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All-coach JetBlue Airways adds a first class cabin

NEW YORK — JetBlue, known for shuttling vacationers from Northeast cities to the warmth of Florida and the Caribbean, is making a play for corporate road warriors.

Starting next year, the all-coach airline plans to offer 16 lie-flat seats on flights between New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco. It's the first time the egalitarian carrier will have a second class of service.

The transcontinental routes are the most profitable and highly contested domestic markets for airlines. Business class tickets frequently sell for $4,000 roundtrip. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are all in the process of putting lie-flat beds in their premium cabins on those routes. Virgin America, which also flies from coast to coast, has a traditional first class cabin with larger seats.

"Transcontinental routes have had high premium fares we believe we can beat," CEO Dave Barger said in a statement.

The New York-based airline announced the new seats at the start of a business traveler conference Monday in San Diego.


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