Thursday April 11, 2002
JetBlue Airways Flight 384
KJFK- KFLL NonStop Service
Sched. Departure: 7:05am
Actual Departure: 7:10am
Take Off Roll: 42 Seconds
Sched Arrival: 10:00am
Actual Arrival: 9:56am
A/C Registration: N524JB “Blue Belle”- Stripes Tail Pattern
Me and my family arrived JFK's Terminal 6 around 5:30am for our 7:05am departure to Ft. Lauderdale. We had the option of a 705am or a 715 being that for a temporary few weeks, jetBlue had 'double' flights running down south. We skipped curb-side check-in because of the long line and got figuratively slapped on the wrist because the line inside was much much worse. We took our places at the butt of a 250+ pax line and thought we would wait for over an hour. However, we made it to the front in about 7 minutes as the employees were working their tails off. jetBlue had quite a number of departures that morning. The checkin system at JFK is very very cool- an automated voice tells you to go to a certain counter and that counter number flashes pointing you in the direction in which to go. It worked very efficiently. The agent greeted us all by our real names and wished us a pleasant jetBlue experience.
We walked down to Gate 7 and I was hoping for the new window panes tail scheme or atleast a brand new plane but was dismayed to find N524JB sitting at the gate with the stripes pattern proudly displayed on its tail. I could see the cabin through the cockpit door as it was open and a huge smile streaked across my face Boarding was to commence at 6:35 so we went to Jake's Coffee for some pre-flight food. Not bad at all- but a tad overpriced.
We made our way back to the gate and shortly after, boarding commenced. When our row (17) was called I sprang up like a deer the moment it spots a car and raced infront of all the other pax to get to the front of the line. Hope I didnt look to freaky....
The lady working at the booth was very friendly and inspected my grocery store receipt style ticket very hard before granting me boarding access. She said, "You have a nice flight, Ben. Patrick will be standing at the door waiting to assist you with your bags".
I walked down the jetway- and there was Patrick! We pushed back right on schedule and began our taxi to what I belive was 13L but I cannot be sure. We waited for about 15 minutes during which the FA's finally gave the safety demo and dimmed the cabin lights- no wait... turned them off completely. Finally, we lined up and the captain said "Well folks, I have never flown a plane before so here we go!". The engines revved up and mixed with the sound of laughter as our A320 rocketed down the runway. I had my eyes glued to the TV to see our take off speed etc etc etc. This roll never ever ended! Until 42 seconds later... quite a long roll for an A320. We lifted off around 180MPH and I heard the gear go up shortly after. It was then that I realized the A320 is a very noisy airplane behind the wing! On my America West flights, I was infront and could never be sure the engines were running because I could not hear them.
We climbed to 37,000 feet in about 20 minutes and cabin service immediately started. The flight attendats served napkins first, followed by the drink orders. The drinks are handeled similarly to the ways of a cafe- take your order and bring it on a tray. No carts! The snacks were muffins, biscotti, Terra Blue Chips (YUM!), Animal Crackers, cookies and blue cornchips. I opted for the Terra Chips and cracked up at seeing the shiny blue bag "inflated" from the pressure. My first thought was when that girl from Willa Wonka tries the gum and blows up like a blueberry. I opened the bag and it nearly exploded startling many passengers around me. The FA ran over and cracked up laughing when he saw what happened.
After the service, the FA's periodically passed through the aisles to check on everybody and had conversations with other passengers to make them feel at ease. I sat back and watched some tv (!). I watched the Game Show network the whole time- old Family Fued, Password, and Press Your Luck. We began our decent about 40 minutes prior to landing and believe me when I say I had never had such a turbulent decent- the wings were shaking quite a bit. Turbulent decent that is, until it got beat out by the flight home. We made a smooth touchdown at 148MPH and decelerated quickly. I looked out at the flaps and smiled- I had never seen a silver flap, they are always burnt-rust colored from the heat! This plane was only a few months old.
The agents in FLL had trouble with the plane door and a few minutes later, the 715am flight pulled in next to us...it was "Bada Bing Bada Blue" with the new window panes tail, JetBlue's newest plane at the time! Talk about bitter moments! One gate over, a CO 757-300 pulled in and DAMN is that thing looooooooooonnngggg. I deplaned next to Patrick and he said, "Have a nice day, Ben!". How cool!
Overall, this segment gets a 11/10. It was simply outstanding. JetBlue is my new airline of choice and will remain that way. The returning leg was much similar to the originating leg and I boarded this plane through the rear door via steps. It was very fun! The decent was rather steep and turbulent- 1 long decent, not gradual. The plane was N504JB, "Shades of Blue" and had the Harlequin Pattern. The double flight for our returning was operated by Blue Belle so I am glad we didnt choose that one!
All in all, jetBlue is magnificent and I encourage you all to try them!
Photo © Justin Cederholm - Orlando/Tampa Aviation Photography
Photo © Ryan Gaddis