JetBlue emphasizes its attributes to open dogfight with Southwest

LONG BEACH, CA: JetBlue is taking on Southwest Airlines and other discount carriers with a campaign emphasizing unique amenities instead of prices.

LONG BEACH, CA: JetBlue is taking on Southwest Airlines and other discount carriers with a campaign emphasizing unique amenities instead of prices.

Two-year-old JetBlue, whose newly established West Coast hub puts it in direct competition with Southwest for the first time, hopes to steal business travelers from its new rival by positioning itself as a premium option over Southwest's stripped-down aesthetic and unassigned seats.

In a press launch last week for routes to Las Vegas and Salt Lake City from Long Beach, CA, New York-based JetBlue stressed the DirecTV screens in the backs of its leather-clad seats, as well as its assigned seats and in-flight service. JetBlue VP of corporate communications Gareth Edmonson-Jones said that as a low-fare carrier, JetBlue is "anything but no-frills."

JetBlue soft-launched five routes from Long Beach in early September, but withheld PR support, as it came in the run-up to the one-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

The launch of the two routes included an SMT featuring JetBlue president David Barger and a photo op with the Las Vegas Showgirls on the airline's inaugural flight to Las Vegas. Barger interviewed with several outlets, and the launch won coverage in USA Today, The New York Times, and on 60 Minutes.

- See analysis, p. 9.

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