hurt its profits.
In its SEC filing, JetBlue said that both weather and air traffic control problems will likely play a major part in its low financial results for the third quarter. "Air traffic control and weather-related disruptions due to convective activity in the Northeast have been greater than anticipated during the quarter, negatively impacting crew and associated disruption costs and flown revenue," the carrier stated.
According to Reuters, many airlines have struggled with bad weather and air traffic controller shortages this year. In a Sept. 12 interview with the news outlet, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes admitted that the carrier has even had to cut flights because of these issues. "In the short to medium term we have to reduce flights in very impacted airports because the system can't cope with the number of flights today," Hayes told Reuters "We're selling flights that we know we won't be able to operate because of air traffic control (ATC) staffing challenges."
Travelers are not booking as many flights either.
It's not just weather disruptions and air traffic control shortages contributing to the revenue issues, however. In its SEC filing, JetBlue also admitted that travelers have been pulling away from the airline. "In addition, close-in leisure bookings during September have been lower than expected," the carrier stated in the filing.
JetBlue warned at the beginning of August that demand for domestic travel started to drop as the post-pandemic surge dies down, Yahoo Finance reported. "As we head into the third quarter, we continue to see many of the same trends, including strong demand during peak periods. However, during off-peak periods, we are now seeing demand trends normalize," JetBlue COO Joanna Geraghty said at the time. "We have seen fares normalizing back to 2019 levels."
But the carrier announced new changes that may entice travelers.
JetBlue has new perks coming for passengers that could end up bringing things back around for the carrier. Amid a backlash against Delta Airlines over its loyalty program overhaul, JetBlue announced on Sept. 26 that it would be offering a status match for travelers looking to leave its competitor due to the changes. "Feeling 'Blue' about the changes to a once-favorite loyalty program? We've got the answer," the carrier stated, urging travelers to transition away from Delta and to a "new loyalty program" from JetBlue.
But that's not all. JetBlue has also just become the latest airline to guarantee family seating on flights, The Points Guy reported. In a Sept. 27 press release, the carrier said that its new policy will "ensure a traveling child is assigned a seat next to at least one accompanying adult when seats are available" at no additional fee—even for customers who choose JetBlue's basic economy fare.
"We know traveling with young children can add challenges, and we want to do everything we can to put parents and families at ease by providing a smooth trip each time they choose JetBlue," Geraghty said in a statement. "This enhanced family seating policy reflects our commitment to continue to meet the needs of our customers and provide exceptional service."