Jetblue is offering packages of 10 flights from Long Beach for $999. But is it a deal? It depends.

Jetblue JetBlue Airways is once again offering slightly discounted fares to Long Beach Airport travelers who purchase in bulk through its Gopack program.

For about $1,000 plus $69 in taxes, you’ll be buying 10 separate segments for a handful of Long Beach routes. You can buy until March 31 and you’ll have to use your segments by June 17, though the program is blacked out between April 11, 2014 and April 28, 2014. These are the routes for which the vouchers are valid:

Long Beach, CA (LGB) to/from San Francisco, CA (SFO)
Long Beach, CA (LGB) to/from Oakland, CA (OAK)
Long Beach, CA (LGB) to/from Sacramento, CA (SMF)

This is not really a deal for leisure travelers. If you’re buying in advance, you can find a ticket from Long Beach to San Francisco for $69 each way. But these segments are much more flexible than Jetblue’s typical business-traveler oriented tickets. You’re able book at the last minute or change your flight up to 90 minutes before departure with only a $75 fee. The last minute flights purchased by business passengers are generally a lot pricier than $100 each way.

There’s also a six segment package for $700 plus $39 in taxes. And Jetblue is doing similar promotions with East Coast flights from New York and Boston. See them all here. 

What do you think? Is the Long Beach promotion a good deal for your needs?

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Long Beach Airport’s location helps it retain passengers and flights

What’s the target market for Long Beach Airport?

According to some materials I obtained last week from the airport, it’s the 1.5 million potential passengers living within about 11 miles of the airport. Not a bad home market, especially considering the airport is about halfway between Los Angeles International Airport and John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana. The demographics are strong.

LGB Slide 1

In my story about Long Beach Airport’s strengths that ran earlier this week, airport manager Mario Rodriguez said the ‘yields’ airlines get a little higher the farther south you go in the catchment area. Essentially that means that the closer you get to Orange County, the higher fares passengers are willing to pay.

LGB Slide 2

If you believe this slide, below, Long Beach officials are pleased with the stature of the airport, which is limited, by noise regulations, to 66 commercial departures daily. (Only 41 of those flights can be on relatively large airplanes, like the A320 and 737. The other 25 slots go to so-called commuter airplanes, like the CR2 and CR7. Many of those slots are unused.)

LGB Slide 3

According to Long Beach officials, the airport could probably grow slightly if noise restrictions loosened. (That’s probably a moot issue. While I haven’t been covering the airport for that long, I don’t think city council leaders are prepared to make substantive changes to the ordinance.)

LGB Slide 4

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JetBlue Airways eyes future growth of Long Beach Airport operations

Allie Shockley, left, high fives her mother Amy Shockley, both of Chico, after Nick Peters, of jetBlue, finds a earlier flight to Oakland for the Shockley's at the Long Beach Airport August 6, 2013.  (Thomas R. Cordova/Staff Photographer)

Allie Shockley, left, high fives her mother Amy Shockley, both of Chico, after Nick Peters, of jetBlue, finds a earlier flight to Oakland for the Shockley’s at the Long Beach Airport August 6, 2013. (Thomas R. Cordova/Staff Photographer)

JetBlue wants to grow at Long Beach Airport. So why is it cutting some flights?

This is a question I answered in Thursday’s Long Beach Press-Telegram.

The newspaper piece goes into a little more depth than some of my earlier blog posts. But the basic idea is this: JetBlue wants to add international flights from LGB, but until the airport builds a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, it is limited to an all-domestic schedule.  Domestic flying is not quite as profitable for JetBlue, so this airline occasionally cuts back on its LGB flights during off-peak periods.

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Long Beach Airport: How airlines keep planes cool

JetBlue

Do you recognize the contraption pictured above?

Perhaps not. But if you fly, especially in hot weather, it’s probably very important to you. That machine, seen here at Long Beach Airport, pipes in cold air to airplanes on the ground.

The system keeps planes from having to run their auxiliary power units, or APUs, which burn jet fuel and are not particularly efficient. I’m told the yellow tubing sends cold air directly onto the the aircraft.

Adding preconditioned air at each parking position was a recent priority for the airport, according to this recent overview of LGB’s capital improvement plan. It might seem a bit low tech to run a yellow tube all the way to the plane, but I understand this is considerbly cheaper and more environmentally friendly than the alternatives.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is in the process of adding preconditioned air at all of its gates, according to this USA Today report. Reporter Ben Mutzabaugh writes that the airport has a centralized plant that will eventually distribute hot and cold air to each of the facility’s 73 gates. The system has 15 miles of ducts. 

Read more on Seattle’s program – and watch a video – at this site. 

Special thanks to @chasethesun and @petersandersla for teaching me about preconditioned air.

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