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Finding the best airline is tricky, especially if you don’t have much experience flying. With many airlines experiencing extra challenges, it can be hard for potential customers to know where to choose. Our Alaska Airlines vs JetBlue comparison may help you if you’re struggling to decide between the two.
Having flown on each of these carriers before, I think there are benefits to both airlines. While neither is perfect, they have some advantages. Sometimes, I want to hop onto a cheap flight, and I’m not worried about frills and extras. In those moments, you want to have options like Alaska Airlines and JetBlue to choose from. I’ll go through the main differences and then discuss each in more detail.
The Bottom Line Up Front
In my opinion, I’d go for Alaska Airlines. There are pros and cons to both. The lack of in-flight entertainment is a problem if you don’t want to bring your device, but they have better seating and fewer hidden charges. There are some benefits to JetBlue, though, including budget flights and some nice extras if you go for more expensive tickets. We’ll go through that a little later in this article, so stay tuned if you want to find out my thoughts on that.
The Main Differences Between Alaska Airlines vs JetBlue
The main differences between Alaska Airlines and JetBlue are:
- Alaska Airlines offers three types of seats, whereas JetBlue offers five types
- Alaska Airlines has slightly more up-to-date seats, whereas JetBlue’s economy seats are particularly dated
- Alaska Airlines doesn’t have seat-back entertainment, whereas JetBlue does
- Alaska Airlines may be more pricey, whereas JetBlue offers some super-cheap flights
- Alaska Airlines First Class isn’t that special, whereas JetBlue has some great features for their highest-priced seats
Alaska Airlines vs JetBlue – Which One Should You Go For?
I’ll give you a rundown of the basic services you can expect from both, and then I’ll give you my opinion on what I like and dislike about them. Hopefully, this will help you to draw your conclusions on which one to pick (although I’ll give my opinion on which one I prefer, too). Let’s start by looking at Alaska Airlines!
Alaska Airlines is the sixth-largest airline in North America. It mainly connects the Pacific Northwest, West Coast, and Alaska. You can travel to over one hundred destinations using Alaska Airlines, including the US, Hawaii, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, and Mexico. Alaska Airlines has a fleet of 342 aircraft (at the time of writing), with the majority being the Boeing 747. They offer three types of fares: Saver, Main, and First Class.
Saver is the most basic, and it’s the one I’d go for if I were on a tight budget. There are some drawbacks, though: you get last dibs on overhead storage, you board last, and there are limited Mileage Plan Elite benefits.
The seats on the Saver tier are okay. They’re what I’d expect from an economy ticket: a little legroom but pretty narrow. You won’t be able to select seats beyond the few available at the back, and you won’t be able to change or cancel your tickets. Their economy seats do have in-seat power. You can use the universal power outlet and USB port to keep your devices charged.
The Main tickets offer a little more flexibility. This is the price point I would personally go for. I feel it’s worth it for the ability to change my flights if needed. You can also choose your seats from the middle section, which is a plus, and you’ll be second in line after the First Class passengers to get overhead storage access. The seats are better than the Saver tier, offering more leg room and a little more width. The seats are made from leather and are pretty nice to use.
Is it worth paying for a First Class ticket on Alaska Airlines? Well, that’s entirely subjective, of course. Some benefits include being the first to board, the first to access overhead storage, priority seating, and flight changes. The seating is variable. The First Class seating is comfortable and padded, but some seats only recline slightly, which is an issue if you’re on a sleeper flight. The seating is roomy and comfortable with built-in chargers, and you’ll have access to a drinks table too.
I don’t know if Alaska Airlines can compare when it comes to First Class seating. For example, you won’t get seat-back entertainment, and other airlines offer extras like fully reclining seats and blankets/pillows. I’m not sure it’s worth paying extra for First Class with Alaska Airlines, at least not at full price. If you can use air miles or get some discount, that might be a different story.
