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Yesterday was the day that JetBlue opened up bookings on its new route between New York JFK and Paris, and while it was nice to see the airline offering special discounted rates to publicize its new flights, it was a little odd to find that JetBlue had failed to highlight one key issue that some customers will face when trying to book.
Customers heading over to JetBlue’s website to book a trip from New York to Paris probably haven’t been facing any issues, but anyone looking to use jetblue.com to book a trip that originates in Paris will have found that booking travel is impossible. Jetblue.com keeps saying that all seats have been sold out.
At first, I assumed that this was down to an issue with the website and that this would be resolved pretty quickly, but when after a few hours the issue still hadn’t gone away, I put out a tweet to see if JetBlue’s was aware of the problem.
This was the airline’s reply:
Apparently, JetBlue is only able/permitted/willing (I have no idea which) to sell fares on its new Paris route for travel originating in the United States.
I have never encountered a situation like this before and it struck me as strange that JetBlue hadn’t bothered to address this “little problem” in its press release.
It turns out, however, that the problem *was* addressed in the press release, but it was addressed subtly enough that I suspect most people probably didn’t notice.
This is what JetBlue’s press release has to say about bookings for US-originating travelers:
“Seats on the new Paris route are on sale starting today with low fares for U.S.-originating travelers starting at $479 roundtrip for the airline’s award-winning core experience and starting at $1,899 for JetBlue’s premium Mint experience, available on jetblue.com.”
And this is what the press release has to say about bookings for travelers originating in France:
“France-originating travelers can enjoy special introductory roundtrip fares starting at €399 for core and €1,299 for Mint when booked through their preferred travel agent or online travel provider.”
Can you spot the key to the issue?
For U.S.-originating travelers, JetBlue discusses fares “available on jetblue.com” while for France-originating travelers, JetBlue discusses fares “booked through [a customer’s] preferred travel agent or online travel provider“.
If you want to book JetBlue’s new route and you’re originating in Paris, you’ll have to book using an agent. You cannot book on jetblue.com even if that happens to be your “preferred online travel provider”.
Note: Assuming JetBlue’s twitter team knows what it’s talking about, there may also be a way of booking by using the “contact us” page on jetblue.com.
All of this is very, very, odd, but far as I can tell, this odd situation doesn’t end there.
When I checked the UK version of the Booking.com website, I found this fantastic Business Class fare originating in Paris:
But when I used my VPN to open up the French version of Booking.com, no JetBlue fares were availabe on the exact same dates of travel.
Also, if you use a price comparison site like SkyScanner to search for JetBlue’s new route (as a customer originating in Paris), you’ll find that while on some dates amazing deals are available, on other dates no fares appear at all (in Business or Economy class) despite the fact that seats for those dates are being sold on jetblue.com as part of itineraries originating in NYC.
All of this seems more than a little weird and I have to admit that I have absolutely no idea what’s going on. If anyone can shed any light on this situation, please post your thoughts in the comments section below this article.
Lastly, and as a side note, I should also point out that you can ignore what JetBlue has had to say about the introductory fares available out of Paris.
If you can find availability via an OTA, you’ll find that there are a good number of dates on which round-trip Business Class fares can be booked for far less than the JetBlue press release suggests.
As you can see from the first Booking.com screenshot posted above, Business Class (Mint) can be booked from £879/€987 (round-trip) and that’s a lot better than the €1,299 fare that’s being promoted by JetBlue’s press release.
For reasons that remain unclear to me, it is currently not possible to book JetBlue’s new Paris route on jetblue.com if your trip is originating in France. If your travels are starting in the US, you shouldn’t have any issues, but if you’re starting out in France, you’ll either have to book through an OTA or a regular travel agent or you can try contacting JetBlue via the jetblue.com contact page. Good luck!
Very interesting post! One (somewhat silly) question: how did you get to the UK version of the Booking.com website? Thank you!
I use my VPN to “fool” the Booking.com website into thinking that I’m accessing it from whatever country I want it to think I’m in. In this case I could use it to make it think I was in the UK or in France.
P.S Not a silly question at all 🙂
Possibly because they don’t offer the website in French and thus are not allowed to legally operate the site in France for French consumers