JetBlue plans to widen premium Mint service after losing a tender to purchase Virgin America

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Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 10:40 AM

JetBlue said Tuesday that it plans to widen its favorite transcontinental service, dubbed Mint, at major W Coast destinations including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle.

JetBlue plans to widen premium Mint service after losing a tender to purchase Virgin America

LOS ANGELES - Despite losing a tender to purchase California-based Virgin America, JetBlue Airways isn't giving up in the battle for high-paying fliers from the Golden State.

JetBlue said Tuesday that it plans to widen its favorite transcontinental service, dubbed Mint, at major W Coast destinations including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle.

The news comes one week after AK Air Group, the parent company of AK Airlines, outbid JetBlue to acquire Virgin America for $2.6 billion. The proposed combination is expected to widen Alaska'south dominance from the Pacific Northwest to the rest of the W Coast.

To compete, JetBlue said West Coast passengers will be able to opt for its premium-class Mint service, which includes additional roomy seats, early boarding privileges, free Wi-Fi, specially prepared meals and a high-tech entertainment system.

Mint seats are favorite with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Hollywood celebrities and other huge spenders - many of the same passengers who favor the mood-lit, high-tech cabins offered to premium customers on Virgin America.

"Our map has long called for strategic growth of Mint on these valuable transcontinental routes, and presently is the right time for us to capture this opportunity to bring much-needed contest where customers are facing dwindling choices," said Robin Hayes, JetBlue'south president and chief executive.

JetBlue said it'd widen Mint service to Las Vegas, San Diego, Seattle and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and would expand existing Mint routes from New York, Boston, LA and San Francisco. All together, JetBlue will fly fifty-five daily Mint departures when the new routes are added between two thousand seventeen and 2018.

Meanwhile, Virgin America'south founder, billionaire Richard Branson, has suggested that he'll keep up a fight if AK decides to absorb Virgin America'south planes and staff and discontinue the brand. AK has said it's yet to determine whether to hold the Virgin America brand separate.

Branson said he's pleased of Virgin America and may determine to launch a new domestic airline to preserve the Virgin America title and reputation.

"My first desire is that they see after the brand really well, and see after the staff really well, but should that not happen, they know clearly that we'll obtain the brand back and we'll arrive back again," he said in an interview with Conde Nast Traveler.

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