This past week I flew JetBlue from JFK to FLL and back. Originally three of us were to go to SoFl and remain at the Newport Beachside Resort. Two people were booked using my two free tickets which I earned through the JetBlue Card from American Express, and I purchased my own ticket for $393 r/t.
Due to unfortunate circumstances, one of the people traveling on my free ticket had to cancel her ticket. I called JetBlue and learned that if I cancelled her ticket, it would be forfeited since it was a free flight. Though I found this inconvenient, I also learned that I could change the itinerary and use it for a future flight. Thankfully, as we were traveling on Monday (2/19), JetBlue was allowing all passengers within its system to change their flights without paying a change fee or difference in fare as long as they traveled by May 22 between the same two cities. I ended up putting the "cancelee" on a JFK-FLL-JFK routing on a random date in May so that she has several months to figure out how to use it. However, in order to use it, she'll have to pay the change fee of $25. Overall, this isn't the best system, but at least you're allowed to change the flight...
Anyway, Monday came around and we headed to JFK early so I could get a look at what was going on at the "post-havoc" JetBlue Terminal 6. Unsurprisingly, as we pulled into the departure drop-off zone, there were about three or four local news stations set up. Honestly, I think that the press has overreacted to this incident - which JetBlue undoubtedly screwed up on - but enough is enough!
We had done online check-in, so all we had to do was drop our bags at the bag drop. The line was pretty short and moved quickly; all E190 flights which had been cancelled were no longer shown on the monitors. All other flights - including mine - were operating on-time, which I was very happy to see. Once dropping off my bag, I was proceeding to security when I heard an exchange between two JetBlue crew members and two customers explaining how their flight to Richmond had been cancelled. JetBlue was offering them hot accommodations as well as a free round trip; the couple didn't seem to be pleased, though I thought this was fair compensation.
Security was a breeze, as it always is at Terminal 6. The terminal wasn't particularly busy, though I guess this was due to the lack of the E190 flights. I looked at the monitor and found that we were leaving from gate 01, though my boarding pass said gate 22 - which is located in the temporary terminal. You know what that means, right? I would get a trip to the temporary terminal even though my flight wasn't leaving from there...woot.
The temporary terminal is a 7-gate terminal that is only accessible by shuttle from the main terminal 6. The entrance to this shuttle is directly next to the baggage claim hallway in the wing that hosts gates 12-17. At the entrance there is a "Superior" agent that checks to make sure your flight is indeed leaving from there. Luckily for me, the agent really had no clue that my flight's gate had been changed, and he only went by the "gate 22" printed on my boarding pass. So I proceeded without problems - down a zig-zagging outdoor hallway onto a standing-only shuttle. The shuttle ride was just a minute or two long, and it offered me amazing views of the new JetBlue terminal -- it's really coming along very nicely, and I cannot wait for it to be finished. It looks like it's going to be very nice when it's completed.
I walked into the temporary terminal to a little "lounge" that has writing on the walls in the "Dear New York, Sincerely JetBlue" marketing font. The writing was basically a little blurb about how this was the temporary terminal and how the new one would open in 2009. There were also a few pictures on what the new terminal would look like, which I thought was pretty cool.
Overall, the new terminal is rather quiet and there are few windows. The cieling is rather low, though it's very clean and the lighting is adequate. There is a snack store as well as a bar, which I think is plenty for a temporary establishment. There are also two customer service desks, and there's also plenty of seating. Overall, I was rather pleased with the way the attachment looked.
In any case, I decided to head back to the main terminal rather quickly so that I could survey some more of passengers' and crew members' attitudes of the previous few days' events. The shuttle took me back to the terminal and dropped me off right before baggage claim (while still in the secured area), which meant that I had to do a 180 and walk up the hallway back to the boarding areas. If you've never been to the JetBlue JFK terminal, you have absolutely no clue what I'm talking about...
I walked around and saw flights boarding for Orlando, Burbank, and a few other places. The attitude was generally pretty happy - flights were leaving on-time, and believe it or not, I did not even hear a mutter about the Valentine's Day Fiasco. I even asked a few employees for help concerning which gate was my "real" gate (keep in mind, I knew that gate 01 was the true one, but I just wanted to test them and see what they would say), and they all seemed to be rather pleasant.
*Keep in mind this is New York. "Pleasant" in New York is "indifferent" in Oklahoma...
I went to wait for the incoming flight from BUF, which was about 30 minutes late getting in. The ETD for our flight was pushed back to 7:25pm, though we actually ended up pushing back at 7:38pm.
