Update: Due to the spread of COVID-19, JetBlue has made the following changes to their boarding procedure:
– As of May 4, 2020, all customers must wear face coverings during travel. This includes during check-in, boarding, in-flight, and deplaning.
– Customers will now board by row starting from the back of the aircraft.
– Customers will be asked to remain seated upon arrival until the row in front of them has completely cleared before deplaning.
Headquartered in New York City and with a base of operations at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), JetBlue Airways is quickly becoming a favorite airline of many American travelers.
Though JetBlue doesn’t quite have the route network of the big 3 American carriers, they are constantly expanding — and doing so with style.
JetBlue’s upper-class Mint product is one of the best in terms of comfort and service when getting around the U.S., Caribbean, and Central and South America. They have more comfortable seats, friendlier staff, and nicer amenities than other carriers, all for a reasonable price.
In addition, their economy class seats are at least as good (and often better) than traditional carriers, and service is consistently polished and great.
Because of this, many Americans make an effort to fly JetBlue whenever they can. If the price is comparable and the schedule fits with what you need, it makes sense to choose JetBlue for a better experience.
But as the JetBlue flight network expands and more and more people begin to fly with them, boarding has become more of a challenge.
The combination of increased flight traffic and more passengers on each flight means a whole lot of people need to know how to board their JetBlue flights every day.
Luckily, that’s just what we are going to show you how to do. We will explain all the details of the JetBlue Airways boarding process, so you’ll be prepared the next time you need to board one of their planes.
JetBlue Airways Boarding Groups
Beginning operations in 2000, JetBlue used a fairly simple boarding process for their first 17 years of existence. They boarded their elite members and those needing special assistance first, and then they boarded all other passengers by their row number.
Starting from the back of the plane and moving forward, the idea was that nobody would have to wait behind someone else and boarding would be completed faster.
But in October 2017, JetBlue decided this was no longer the best way to board a plane and completely switched their boarding procedures.
For occasional JetBlue passengers who haven’t flown with them since before then, what we are about to go over will come as a surprise. But for those used to flying other American carriers, things will look fairly similar.
Like many other airlines, JetBlue now uses a mix of named boarding groups and “numbered” boarding groups. They do it a bit differently by giving their groups letters instead of numbers, but the idea is still the same.
(Why they don’t just give a letter to each group of passengers we will never know, but that doesn’t seem to be the way airlines work!)
As it is, with their mix of letters and names, here are the detailed groups that JetBlue uses in their boarding process, and which passengers are eligible to board with each group.
- Customers with disabilities
Mosaic and Mint Customers
Even More Space Customers
General Boarding by Group:
- Group B
- Group C
- Group D
- Group E (n/a for E-190 aircraft)
All Remaining Customers
- It’s unclear which passengers would be in this group, and why they would not be assigned to one of the general boarding groups.
Our only thought is that this designation is used so that there’s an official place in the boarding procedure to accommodate standby passengers waiting on available seats, or JetBlue employees who are flying non-revenue flights.
If unaccompanied minors arrive at the boarding gate prior to the start of the boarding process, they will be allowed to board first with the pre-boarding group. If they arrive after the start of boarding, unaccompanied minors will board at the end of the process, after other passengers are all on the aircraft.
This is done so that there is no confusion and no danger of the unaccompanied minors being mixed with other passengers or being separated from their JetBlue escort.
JetBlue’s boarding procedure assigns groups for general boarding based on the number of passengers on the plane and where they are seated.
Your boarding group is based on the specific seat you are assigned to (not the row), and it’s designed to stagger passengers in each group so everyone has enough space to get settled.
Because of the way they do this, it is not possible to choose a seat to get yourself into an earlier boarding group. For each flight, the same seat may be in a different boarding group depending on the other passengers and their seating locations.
Hot Tip: The general boarding group assignments seem somewhat confusing when you read about it, but in practice, you have nothing to worry about. Just pick the seat you want to sit in and board in whatever group they assign you. If you really want to get on the plane early, choose an Even More Space seat and you will board with group A.
How to Build Up Your JetBlue TrueBlue Points Balance
If you want to try out the JetBlue Airways boarding procedure, a great way to do that is by using your JetBlue TrueBlue points to book a flight.
There are plenty of ways to earn lots of JetBlue TrueBlue points — the simplest probably being paying for flights and flying around the country with them.
If that’s not what you want to do though, and you want to book a flight with points like we mentioned above, you can still earn plenty of points through these great credit cards.
JetBlue Credit Cards
JetBlue and Barclays offer 1 business and 2 personal co-branded credit cards that allow you to earn TrueBlue points.
On the personal side, The JetBlue Card is a no-annual-fee card with limited additional benefits besides earning TrueBlue points and discounted inflight purchases.
The JetBlue Plus Card carries an annual fee of $99, but it comes with higher TrueBlue points earning potential and several additional benefits (like free bags and discounted inflight purchases).
The JetBlue Business Card is perfect for your business spending and mirrors the JetBlue Plus card in benefits, earning, and its annual fee of $99.
With both the personal and business cards, you will be well on your way to booking your JetBlue flights with points.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards
You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to JetBlue at a 1:1 ratio.
Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)
If you’re a business owner, see our list of the best Chase business credit cards.
Citi ThankYou Points Credit Cards
You can transfer Citi ThankYou Points to JetBlue at a 1:1 ratio.
You’ll need either the Citi Prestige® Card or the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card to transfer at that ratio. Citi ThankYou® Preferred cardholders, which otherwise cannot transfer points to airline miles, can transfer to JetBlue at 1:0.8 ratio.
Amex Membership Rewards Credit Cards
You can transfer Amex Membership Rewards to JetBlue at a rate of 1:0.8. Sometimes you can take advantage of promotional periods that bump up the transfer rate to 1:1.
Recommended American Express Cards (Personal)
Business owner? See our list of the best Amex business credit cards.
JetBlue Airways started out as a lower cost carrier, and their fares are still consistently pretty low. What we didn’t expect to see from them, however, is the excellent level of service and hard product that set them a step above most other airlines based here in the United States.
As more people began to fly with JetBlue and their flight network increased, they needed to update their boarding procedures to deal with it. Their major change in October 2017 brought them more in line with the way most major airlines do things.
The current procedure is a mix of named and lettered groups that can be quite confusing at first glance, but once you understand the method behind the madness, it begins to make more sense.
We’ve done our best to give you all of the details of the current JetBlue Airways boarding procedures, and we hope this will help get your trip off to a stress-free start the next time you fly with them. See you in the air!