Speaking of in-flight entertainment, I wanted to add something about what Alaska offers. They don’t offer seat-back in-flight entertainment in any of their seats, so you will need to bring your device. This device can connect to Alaska’s wifi, and then you’ll have access to their streaming content.
Alaska used to offer individual devices for customers to use, but since Covid, they require customers to bring their own. This is a small thing, but it’s worth mentioning if you’re planning a flight with them. I’d recommend bringing a tablet or something similar to save your eyes from squinting at your smartphone for the whole flight. Either that, or you’ll need to bring a book or listen to music to stay occupied on the flight.
Let’s take a look at the main selling points of Alaska Airlines.
- The service is great. The staff here are helpful and friendly, and they’re happy to chat during the flight when they are available.
- The food is great, especially in First Class!
- They offer rewards, including Mileage Plan Elite benefits. These include two free checked bags, bonus miles, faster lines, and priority boarding.
- Their flagship lounge in Seattle is great. The First Class lounge has an incredible bar with free drinks, free coffee, comfortable seating, and super-fast wifi. (If you’re into airport lounges, check out our guide to the Best Airport Lounges in the World!)
Here are the main features I like about Alaska Airlines:
- The seating is pretty comfortable
- Their entertainment options are good if you have your device to hand
- Their Mileage Plan Elite is worth signing up for, as they have some useful rewards
- The food and service are pretty decent
- The First Class lounge in Seattle is a highlight
Here are the things I don’t like about Alaska Airlines:
- The lack of seat-back entertainment
- The limited legroom in the Saver class
- The lack of ‘fancy extras’ in the First Class seating, which in my opinion, is a huge reason why I want to travel First Class!
Let’s take a look at what other travelers had to say about Alaska Airlines.
- Many passengers loved the service, with one customer stating that they have ‘super service’
- One passenger hated the boarding music, saying, ‘take it away please, it’s unbearable!’
- Another customer loved the service but noted that it’s probably not worth paying for extra legroom unless you are very tall
- A couple of customers had problems with lost baggage, which is worth noting
JetBlue is the seventh-largest airline in North America. The headquarters are in Queens, but it also has corporate offices in Florida and Utah. JetBlue is known for being a low-cost airline, so it’s good for those looking to travel on a budget.
JetBlue has 285 aircraft in its fleet at the time of writing, with the majority being from the Airbus A320-200 family. They have a whole bunch of seating options, with varying benefits depending on what you need, so let’s take a quick look at those:
The economy seating for JetBlue. Blue Basic offers a no-frills flight experience. You won’t be allowed a carry-on bag (unless you’re on a flight to or from London), checked bags are not included in the price, you have to pay for advanced seat selection, and you’ll be the last onto the flight.
The seats are, it has to be said, pretty cheap. I’d go for this option if I wanted to take a quick flight and I was trying to keep the costs down. The seats are comfortable but dated, which is what I’d expect from the economy tier.
This is what I’d call the lower-standard tier. A little nicer than Blue Basic, it offers 1 carry-on bag, it includes advanced seat selection for free, and you’ll be part of the General boarding, so you won’t be the last on board. The seats are still cheap, which is great.
There are a few advantages to Blue Plus. You get 1 checked bag included, no-fee cancellations, and you’ll be part of the general boarding. I’d probably go for this one for a regular flight. Including the checked bag helps to keep the costs down, and the seats are still pretty decent in terms of pricing.
Blue Extra is the one to go for if you want to cover your back. It offers same-day switches and same-day standby and has the extra advantage of early boarding. You’ll board pretty quickly, too. I hate waiting around, so this is a bonus to me.
You will have to pay more for these advantages, but it’s worth it for a longer flight, or if there’s any chance you may have to cancel at the last moment. The weird thing is that checked bags aren’t included (unless you’re on a flight to or from London), so that’s a downside. You will get more legroom and comfortable seating, which is a bonus. I’d recommend Blue Extra if you need to book flights for business trips, as it’s convenient, and you get fast boarding.
Further Read: JetBlue Blue vs Blue Extra: Which is Better Value?