2/19/07 B647 JFK-FLL
"Rhythm and Blues"
Act. Dep. 7:38pm
Act. Arr. 10:33pm
The jetway was a bit backed up, and I heard the crew members at the gate joking around about who's fault it was. When I got on, I found my seat in the emergency exit row - 10A. Surprisingly, my seat reclined, though I was expecting the boosted legroom - which actually seemed to be about the same as rows 2-9 in the new 36" pitch layout. Keep in mind that JetBlue has yet to receive permission from the FAA to operate with only 3 flight attendants, so we had a total of 4 flight attendants operating this full flight - 2 males, 2 females. Our flight attendant came and talked to the two emergency exit rows; she was very cheery and friendly, which I was happy to see.
In any event, we pushed back and I was expecting a rather long wait for departure as we were in the midst of the international rush at JFK. Surpringly, we didn't even wait 10 minutes when the pilot came over the loudspeaker and asked the flight attendants to be seated. Hm. I don't find the takeoff on the A320 to be anything special; I'm not thrown back in my seat, and the engines aren't overwhelmingly loud. In fact, I just watched the DirecTV during takeoff, though I used my iPod's earpieces rather than the cheap JetBlue ones.
Snack service commenced almost immediately. I had a can of Sprite with a cup of ice, and I was also given a bag of Dorito's Munchie Mix as well as the Biscotti without any hesitation from the flight attendant. The flight was rather uneventful from there on; there wasn't any turbulence at all, and the TV cut out only once for about 10 seconds. We landed in FLL 2 minutes ahead of schedule and had a very quick taxi to gate B6 (haha!). When leaving the plane, the pilot came out and saluted us. The B concourse was empty and there was a very jazzy music playing as we walked to the baggage claim. About 15 minutes after arriving at carousel 4, where the SWF and EWR flights were also claiming their bags, I headed outside to wait for the shuttle to come pick us up.
We had a great time in Miami and really enjoyed the sun and warm weather. Friday, 2/23, came way too early. Unfortunately, we were booked on an early flight out of FLL so that we wouldn't waste the day. Flight 26 was scheduled to leave at 7:15am, and we got to the airport at 6:15am to check-in and to give us plenty of time. Though there were several other JetBlue flights leaving, the JetBlue counters saw very few lines, and there were many kiosks to use to check-in with one crew member to assist those using the kiosks. There were also 5 crew members behind the counters to drop bags off with, which I found worked really well. Within three minutes we were off to the security check-point, and ten minutes later we were sitting at gate C6 waiting for boarding to commence.
AT 6:40am the two ground agents started boarding the flight - rows 15-25, then all remaining rows. At JFK, they had announced rows 20-26, but people from all rows rushed to the gate anyway. Yeah, welcome to New York...
2/23/07 B626 FLL-JFK
Act. Dep. 7:18am
Act. Arr. 10:03am
This flight once again had two male flight attendants and two female fligth attendants. I found all the flight attendants to be really friendly, and one even struck up a 15-minute conversation with a person a few rows ahead. I had seat 8A, which had 36" of pitch. I must say, the legroom is absolutely amazing; I could cross my legs without even touching the seat in front of me, and I could fully extend them without a problem. This is definitely going to be a hit with taller travelers, that's for sure.
We pushed back at the same time as a DL 733 behind us, though the DL flight got ahead of us in the lineup. Surprisingly, a lot of NK A319's were also in line, as was the pink DL 757 for breast cancer awareness. We were third in line for departure when the pilot came on to have the flight attendants sit down. After a quick take-off, we turned toward the Atlantic and flew over the pond for the whole trip up to JFK. The flight was about 75% full with a few completely empty rows in back. Snack and beverage service commenced, and the remainder of the flight was uneventful.
We landed at JFK just 3 minutes behind schedule and quickly taxied to gate 09. It took a few minutes for the jetway to be brought up to the plane, but from there the pilot waved us off while the flight attendants and ground crew cleaned the plane. We claimed our bags at carousel 1, though it took about 20 minutes for them to come out. From there, we proceeded to the AirTrain, where we had to wait 40 minutes since it wasn't working and there were some really, really angry people. Oh well, mistakes happen. Get over it.
On both flights, all TV channels were available and DirecTV programming was available. On the flight down, the old system was in use while the flight back up had the newer screens, which look a lot better and more contemporary. The planes on both flights were clean, and I found all the flight attendants courteous and professional in composure and their servicing of the passengers. I was really impressed with how smoothly everything ran immediately after the Valentine's Day Debacle. I think JetBlue still has an amazing product when things run smoothly, and this flight really restored my confidence in the airline.
Comments are appreciated.