JetBlue Airways is relaunching its vacation package unit, with new perks like change fee waivers, priority boarding, free inflight cocktails, and a support desk and greeter service for travelers after they arrive.
While some amenities, such as a resort credit of up to $600, have long been a staple of the JetBlue Vacations product, the newest benefits are aimed at giving customers the kind of personalized service that most bundled vacation packages lack, airline executives said at a press briefing in New York.
JetBlue Travel Products President Andres Barry said that the decision to reboot the program was based on input from consumers. “The message was that it was a good product, but it could be better,” he said.
Removing potential pain points from the trip is another motive, he said. Key among the new services are a 24/7 support line for customers, plus priority boarding, wherein vacation customers can board with Group B, regardless of their seat assignment. And under the new change fee policy, those booked on a vacation package can make a change to their air travel reservations with no fees, up to seven days before departure.
Other services will be phased in gradually, starting with the most popular destinations. For example, a new “Insider Experience” program featuring the services of a local guide and complimentary airport transfers, is currently available in Aruba and Punta Cana; Cancun will be added in February.
On the lodging side, the company is partnering with individual hotels to offer customers a package of benefits, including room and restaurant discounts, guaranteed late checkout and even complimentary minibar access. Participating properties will be flagged on the JetBlue Vacations site with a “VIP” label (with the “P” standing for perks, not people, the company explained.)
JetBlue’s packages are available, in some form, at most of the destinations on its route map, executives said, noting that even though the airline’s planned service to London is not expected to start until next year, the carrier is already working on partnerships with hotels in the British capital.
JetBlue Travel Products, a subsidiary that includes the vacation program, is also working on other innovations aimed at both leisure and business passengers, including a partnership with Avis, and a new group travel tool.
Furthermore, the company is on the verge of announcing a new payment tool with an unnamed “major financial institution," Barry said.