To JetBlue or not to JetBlue. That is the question. Here’s the answer with my JetBlue review.
I fly a lot, but generally don’t care too much about which airlines I’m on. Not to be all Kimmy Schmidt about it, but I’m generally happy to be traveling somewhere and see the cramped coached conditions and crabby passengers as just part of the price we pay.
I lost my status on Delta last year so no one treats me special. I tend to book Southwest for one big reason: no change fees, which I abhor and find really offensive. So my expectations when I fly are generally low, and they are typically met. I recently flew JetBlue for the first time, and now am looking forward to when they can add more routes leaving from Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta.
JetBlue had a brief romance with the Atlanta airport back in 2003, where Delta has a corner (some say stranglehold) on the market and isn’t exactly welcoming to newcomers. It lasted just six months while engages in low-fare battles with AirTran and Delta. But the top-rated airline is back, having started its only route so far in March – Atlanta to Boston. Which is how we found ourselves on it recently on a flight to Nantucket on a Airbus A320.
Here are reasons I really liked JetBlue, including the #1 reason, and a few where I’m not quite sure.
• Boarding process
JetBlue boards its planes from the back, which seems to me so much more efficient and faster than the ways other airlines with assigned seating board. I don’t know if Southwest’s line-up-in-order boarding process is faster, but I like it as well – as long as I remember to check in 24 hours in advance.
• More spacious feeling
The interiors are light with ample headroom. We were on an Airbus A320 and my 6’2” husband could easily stand up. That’s a bonus, but what really counts is the legroom and the Airbus A320 was a delight in that category. It boasts above-average legroom, which really does result in a more pleasant experience even for a 5’5” person like me.
• Snacks and serving process
Oh, how I dislike those carts most airlines roll down the aisles, impeding any traffic down the aisles. How many times have you been stuck on the wrong side just standing there awkwardly while you patiently wait to get back to your seat or to the bathroom? JetBlue brings around a basket of yummy snacks, including yummy Terra Sea Salt Chips and tempting Cheez-Its, man’s perfect snack food, then serves drinks separately on a tray. I really appreciated being served a bottle of water. Although environmentally I’m not a fan of bottled water, I’m not sure how much worse it is than a plastic cup, and it doesn’t have the capacity to spill on me.
• Entertainment options
We each had a large screen on the seatback in front of us with a 10” touch screen, 100+ channels of DirecTV and 300+ movies and TV shows on demand.
• Blanket and pillows
As usual, at one point the plane reached arctic temperatures, which is why I always travel wearing long pants and layers on top. An older woman near me requested a blanket and I heard the attendant tell her there would be a $5 charge. At first I thought that was pretty nickel-and-dimey of them. On the other hand, at least they have blankets. I got on a flight a few years ago and asked the flight attendant for a blanket. He said, “Honey, we haven’t had blankets on here since the 1980s!”
Then I found out JetBlue does charge $5 for a blanket and $6 for a travel pillow, but you get to keep them. Paying $5 for a blanket you get to keep and are guaranteed hasn’t been used multiple times and as a changing blanket for a baby, is a small price to pay. And at least they are available, so I’m in favor of a fee to keep warm and germ-free.
• Deplaning option in Nantucket
I’d figured that the small airport in Nantucket wouldn’t have jetways, and we’d be facing a departure onto the tarmac. I braced myself to lug my big suitcase down the stairs and was pleasantly surprised to see a ramp instead so I could easily roll my suitcase down the ramp without straining my back. Wow! Not sure why more airlines/airports don’t use ramps rather than stairs, but it was a welcome site after a long trip.
So which is the #1 feeling I liked JetBlue? All of these are great, and I can never underestimate the allure of Cheez-Its, but the top reason I love JetBlue is the spacious feeling it has. With its spacious-feeling interior and better-than-average legroom, I don’t feel like I’m crammed inside a dark tin can. The experience is a more pleasant one and I arrive feeling more relaxed.
When Flights are Delayed
We hit a snag on our return flight from Nantucket when our 7:30 p.m. flight was delayed for two hours to 9:45. My husband got a text message informing us of the delay, BUT, and this is a mighty big BUT. There was no mention of our connecting flight to Boston, which we would be missing due to the delay. And no reason given for the delay. Typically, if I’d had a flight delayed, I’ve been automatically booked on the next flight out. But looked like we were on our own to figure out what to do.
Add to the complications was that my husband was due to fly out early the next day to a conference in Las Vegas. After a 45-minute phone call with JetBlue he got me rebooked on a 6:30 a.m. flight from Boston to Atlanta, while he took a 7:30 a.m. direct to Las Vegas.
But where to spend the night? We didn’t know if we would be eligible for a hotel voucher and the person on the phone didn’t know. She said we’d have to ask when we got to Boston, which would after 11PM. Members of their team did respond on Twitter, but not the question I was asking. Amber told me she couldn’t issue a hotel voucher and would I would have to speak to someone at the airport when what I wanted to know is if we’d be eligible for a voucher. Or if there would even be anyone at the JetBlue counter that late at night. So to be safe, Chris got online and found a reservation at an Airbnb close to the airport where we could get a few hours sleep. So in that respect I felt let down and stranded by JetBlue.
JetBlue does have a compensation policy for delayed flights. Michelle on Twitter told me we wouldn’t be eligible for any compensation because it was an “air traffic control” issue but they did issue a $50 credit for the inconvenience.
So bonus points for responding on Twitter, but big deduction of points for stranding us in Boston with no communication about what would happen with our connecting flight.
Would I Fly JetBlue Again?
Absolutely. I really like the spaciousness of the planes, the nice snacks and the extra legroom. I hope they are able to add more flights from Atlanta soon.
JetBlue flies 1,000 flights daily to 101 destinations in 22 countries, serving 38 million passengers annually. It’s the largest carrier in Boston, Los Angeles/Long Beach, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Upcoming routes include Fort Lauderdale to Salt Lake City, Utah, and Orlando to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Check here for fares and availability.