JetBlue finally refreshing their old A320s: the good news and the bad news.
UPDATE: TPG has a full review of a 'Phase 1' retrofitted plane
The good news
- the seatback in-flight entertainment (IFE) screen is getting a lot bigger and HD
- they're installing their Fly-Fi free high-speed Wi-Fi
- the IFE now supports multiple languages for audio tracks
- the IFE also has support for streaming video content
- all seats will have power and USB ports
The bad news
- Regular economy seats are losing 2 full inches of seat pitch (though the slimmer seat materials might mitigate that a bit)
- Those slimmer seats will likely be less comfortable than the previous ones
- Galleys and lavatories are being moved so they can add 12 more seats to each plane
- The new 32" seat pitch will still let them claim "most legroom in coach" but their big differentiator of "our Economy seats have as much pitch as United/Delta/AA's Economy Plus seats" is gone.
- I wonder what this will do to their fares – the tighter seats and no free checked bag are pushing downward on their fares, but the horrible interiors on the Big 3's brand new planes (seriously, United's 737-Max will have no seatback entertainment at all) and "Basic Economy" fares are pushing right back up.
- Speaking of Basic Economy, I wonder how long until their board pressures them to offer it. UPDATE: As of Sept 2018, they've announced that Basic Economy is going to happen. They finally caved a few years ago and started charging for checked bags because their board didn't want them "leaving money on the table".
- The tighter seats will likely push more people to upgrade to Even More Space. I'm 6'1 and 34" is the minimum pitch for me to feel not cramped. Currently, so few people upgrade to EMS that I find the biggest bonus is that I often have no one sitting next to me.