JetBlue Airways has launched a corporate meetings program, bucking a recent trend that has seen competitors including Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines completely do away with their meetings products.

The program, CompanyBlue Meetings, is geared to planners who are booking flights for at least 15 travelers to the same destination. JetBlue has set up a dedicated meetings desk and will offer planners a complimentary travel certificate for the current group travel program for every 40 meeting attendees booked. In addition, meeting planners get a credit for future travel on JetBlue that is equal to the dollar value of the average fare (minus taxes and fees) for every 40 seats booked.

The airline has, for the past several years, “definitely been interested in the corporate market,” says Chad Meyerson, JetBlue's manager of group sales, who was hired a year ago with the objective of developing Company-Blue Meetings. Over the past year, Meyerson conducted a series of meetings with individual corporate meeting planners to determine what they would like to see in a meetings product. “This [CompanyBlue] provides them with the incentives and flexibility they wanted to see,” he says.

While airlines such as Delta and Southwest have eliminated their meetings programs, Meyerson says that “from our perspective, this is a very attractive market.” According to him, JetBlue has long been known as a company that caters to the leisure market and has had no trouble filling planes during that market's peak periods. “Going after the corporate meetings market is going to allow us to fill our planes” off-peak, he says. “It's a great piece of business.”

Other features of the program include a provision where JetBlue will hold seats for up to two weeks without a deposit for travel booked at least 60 days in advance. After that time, a deposit of $50 per traveler is required, with final payment due 30 days before departure. In addition, planners will be able to change 10 percent of the total number of seats booked for a group without paying the airline's $30 change fee.

In an introductory offer, any planner booking a meeting with at least 15 travelers by July 1 will receive 10 free travel certificates. “We want to make a pretty big splash as we get this up and running,” says Meyerson.