Aviation News

March 11, 2014

JetBlue Brings New Flights and Help to Motown

Monday was a special day in Detroit, for travelers and children alike.  JetBlue Airways launched their new service between Detroit Metro Airport and Boston with a celebration at gate D15 in the North Terminal at DTW, complete with local delicacies, a water

JetBlue and DTW officials perform the ceremonial ribbon cutting at Gate D15

JetBlue and DTW officials perform the ceremonial ribbon cutting at Gate D15

canon salute, and a taste of the Motown sound. “We’re celebrating here at DTW today, this is a big deal, this is the first new airline we’ve added since 2005” said airport public affairs director Michael Conway. “This is very important to our customers” he later added.  Important indeed, as before JetBlue showed up, Delta was the only carrier providing non-stop flights between the two cities.

Marty St. George, the Vice President of Marketing at JetBlue said that the carrier had been interested in Detroit for quite some time  “We’re looking forward to Detroit, it’s a market that’s had high prices for a long time, and it’s perfect for JetBlue.  We may not have 500 flights to all around the world, but on the flights you do get on JetBlue, we guarantee you’ll have the best experience of any airline in North America”

JetBlue will serve Detroit from Boston with three round trip flights daily, using the 100-seat Embraer 190, which like all JetBlue aircraft, is equipped with 36 channels of DirecTV programming and 100 channels of SiriusXM radio at every seat. Detroit marks the 85th city that JetBlue services, and is the airline’s 52nd non-stop route from its growing hub at Boston’s Logan International Airport.

Detroit holds a special place in the collective hearts of JetBlue.  David Barger, JetBlue President and CEO, calls Detroit his hometown.  Another member of the JetBlue family, Ian Deason, the Vice President of Airports also hails from the area. “There is nothing that makes me feel as good as working for this company for the past 8 years, and then finally, finally dropping a JetBlue plane here into good old Detroit… I love this town so much and it just means so much to me to come back here with a company and a brand that I just truly love…Detroiters need JetBlue.  It’s gonna be great.”

By all accounts, the highlight of Monday’s celebration was not only the inaugural service, but also the community involvement, something which JetBlue calls “Inspiring Humanity”.  Once the gate-side celebration wound down, about 15 JetBlue crewmembers loaded into cars and headed to Detroit’s inner city to deliver some much needed supplies, along with a planeload of humanity, to Burns Elementary and Middle School .

First Office Jim Anderson reads to a group of children

First Office Jim Anderson reads to a group of children

Marty St. George explained the need for the side trip this way “We want to make sure we are a citizen, because it’s not just about going in the market and taking customers out, we want to make sure we contribute and make the markets a little bit better too.” The employees brought with them more than 600 new books, more than the school’s library can hold.  They also gave each of the 447 students a book of their own to take home.  In addition to the books, JetBlue donated 28 laptop computers to the school.  Dwayne Richardson, the Principal of Burns Elementary and Middle School was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from JetBlue, “This donation provides Burns an opportunity to take our students wherever they want to go.  JetBlue has been so gracious to donate to us and our students are so excited about it, as is our staff.  We find that a book can take a child anywhere, and with the limited resources that education has, we have to look for companies to come in and provide donations, and JetBlue just reached out and did such a wonderful job, and we are just so appreciative of it.”

Once the books and laptops were brought in, the JetBlue crewmembers then each picked out a few new books from the library, and went to some classrooms to read to the students.  Katie O’Donnell, a second grade teacher and organizer of the event was awestruck by what she was witnessing “A day like this is exciting because it gives my students more opportunity to see things that they haven’t seen before.  It gives them choice in their reading material, and helps advance their reading, writing, and learning skills.”

 

The ground crew readies "Blue State of Mind" for its return flight to Boston

The ground crew readies “Blue State of Mind” for its return flight to Boston

JetBlue becomes the 13th carrier to operate out of DTW, which handles more than 32 million passengers each year, occupying nearly half a million flights.  Delta is the dominant carrier at the airport, operating a large hub inherited from its 2008 merger with Northwest Airlines. While low-cost carriers Southwest and Spirit have sizable operations at DTW, the airport typically ranks among the top 1/3 in highest average domestic airfare. The addition of another low-cost airline in JetBlue gives Detroit-area travelers some low-fare options to Boston and other cities along the east coast.

If Monday’s events are any indicator, JetBlue will be a welcome addition to Detroit, and begin a long and fruitful relationship for everyone involved.

 

 

(All photos courtesy of the author)

Ken McQuillan is a contributor to NYCAviation.com, and an aerial photojournalist, based in Detroit, MI.  Follow Ken on twitter: @FlyingCinematog



About the Author

Ken McQuillan





 
 

 

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  • Rita Sitron

    Does Jet Blue have plans to fly other places besides Boston?