As part of its Airbus A320 cabin retrofit and restyling program, first announced in November 2014, JetBlue has announced that it is set to introduce a “fully connected in-seat experience”, including a greater focus on connectivity, comfort and space. This project marks JetBlue’s first complete redesign of the interiors on its A320 fleet since the airline launched in 2000.
The cabins of the 130 aircraft have been restyled in a collaboration with the PaulWylde design studio, which also worked on the airline’s A321 interiors which launched in 2014 – a major influence for the A320 cabin design. Thus the popular Pinnacle seat model from B/E Aerospace has again been selected, for reasons of fleet consistency, light weight and its comfort suspension system. JetBlue is also pitching the seats as having “the most legroom in coach”, based on average fleet-wide seat pitch for US airlines.
Above: The new Pinnacle seats on the A320s will feature 10in HD seatback monitors from Thales
The retrofit program will also see JetBlue introduce Airbus’ Space-Flex v2 galley and lavatory module on its A320 and A321 ‘All-Core’ (all economy class) aircraft. The introduction of these galleys will free additional cabin space, requiring a reconfiguration of seating on those aircraft. The new A320 configuration will include 162 seats, revised from the original plan of 165, after a comprehensive review of layout options and feedback from frontline crewmembers who, according to the airline, have been integral to the redesign process. 15 All-Core A321 aircraft will be configured with 200 seats. The A321 Mint aircraft configuration will not change (an economy and business class configuration).
JetBlue and Airbus will add the new Space Flex v2 and seating configuration to all-core A321 aircraft in the second half of 2016. The A320 restyling will begin in early 2017 with completion targeted for 2019.
The connected in-seat experience
Inflight connectivity is a major focus of the new cabins, including free gate-to-gate Fly-Fi high-speed Internet, a new Internet-enabled inflight entertainment (IFE) system, 10in high-definition seatback displays (almost double the size of the screens today), and in-seat power outlets with USB ports. With its A320 fleet, JetBlue says it will become the first domestic US airline to launch an IFE system that connects the seatback display to the aircraft’s wi-fi connection for customer use.
The STV+ streaming television IFE system from Thales was selected by JetBlue, a system built on the Google Android platform, which offers opportunities for custom app and widget development, live content streaming, audio-and-video-on-demand, and personal device pairing.
In addition to streaming content, JetBlue says it will expand the number of DirecTV television channels offered from 36 to more than 100, and will have the capability to offer a library of over 300 on-demand Hollywood films and other content stored locally on the aircraft.
Above: The new seatback displays are nearly double the size of the outgoing models
Passengers will also be able to enjoy gate-to-gate access to Fly-Fi – the airline’s free wireless high-speed Internet service (12 to 20Mbps to each connected device) powered by Thales and ViaSat. As well as Internet access, passengers can also connect to The Hub – JetBlue’s content portal – to access content and stream Amazon Video.
Jamie Perry, vice president of brand and product development at JetBlue stated, “Our customers don’t want to switch off when they take off, so we are continuing to build on our investment in Fly-Fi. Flying JetBlue is more and more like being in your own home – with access to live television and high-speed Internet across multiple screens while relaxing in a comfortable seat with lots of space and all the snacks and soft drinks you want. What you can’t get at home is the award-winning service from our friendly crewmembers.”