Traditionally, Boston has not been an airline hub. Being so close to New York which is a substantially larger market, it just didn't make sense for any airline to grow a hub in Boston when they could grow a much larger one in New York. Almost all legacy carriers have a New York hub (American and Delta at JFK and Continental at Newark to name a few) and US Airways has a hub just south in Philadelphia.
Additionally, Logan is a relatively cramped and inefficient airport, due primarily to its landlocked location within the city which has precluded true expansion. Such a position has made it an excellent airport for visitors to the city, but a poor one for connecting. And thanks tight quarters, and a Massachusetts penchant for poor efficiency standards, the airport is plagued with delays and slow transfers.
And while Jetblue does call JFK its northeast hub, the number of direct flights from Boston has reached the level of hub status, and not just "focus city" as Jetblue (and a few others) call Boston. Current cities serviced by Jetblue include NY, Austin, Charlotte, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Buffalo, San Jose, Burbank CA (Los Angeles Area), Oakland, Portland Oregon, Raleigh, Seattle, San Jose, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Ft.Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Ft. Myers, Tampa, Newark, San Diego, San Juan, St. Martin, Madeira, Chicago O'Hare, Washington Reagan and the list keeps growing.
One of the reasons why Jetblue may be succeeding is that Boston is a very successful destination airport, no doubt a factor of its numerous universities, hospitals and high tech firms. Boston is also an affluent city whose occupants can afford to fly places and, like its peers in Chicago and New York, is a northern city whose residents tend to make trips south at various times during the winter. And of course Boston is a tourist destination as well, thus clinching its ability to sustain a major airline.
So when you add up a whole bunch of point to point flights from one place, whether by accident or design, you create a hub. My prediction is that Jetblue will very start soon calling Boston a hub and that Boston will very soon start calling Jetblue their home airline.
In the first major terminal expansion since the renovation of Terminal A around the turn of the century, Logan Airport saw a major jump in 2016 with the substantial expansion of Terminal C into what was once the shifting silhouette of Terminal D. Once a makeshift terminal for now defunct Airtran, and then an extention of sorts for Terminal E to service Southwest,
Terminal D is no longer it's own terminal but an expanded arm of the often cramped Terminal C. The new atrium linking C to D features wide open spaces, historical timelines of Boston milestones along the walls, new eats such as Wahlburger and Camden foods.
But perhaps more importantly is the wide open spaces in the gate areas that have been added with charging outlets at virtually every turn, nifty seating and standing areas, and a contemporary feel that reminds one more of a hotel than an airport. If (and we say IF in a big way), jetBlue and Massport continue to modify the gate areas in Terminal C this way, the jetBlue experience has far greater potential to be comfortable and maybe even on time.
But the potential has one more big IF. Because Terminal D is adjacent to Terminal E, Boston's international terminal. Traditionally isolated from the major airline terminals jetBlue may have now linked Terminal E to the extended C. The result would allow jetBlue to become a feeder for international flights, and a potentially easier connection for many than through JFK just down the road. The disadvantage, is that JFK tends to have less expensive flight costs, but the advantage is that Boston is actually slightly closer to Europe than New York, cutting about 25 minutes off a transatlantic flight. Right now we'll hold off on speculation, but suffice it to say that "New Yorks Hometown Airline" seems to be making itself very comfortable in Red Sox territory.
Of course one of the most avoidable airline problems is website performance, and for some reason JetBlue is not just attached to their current buggy website, they claim that the problems don't even exist. But they do and I have experienced them first hand. The usual excuses from JetBlue? As you might expect. Did you clear your cookies? Are you using the latest version of the browser? But as a web guy I already have the latest and greatest of everything - not to mention having the Apple, Windows and Linux versions. And if my technology can't handle JetBlue, how can they expect that the average users will? So, here are a few recurring, multi-platform (ie - same thing happens on my iPAD, my laptop, my desktop):
1) Can't book a flight except from my home town. JetBlue senses your location and plugs in your local airport. But if I try to fly, say from Chicago to LAX, the JetBlue website will continually ask me the destination city, even though I have already plugged it in. As soon as I choose the DATE, the destination clears again.
2) Doesn't show all of the flights. Regularly, when looking for a muti-city flight, JetBlue will not list all of the flights. For example, if I want to go from JFK to Chicago and then Chicago to LA, the website will not list all of the available flights. But if I ask for a one way from JFK to Chicago, it will. Or Chicago to LA, again I can see all available flights. When I go back to trying to book it as a multi-city booking, JetBlue will only list some of the flights.
3) Won't let you change when there is a crisis. Of
course this is the most complained about issue. When JetBlue is
experiencing major system delays and cancellations, and people are
needing to book or change flights, the list of available seats doesn't
show up. Customers complain of having to wait hours on hold with
JetBlue to rebook their flights.
4) Website not loading or
loading too slow. Lets face it, they all run into this. But I have
quite honestly not experienced it as regularly as JetBlue.
Like any big company, JetBlue has managed to mitigate the online complaint list, but this article from CNN Money still lives to tell about the problem. My experiences are my own, and if my late great superfast cleared cookie browser isn't good enough, maybe it's time to dumb the website down just enough so that we can all use it effectively.