JetBlue inaugurated their first Airbus A321neo (tail number N2002J) yesterday, with service from New York (JFK) to Fort Lauderdale, Florida (FLL). The aircraft has been named “David Neeleman” in honor of the company’s founder, a prolific airline industry entrepreneur and veteran.
In a JFK Terminal 5 ceremony attended by Mr. Neeleman yesterday, JetBlue’s first Airbus A321neo named in his honor was inaugurated. The first flight of the new aircraft was designated flight #1 and it retraced the very first JetBlue revenue flight 20 years ago from New York to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The event was also attended by JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes and President and Chief Operation Officer Joanna Geraghty. The JetBlue Press Release describes how the company collaborated with Mr. Neeleman in the design of the tail livery of the new aircraft. The selected design includes “five” different colored blue balloons, signifying the five-values Mr. Neeleman brought to JetBlue including safety, caring, integrity passion and fun. In a statement at the event JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said,
“David Neeleman’s vision is as relevant today as it was 20 years ago, and today we honor his contributions to JetBlue. He set us on a course to lead the industry in customer comfort and amenities, and today we’re proud to continue in that tradition by introducing this new aircraft that’s both fuel efficient and features our most advanced cabin design. JetBlue’s new A321neo boasts features such as the widest and most comfortable seats available for this aircraft type, and a host of thoughtful design elements that are meant to enhance customer comfort and help our crewmembers deliver award-winning service.”
They say that time heals old wounds, so perhaps this touching gesture will help complete the healing process. Mr. Neeleman has been very candid about how painful his departure from JetBlue had been. You might recall that after weather related operational failures at the airline in the Winter of 2007, Mr. Neeleman was replaced as CEO by JetBlue President David Barger, though he remained chairman. A year later, he stepped down as chairman and announced his plans to launch a new airline called Azul (Portuguese for blue) in Brazil. Since then he has taken an equity stake in TAP Air Portugal and is currently preparing to launch an all new U.S. regional airline code-named 'Moxy'.
JetBlue’s New A321neo
The included video, courtesy of JetBlue, details the layout of their new A321neo’s. Some of the features included in the cabin refresh are a new welcome area, mood lighting, uplifting boarding music, new seats with memory foam and adjustable headrests, redesigned seatback pockets with “gadget panel” storage, USB and AC power ports at every seat and an all new pantry. “The Pantry” is an inflight snack bar where passengers can stretch their legs and grab a complimentary beverage or additional snacks. The inflight seatback entertainment system includes new HD seatback screens with over 100 DIRECTV channels. Passengers can even use their own personal device as a remote control. Additionally, the new A321neo is equipped with ViaSat-2, which expands Wi-Fi coverage. JetBlue already offers free high-speed Wi-Fi on every aircraft.