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JetBlue’s Premium-Seat Plan Cedes Coach-Only to Southwest

JetBlue Airways Corp. will add premium seats on some transcontinental jets, leaving Southwest Airlines Co. as the lone airline among the seven biggest U.S. carriers with coach-only service.

JetBlue will offer the premium seats and Wi-Fi Internet service on daytime flights between New York’s John F. Kennedy airport and Los Angeles and San Francisco starting next year, Chief Commercial Officer Robin Hayes said today at an investor event in New York.

He didn’t elaborate on how many seats or whether the company plans a separate first-class cabin. The carrier will share more details later this year, he said.

The move will boost revenue and help JetBlue compete with United Continental Holdings Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc. and AMR Corp.’s American Airlines. All three have first-class cabins and compete for passengers in JetBlue’s hometown of New York, the nation’s busiest aviation market.

JetBlue needs premium seats “to be truly competitive” on transcontinental service, Hayes said.

The top route from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport is Los Angeles, followed by San Francisco, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

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