This past weekend I was treated to a last minute vacation from school to New York City. This would be my first of a lot of things: first time flying on an Airbus, first time flying out of Long Beach, and first time on JetBlue.
Long Beach Airport was very convenient. As much as I like LAX
, Long Beach was extremely easy to get to, and to park at. The shuttle attendant was nice enough to drive us around the large parking lot (by the Boeing building) to find my dad, who dropped us off with the luggage while he found a spot. The airport itself was beautiful ... and very interesting. The check-in area was rather small, but the first thing I noticed was that the JetBlue crew was *extremely* friendly! Never have I been treated so well at an airport!
This is where I thought the airport started to get interesting...
After check in, we had to walk outside by the street and into a makeshift hallway where the airline people checked our ID
's. Then we walked up some stairs and into what seemed to be a "portable building" where we went thru security. This would be the first time I would go thru security since 9-11. I was surprised at how thorough they were. Apparently I had left a pair of scissors in my backpack and they found them. The funny thing is, I had been looking for them for over a month and they found them! I felt much safer after this
. I had no clue what to do with my laptop and was holding up the line. Although the people behind me were all bent out of shape, the TSA
personnel were extremely friendly as well, and were laughing with me as they helped me.
The flight to JFK
was quite uneventful as it was a red-eye that left around 10pm and arrived at 6am. The flight attendants were surprisingly entertaining and they seemed to relate to passengers very well. One thing I felt about the whole JetBlue crew is that they are more "relaxed" than most airlines. Not that other airline crews are rigid or anything, but these folks made me feel like I was at home! On a jet! haha The only memorable thing was that I sweated the entire 5 hours as the AC
was not working. Perhaps this was an attempt to save money to lower fares? The other interesting thing...I have not seen a "live safety briefing" since the 80s!
As we entered JFK
on our trip back to CA
, I got my camera out and started taking pictures of the remarkably huge airport. This was only my second time at JFK
, the first being when my family and I went to Europe via TWA and connected there. Upon arrival to JetBlue's terminal 6 via the (new?) AirTrain, we were greeted by more smiling check-in attendants, and a beautiful terminal. I imagine it was renovated after United left. It was a Tuesday morning, and surprisingly JFK
was practically a ghosttown. There was no wait to check-in or to go through security. I recall the last time we went thru security at JFK
we had ALL
of our bags searched, and even drug tested! But the security guy gave up when his supervisor started yelling at him...and this was back in 1999! Anyway, I digress.
As we entered the jet from Gate 1, I saw that the flight deck door was open. I looked briefly and said "wow" as I was walking into the aisle. The flight attendant pulled me aside and said "let me see if the captain will let you come take a look!" I chuckled at first because I thought she was kidding considering how strict security is. I went up to the flight deck and just looked around while I talked briefly with the captain. I mentioned how I though the engines on the Airbus seem quieter than the engines on a Boeing. When I got off our flight to JFK
, my ears weren't deafened from the roar of the jet engines. He had a dry sense of humor and asked me, "you're not taking flight lessons are you?" I replied that I was interested in being an Air Traffic Controller, but not brave enough to be a pilot. Later I thought about what seemed like an odd question, and after mentioning it to my mom we think he was making some reference to hijackers being in flying lessons prior to the attack. I thought that she could be right considering how rare I imagine it is that they let someone onto the flight deck nowadays.
Surprisingly we were the only ones waiting to take off! I did not see a single aircraft taxiing to a runway or arriving. That is how deserted it was on a Tuesday morning. From another thread I learned that it is apparently routine for Tuesday mornings at JFK
to be slow. The engines revved up, and...we all noticed that the left engine was making a rather frightening sound. It was a loud "grinding" sound...kind of like the type of sound you would hear when a prop flies overhead. It wasn't the normal roar of an engine. People started talking and looking out the window at the engine concerned. My mom even turned to me and said, "I don't like that sound." If this is normal, then I was definitely wrong about the Airbus having quieter engines! I got very nervous and sick to my stomach...I was hoping that this was because we were on the left side of the aircraft as my dad suggested (last time we were on the right), but I would imagine that the aircraft is symmetric in function. After we left the runway, the engine was still making that sound, now more prominent. I kept looking at the engine (what I could see of it) and saw nothing, except suburban New York
After about 20-30 minutes passed, the strange sound dissipated and I felt better.
I spent most of the flight tracking our flight progress on the in-flight TV
's. I thought it was interesting that during most of the flight, the A320 only traveled at 450mph. The only other time I had a measurement of a flight's velocity pre-JetBlue was the flight progress indicator on sites like Yahoo Travel which would report about 600mph for a Boeing, but maybe I am mistaken. For the majority of the flight we held a constant 35000 feet. Interestingly enough, about 2 hours before we landed, our altitude had climbed to 40,000 feet. I always knew this was possible, but I figured only long haul international flights would fly at this altitude. Our speed had also climbed to 500mph. And of course I was sweating the entire flight again...I figured this was just something to accept. The aircraft looked old, or just not maintained as well as some other airlines perhaps so maybe that was the problem. However, the flight attendant even commented on how hot it was. My dad then made a comical remark that maybe it was because we were flying over the desert and it was hot outside, to which the flight attendant and I chuckled. I explained that the air temperature was probably subzero, but he could have been correct in that I read that the aircraft skin could be very hot due to air friction.
Upon landing, we came to a very abrupt stop. It was a stop that caused one of those thrusting forward reactions. As we left the aircraft we bid farewell to the crew, and the captain still remembered my name. The convenience of the shuttle bus and the efficiency of the ground baggage crew got us out of the airport in about 30 minutes.
I would definitely fly JetBlue again as I felt that they were a great airline. It has some downsides (which I could be totally wrong about): aircraft seem somewhat old or not well maintained (due to the AC
not working properly if that was the case, the sound the engine made if abnormal, and the fact that I had to hold the headphone prong into the jack to hear the TV
). If JetBlue did these things intentionally to save money (I know they announced upon arrival to clean up our area as they do not clean the aircraft for the next flight to keep fares low), they did it correctly, because although some of the disadvantages were annoying, they did not at all alter my experience flying with them. I especially liked how they kept giving us drinks and snacks throughout the flight instead of giving us one large meal that I may not have enjoyed. I thought that was the smartest decision JetBlue could have made to save money if that is why they do it.
I took several photos of the aircraft, and the surrounding aircrafts at JFK
's terminals 6 and 7. I also shot quite a few pictures of TWA's old Terminal 5. I got a great picture of our aircraft. This will be my first time uploading pictures to this site...so I know what to expect
I am hoping to get a better camera, and learn how to take better pictures. All in all, the trip was great. Both the flights and New York City...and it was a great learning experience!
Question: What do you suppose that awful noise was?? It must have not been a big deal since we still departed JFK
. I am no mechanic by any means, but it sounded like something was stuck in the engine (probably not the case), or it needed serious oiling.