Agreed, would piss off a lot of locals to operate under the JetBlue brand in Hawaii. Thinking about the pluses here, NK still seems like the better merger partner for B6 if they don't have to bid a huge premium over where SAVE is trading at right now. HA still doesn't seem to bring enough to the table.
My post is pure speculation and mostly written for the purposes of something to do. I would suggest that if any kind of joining of forces is to materialize NK/B6 would make far more sense than HA. The thing that B6 needs the most is a west coast presence and while HA is about as west coast as you get they have no gates at least not enough to move the needle for B6. Obviously AS is stacked on the west coast but there's an enormous amount of hurdles to overcome there.
As for NK/B6, I could see a lot of positives...
The fleet, the exact same. Same airplanes and same engine types with both carriers having a significant amount of valuable Airbus orders. I would suggest ditching the A220 order and converting to more A320 family. Seems like the carriers with a single fleet type are in a strong position and with the advent of the XLR you can cover so many missions with the A320 family there's no real point for anything else.
NK has 3 full-time gates at LAX and at least 1-2 shared swingers. I believe B6 is similar. Let's call the combination of the two 7 full time gates in T5 at LAX. Thats definitely a sizable presence.
NK has a sizable and popular presence in Central and Northern South America. B6 basically owns the Caribbean these days. With the new longer range variants on order its easy to see a spread much deeper into South America. Which I believe is where the money is these days. I was always a bit baffled by B6's desires to get into the London market given the extreme amount of competition.
Leisure markets... Orlando, Lauderdale, New Orleans, San Juan, Las Vegas, Nashville etc... The dominance in these markets from a combined carrier would only be rivaled by WN. Add in NY which B6 is strong in and the aforementioned LAX solution you'd just have to find an answer to the Bay Area and your leisure needs are covered. I always believed NK should hit OAK a lot harder. They have a strong summer presence but it erodes to just LAS and LAX in the winter. I have no idea how many gates B6 has over at SFO but I'd imagine there's a solution to be had there.
There's all kinds of middle of the country combinations that look good as well. NK brings positive gate space and strong routes out of IAH/DFW/AUS. 4 gates at ORD, 6 in DTW, 2 in MSP. Add those with B6's existing gates and ones you could probably poach from the legacies as they downsize you have some good roots.
I would envision the combined carrier would upgrade the NK seats and downgrade the B6 ones. Get rid of the TV's. As nice as they are its so expensive to maintain those and keep up with the ever changing technology when you could just stream TV to your phones like WN does. The weight savings alone I'd imagine would be tremendous. As much as I like the Mint product I could see that going. You can't be everything to everyone and I believe a strong LCC with more of NK Big Front option up front would be better overall, I dunno call it Blue and BluePlus. If you can streamline the product and cut out some of the expensive costs I could see this being a competitive company with affordable pricing in key markets. B6 has a great name and NK has some serious cost advantages. If there could be away to combine the two and keep a competitive CASM I could see this working out. Not much a carrier couldn't do with a fleet of A319neo/A320neo/A321neo/xlr's.
Both pilot groups are ALPA and the seniority's relatively similar given both carriers came to real being around the same time. Obviously B6 would have more on the higher end of the list.
Again, before I get jumped on by realists and number crunchers.. I'm just spitballing for the sake of something to talk about on day 20 of sitting on my couch.