Mint is the last tier. It offers 2 checked bags and early boarding. This is probably the best one to go for if you don’t think you’ll need to cancel or switch at the last minute (these privileges cost extra on this tier). Mint offers some amazing seating. You’ll have your compartment, with a sliding door for privacy, and the seats convert into a bed, with extra padding for comfort.
Here are a few more selling points of JetBlue:
- The entertainment is good. You’ll have access to seat-back entertainment on every price tier, with a selection of movies to choose from.
- The customer service is pretty good. It could be improved, but it’s decent, given the price point.
- They have a good rewards program, and you can rack up your points quickly using their travel, retail, and credit card partners. You can use these to get money off flights and other bonuses.
Here are the main highlights I want to talk about:
- The pricing is great if you want to fly on a budget. Sometimes I’m not concerned with the flight experience. I just want to get from one place to another quickly and cheaply. JetBlue is great for that
- The seating is decent enough, especially in the more expensive tiers
- They have some good options if you need flexibility with your flights
- The in-flight entertainment is good. I’d say it’s better than Alaska Airlines.
Here are the things I would improve about:
- Customer service could be improved
- There are extra charges which can trip you up if you’re not careful
- The seating for the economy tier is pretty dated
What do other travelers think about JetBlue? Let’s take a look:
- The customer service is mixed. One customer was very disappointed, saying that they wouldn’t recommend flying with JetBlue for this reason.
- Another customer said that ‘every flight I have taken with JetBlue has been late,’ which is something to watch out for!
- Another customer praised the entertainment and in-flight customer service, stating, ‘the flight attendants are friendly.
- Most customers were happy with the in-flight entertainment and enjoyed the wide selection available.
The Verdict: Alaska Airlines or JetBlue?
As always, there’s an element of personal choice here. What suits me might not suit you, and vice versa. However, I’d probably go for Alaska Airlines if I had to choose. While the lack of in-flight entertainment sucks, the seating is a little better, there are fewer hidden charges, and I think the customer service is better.
There are some upsides to JetBlue, though. I’d still pick them if I needed to take a flight on a tight budget. But it’s worth keeping an eye on those hidden fees, which can make the flights appear cheaper than they are. Overall, my winner is Alaska Airlines, but both airlines have pros and cons.
Alternative Airlines to Try
You might want to try another airline, in which case you could check out these:
- If you’ve got a bigger budget to work with, you might want to try American Airlines. They have excellent in-flight entertainment, free snacks, and drinks on all price tiers, and the Premium seats have comfortable beds for overnight flights. Check out our British Airways vs American Airlines comparison for more details.
- If you want extra legroom, you could try Delta airlines. Their Delta Comfort Plus seats have extra space, as well as comfortable seats, upgraded snacks, and more.
- If you’re on a shorter flight and you’re traveling around Europe, you could try KLM, as you might get a bargain seat. Read our KLM vs Air France comparison if you want to find out more.
Answer: Yes, JetBlue is considered to be a budget airline, on par with Virgin, Frontier, and other similar airlines.
Answer: This is an exciting question. Alaska Airlines does not have row 14 on some of its planes. According to some, it’s because the number 14 sounds like ‘will die’ in Chinese, so they avoid having a row of 14 for that reason. Other people say it'”s for consistency reasons.
Whatever the reason, it’s pretty interesting! Also, you might notice the number 13 missing too. This is considered an unlucky number in lots of cultures, which is why some hotels don’t have room 13, for example.
Answer: No, JetBlue is still independent and isn’t owned by any larger company.
Answer: Alaska Airlines is owned by Alaska Air Group, which also owns Horizon Air, a regional carrier, and an aircraft ground handling company called McGee Air Services.
I hope this has helped you to decide which one is best for you! While I’d probably go for Alaska Airlines for a mid-priced seat, there are some situations where I’d want to choose JetBlue. For example, if I wanted to go all out, I’d go for JetBlue because their most expensive seats are better.
But in general, better customer service just tips Alaska Airlines into the winning category this time!
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