Earlier today, Virgin America revealed plans to launch service between San Francisco and Ft. Lauderdale this November. The airline boasted that it would be the only airline offering nonstop flights between the two cities.
And about eight hours later, its reign was over.
JetBlue announced it too will begin nonstop flights between the two cities. And as if that weren't enough, JetBlue's service will commence one day before Virgin America's, meaning JetBlue, not Virgin America, can lay claim to flying the first nonstop flight on the route.
Obviously this title is meaningless in the big picture, but it's clear that a battle of sorts is emerging between the two low-cost carriers. There's no knowing who planned the route first, but JetBlue's announcement will surely serve to perturb Virgin America, which, as I said above, seemed rather proud to be the first carrier on the route.
So is this the beginning of a sour relationship? Considering Virgin America and JetBlue have a lot of service overlap, it's possible, if not likely, that competition between the two carriers will heat up. Both are popular, both have strong brand personalities and customer loyalty, and each is competing within the same low-cost market. JetBlue, of course, is bigger, but Virgin America has … mood lighting?
At any rate, I'll keep a close eye on these two, and if things get scrappy, I'll let you know.