My father and I returned our car at the new Rental Car Center. What a pleasure that building is, especially if you are leaving from Terminal 1 as we were.
After returning the car, we walked across the bridge to Terminal 1 and went to jetBlue check in. There was a decent line at the regular check-in counter, but we were going to use the kiosks anyway. Here is where I got pissed off: After printing our boarding passes, there were two agents manning the Self-Service baggage drop counters. For whatever reason, one agent called over people from the regular line so we walked up to the other agent. She had her face in the computer and was doing something as a fellow agent gave her instructions. She didn't look up once...We waited there for at least five solid minutes. The agent next to us was dealing with three people who I think were B6 employees with travel passes trying to get back to NYC. So by this time, there was a line forming of people who had used the kiosks and wanted to check their bags. Finally, the lady didn't even say a word but just took our tickets. The ONLY thing she said to us was "Have a nice flight" at the end in a monotone voice...Literally, the only thing she said. I would have been totally fine with waiting if she at least looked up and asked us to, or made a joke about it or something. Not the nicest way to check-in.
After dropping off our bags, I went to every counter to get some bag tags from different airlines (I collect them). We went downstairs and got on the very short security line. There was only one lady checking boarding passes in one lane. Somebody tried to go down another lane and when the agent stopped her, the passenger said "But this is the Elite line, I'm elite" to which the agent said "That's nice but I'm the only one here"...So the passenger shrugged and went to the end of the regular line (Only about 5 or 6 people in line anyway).
The gate was already packed when we arrived there. We took seats near the windows to wait for boarding. jetBlue had a very funny gate agent, and boarding started through the front and rear stairs. I was happy to see such a "fun" B6 employee, since it seemed to me that they used to have a lot of them but now have so many employees that it's difficult for all of them to be superfriendly.
Unlike my B6 flight down, every seat had pillows and there were plenty of blankets. I got a glimpse of the cockpit while boarding...The First Officer was entering some info on his laptop.
As it was nearing 7:10, the ground crew and F/As tried to get pax to take their seats. Finally, somebody from the FLL ground crew wished us a nice flight...I've noticed a few times on B6 at FLL that this happens. I've always found it to be a very nice touch...Sort of adds elegance to what is really a short voyage. We pushed back just before 7:10, but right as we pushed back a guy across the row from me got up and went to get something from the overhead compartment. Two F/As rushed over to ask him to sit down and a third came over the PA saying that all pax must be seated....He got his bag and took a seat.
We were # 1 for takeoff and were out over the ocean moments later. It was a beautiful time to fly, with the sunset and the ocean below us.
F/As took drink orders, but it was a solid ten minutes until they arrived. Then came the snacks. I had the Dorito mix, which I thouroughly enjoyed as I did on the flight down.
Before long it was dark outside. We had a smooth flight all the way to JFK with just a few bumps. I was reading for most of the flight until I discovered that West Wing was on.
We started our approach into JFK and made a smooth landing on 31R. As we touched down I saw a KLM 747 to our left. There were three aircraft lined up behind us to land on 31R and another on 31L. Terminal 6 was busy as it always is. We pulled into Gate 5 and moments later I was at the baggage claim. Although B6 has tried to improve the baggage claim area,I still find it to be dark and gross. They've done an AMAZING job improving the rest of the terminal, but the baggage claim area still stinks. Perhaps they are just waiting until their new terminal opens in 2008.
Overall, it was a nice flight on B6. On a short, popular flight like NYC-South Florida, B6 is a great way to go. My only serious worry is that as they are growing, the company is losing that small-airline feel that made B6 very special a few years ago. I don't predict demise for the airline as many on A.net do. I think the E190s are a great choice businesswise, and they aren't making any of fatal mistakes that killed other LCCs. However, I do think that their product had slipped a little and will slip a little bit more as the airline grows. They are still much better than what you will find on most majors or on Song for that matter, but not quite the same as a few years back IMO. Or perhaps their in-flight product isn't as "in" as it was a few years ago? It just seemed like there was more disconnect between all the employees than the last time I flew them. The F/As on both flights seemed disconnected. The check-in agents at FLL had absolutely NONE of the jetBlue personality that everyone raves about, although the gate agent made up for that. As I mentioned, growing pains will be hard for jetBlue to endure but they are doing their best to cope with it.