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JetBlue Expands Premium Service After Failed Virgin Bid

After losing a bid to buy rival Virgin America VA, JetBlue Airways JBLU announced Tuesday that it plans to expand its premium “Mint” service. The transcontinental service will add destinations along the West Coast, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Seattle.

Last week, news broke that Alaska Air ALK won the bidding for Virgin America and will acquire the company for $2.6 billion. This will expand Alaska Air’s regional dominance to the entire West Coast, and JetBlue’s move today seems like a response to this.

(Also Read: After Virgin-Alaska Deal, Which Airline Stocks are Buys?)

The “Mint” premium service includes seats with additional room, early boarding, free Wi-Fi, special meals, and a new entertainment system.

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

Along with the expansion along the West Coast, JetBlue also said that it would increase options to existing Mint routes in Boston and New York. In total, there will be 55 Mint flights per day once the expansion is finished.

Meanwhile, Virgin America founder and flashy billionaire Richard Branson has claimed that he will resist Alaska Air’s takeover if the company plans to discontinue the Virgin brand. Alaska Air has not yet revealed its plans for the purchase.

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JETBLUE AIRWAYS (JBLU): Free Stock Analysis Report
ALASKA AIR GRP (ALK): Free Stock Analysis Report
VIRGIN AMERICA (VA): Free Stock Analysis Report
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