Is JetBlue a Good Airline?

JetBlue is a middle-of-the-pack carrier with free Wi-Fi and solid legroom — but also poor operational reliability.
Lee Huffman
By Lee Huffman 
Published
Edited by Giselle M. Cancio

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Travelers have many airlines to choose from when booking a flight. While some are interested in getting the cheapest fare, others want specific amenities or the ability to collect miles from a certain airline alliance.

U.S.-based JetBlue Airways flies to most major American cities and also serves the Caribbean, Central America, South America and Europe. But is JetBlue a good airline?

Learn more about the in-flight experience, what sets JetBlue apart and other things to consider when choosing to fly with JetBlue.

JetBlue came in seventh out of nine airlines in the best overall airline category in NerdWallet’s most recent analysis of the best airlines.

It did slightly better in a separate analysis that looked at which airline offered the best loyalty program to its customers, with True Blue coming in at fourth place.

Here's a closer look at how JetBlue competed across subcategories:

What is JetBlue like?

When choosing an airline, you’ll want to evaluate such factors as the in-flight experience, the value of its loyalty program, and the ease of booking and checking in. Here are a few things to know about flying with JetBlue.

Classes of service

JetBlue offers three primary classes of service for travelers: economy, Even More Space and Mint.

Blue fares are the traditional economy-class ticket, but customers can customize the economy experience by selecting Blue Basic, Blue Plus or Blue Extra fares:

  • Blue Basic is JetBlue's version of basic economy.

  • Blue Plus tickets include one free checked bag.

  • Blue Extra includes priority security screening (where available), early boarding, same-day confirmed changes, free standby and advance seat selection.

Even More Space seats provide up to seven inches more legroom. This fare also includes early boarding and priority security access at select airports.

Mint is the airline’s equivalent to first class; seats are lie-flat with premium bedding and amenities. On newer plane configurations, the front-row Mint Studio offers an even larger private area, including space for a companion in another seat to dine with you. Mint class isn't available on all routes or planes; you're most likely to find it on transatlantic flights or on some coast-to-coast, Caribbean and Latin America routes.

Making reservations

Travelers can book reservations on JetBlue through the airline’s website, mobile app, over the phone or at the airport counter. JetBlue’s app is available for both Apple and Android devices.

You can call JetBlue ticketing at 800-JETBLUE (800-538-2583) in the United States 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to book flights. Outside the U.S., JetBlue customer service phone numbers vary based on where you’re calling from. Visit the JetBlue customer service page to find the correct phone number. There's a $25 fee when booking flights over the phone or via chat.

Check-in

It is best to check in to your flight 24 hours before departure. The fastest way to check in is through JetBlue.com or the airline’s mobile app. Passengers can also check in at the airport at self-service kiosks or ticketing counters.

Boarding

JetBlue boards its aircraft in 10 different boarding groups. Travelers with disabilities can pre-board, followed by Mosaic and Mint passengers. Even More Space customers follow in Group A, then active military and travelers with young children can board. Groups B through F then board in order, with any remaining passengers boarding last. (How do you know which of those groups you'll be in? The airline says your boarding group is “determined by seat location and check-in to optimize boarding times.")

Loyalty program

The JetBlue loyalty program is called TrueBlue. Previously it offered only two status levels, member and Mosaic. However, the airline recently introduced multiple levels of Mosaic elite status to better recognize frequent flyers and provide extra benefits to customers who fly more often. Four levels of Mosaic status are now available.

Other things to consider

Beyond the in-flight experience and the process of booking your ticket, consider these factors when choosing which airline is best for you:

Destinations

JetBlue primarily flies to the U.S., the Caribbean and Latin America, though it recently began offering transatlantic flights to Europe, with service to the U.K., Paris and Amsterdam. Its domestic hubs are in Boston, Ft. Lauderdale, New York-John F. Kennedy, Los Angeles and Orlando. The all-coastal hub system can sometimes mean a lengthy routing between your departure and destination cities. For example, a flight from Nashville to Chicago might transit through Boston.

Partner airlines

JetBlue is not a member of any of the major alliances. However, it does have direct partnerships with numerous carriers, including Hawaiian Airlines, Icelandair, JSX, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and South African Airways. The Northeast Alliance, a partnership between JetBlue and American Airlines, ended on July 21, 2023.

Airfare cost

JetBlue started as a low-cost carrier and continues to put downward pressure on prices in the markets it serves. Although it's no longer a discount airline, it offers regular sales with one-way fares as low as $59. The airline includes premium snacks, free Wi-Fi and generally more legroom in economy compared with other domestic airlines.

TrueBlue value

You can earn points through the JetBlue loyalty program based on how much you spend with the airline. You'll earn at least two TrueBlue points per dollar on airfare booked through its website or mobile app. Booking a JetBlue vacation package earns at least six points per dollar, and you can earn points with JetBlue partners as well. Mosaic members and JetBlue cardholders can earn up to 15 points per dollar.

Members can redeem points for award flights. The number of points you'll spend is tied directly to the cash price of the fare, so there's no award chart, but on average JetBlue points are worth 1.5 cents apiece.

If you don't have enough points to book your flight, you can use a combination of cash and points to complete your reservation.

Safety ratings

In its 2023 safety ratings, AirlineRatings.com rated JetBlue seven out of seven stars, and it earned perfect scores in all categories. These ratings factor in whether an airline has been fatality-free in the past 10 years, whether there have been any pilot-related incidents in the past five years and whether it has passed all of its major audits.

In AirlineRatings.com’s ranking of the top airlines in the world, JetBlue came in 18th place.

Reliability

According to U.S. Bureau of Transportation statistics, JetBlue canceled 4% of its flights in 2022, and 31% of its flights were late. Of the delayed flights, the average departure delay was 74 minutes and the average arrival delay was 77 minutes.

In the June 2023 Air Travel Consumer Report, JetBlue ranked sixth out of 10 airlines for mishandled baggage. It mishandled 0.49 bags per 100 checked bags, an improvement from the prior year's rate of 0.66 bags mishandled per 100.

Customer satisfaction

JetBlue consistently performs well in customer satisfaction surveys. Based on the 2023 J.D. Power North America Airline Satisfaction Study, JetBlue ranked highest in customer satisfaction in the first/business class segment for the second consecutive year. It also ranked in the top three for its premium economy and economy offerings.

However, it performed poorly in the 2023 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI), dropping from first to fifth place due to changes in the way the airline issues travel credits.

Who should avoid JetBlue Airlines?

JetBlue offers many appealing features, but it isn't the best airline for all travelers. Consider choosing a different airline if:

  • You don't live near a hub. JetBlue routes many of its flights through Boston, New York, Florida and Los Angeles. You might encounter some out-of-the-way routings if you live elsewhere, given the lack of hubs in the middle of the country.

  • You want outsize value from your reward points. JetBlue point redemption costs are tied directly to cash fares, so niche opportunities to get excellent value from your points like you'd see on some other domestic airlines aren't available with JetBlue.

If you’re considering flying JetBlue

Is JetBlue good? It all depends on where you live and where you want to fly.

While JetBlue serves more than 100 destinations, its coastal hub network can lead to awkward routings. The airline offers low fares, excellent legroom in economy and free Wi-Fi for all passengers.

Although you'll get a predictably decent redemption value for your points, the opportunities for outsize value aren't there. Be mindful, too, of the airline's relatively poor operational performance.

(Top photo courtesy of JetBlue Airways)


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