JetBlue Airways began service to Raleigh-Durham International Airport Thursday, offering passengers nonstop service to New York's John F. Kennedy Airport.
The airline will fly four nonstop flights between RDU and JFK daily on a brand-new Embraer 190 aircraft that seats 100 passengers. The plane is equipped with all-leather seating, satellite television monitors and satellite radio for each seat.
"Our model is different when it comes to respectful customer service. We take care of our crew members, and they set the right environment," JetBlue Chief Operating Officer Dave Barger said.
Six-year-old JetBlue currently serves 41 locations, including RDU. Officials announced Thursday that they plan to start daily nonstops between RDU and Boston in October.
"Having JetBlue starting to fly in the Triangle is just a godsend for me," said Don Shin, who flew on the inaugural flight from RDU to JFK.
Shin told Barger his devotion to the low-cost airline extended to his wedding plans next month.
"I love your service so much I planned my honeymoon to a city that JetBlue flies to," Shin said.
Barger was so impressed that he offered to pick up the tab for the honeymoon travel.
"We'll make good on that. We'll take care of the cost of those tickets, and thanks for flying for us," Barger said.
Although free tickets will be rare, RDU officials said they expect JetBlue, the first new carrier to serve the Triangle since Independence Air arrived two years ago, to increase competition for passengers to New York, which should result in lower fares.
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JetBlue is forcing ticket prices down even though the low-fare airline won't begin flights at Raleigh-Durham International Airport for nearly three months.
The airline decided to offer the flights to New York to capitalize on the growing Northern Virginia corridor.
JetBlue will offer four daily flights between Pittsburgh and New York and two daily flights between Pittsburgh and Boston's Logan Int'l Airport.