Benvenuto a Boston
On the first of June, JetBlue opened the crewbase in Boston. The base will start off with a total of 135 crewmembers and will expand to 250 by the time all the expansion is complete. The base went really junior, which I had expected. Many of the senior folks where going to wait to see what the trip pairings looked like. The June pairings where great in my eyes as they included a lot of LAS and PHX redeye turns as well as a multitude of Florida turns to MCO and PBI. There where also a couple of 4 day trips included. I like doing redeye flights as most of the customers are asleep and don’t really require that much care and attention.
Being Boston based and now being a line holder is going to open up the wonderful world of being a real flight attendant. I now can pick my trips, as I am pretty senior in the base, and commute in to work my flights. I will be commuting in from Michigan for a few months until I can find a nice apartment and move to Boston. On the first the company held a nice little party in the crew lounge for all of the crewmembers. The also handed out cute little key chains as well as our monthly passes on the “T”. That’s the great thing about JetBlue, they will hand out travel vouchers for travel on public transportation. In New York we received $65 worth of transit checks that where good on the Metro and AirTrain. Here in Boston we will receive $85 for the “T” and the bussing system. The company really looks after their own. I met some of the crewmembers that I would be flying with from now on. As a small base we will be flying with some of the same people over and over. I had some cake and a couple of pops and went to check in for my deadhead to OAK.
I am booked on 477 out to OAK but another crewmember said we should try for 473 as it was the earlier departure and we would have longer rest once we got to OAK. Here’s what gets me, airlines are constantly telling customers that if they have an important meeting or whatever on the next day, they should not take the last departure incase the flight gets cancelled. We where going to be operating a trip the next morning from OAK to IAD, so what does the company do? They put us on the last departure of the day for OAK. It would have been really ironic had we not made it to OAK to operate our trip because the company didn’t follow their own advice.
I check in for 473 and get a window seat in row 26 so I can catch some sleep on my way out to OAK. Only later would I find out that I would not be able to sleep for a multitude of reasons.
Photo © Josh Akbar - NYCAviation
BOS-OAK Flight Time: 6hr 01min
Flight: 473 N543JB “Only Blue”
Customers Manifested: 130
I am putting this deadhead into the TR because it is part of the pairing and it turned out to be an extremely interesting flight, to say the least. I boarded and headed back to take my seat. As I entered the aircraft I stopped and introduced myself to the flight deck crew and told them where I would be sitting if they needed me and that I am a licensed pilot should they need any help. Almost all of our crews will say “HI” to the guys up front just so they know who is riding in the back incase of any problems that may arise. I left the cockpit and started down the aisle and introduced myself to the crewmembers that where working the flight and gave them the same introduction I gave the guys up front. After I stowed my roll-a-board and laptop, I took my tote and collapsed into my seat, 26F. I was extremely tired as I had not been sleeping well because of my allergies. The record heat in the Northeast was playing with my sinuses. Unfortunately I didn’t have any Claritin on me so I would have to suffer until I made it to OAK. I later took some Airborne, which helped greatly, awesome product that I highly recommend!!
We where all boarded and ready to go by 1705 but didn’t go anywhere, the captain later came on and told us that because of the thunderstorms that where coming in we where awaiting a new flight plan and takeoff slot from ATC. He didn’t think the delay would be too long. I didn’t care; I just plugged in my headset and watched TV. I dosed off a bit, until the captain came back on and said we where ready to go. We pushed back at 1740 and made our way to 22R. We rolled on to the runway and started to creep down the runway. I thought we where just getting a little bit of speed before we tookoff. Instead we just rolled down the runway and turned off on 33R and made our way back into the takeoff line. We then taxied up a bit and made a right turn on N1 and held short for an aircraft on final. We then taxied onto 22R and back taxied to the end, spun around and took off. I guess the line needed to be reshuffled or something. I really didn’t care because I was half asleep. Our routing would take us extremely north into Canada. I thought for a brief moment that I would see the Hudson Bay!!
I started to fall asleep but couldn’t so I decided to watch The Ringer on FoxInflight. The cabin crew came through drinks and snacks. I watched out the window some and saw the massive anvil tops of the thunderheads that we where dodging. I was glad that I decided to take the earlier flight because of said storms. About 2½ hours into the flight my attention was taken away from the movie as one of the crewmembers grabbed my attention and asked if I could come into the back galley. I thought it was a bit odd but I agreed and started to get up. As I was getting up she asked me if I could grab my binder, code for my manual. Now my attention was really peaked because the only time we grab our manuals is if something is wrong. I climb across the 2 other customers seated next to me and head into the back.
3 of the 4 flight attendants are in the back, the lead is on the phone and the other 2 are tearing apart the back galley. One of the flight attendants comes up to me and says the Lavs aren’t working and they don’t know why. I told her that they couldn’t be full as we where only 2 hours into the flight. The lead hangs up the phone and asks if the other 2 had found the other circuit breaker panel. I asked what they where looking for and one of them said that they where looking for the second circuit breaker panel that had the breaker for the vacuum system. The 320 lavs are powered by a vacuum, no blue ice flows in the toilet system, just water. I told her that the second panel was located in the ceiling of the aft galley. It’s nice being an a.netter and a flight sim buff as I pretty much know where everything in the cabin is located! The found the panel and the breaker and reset it. They where hoping that that would fix the system because if it didn’t they would have to divert and get it fixed. We had 4 more hours on that aircraft and there would be a riot if the lavs didn’t work. I watched the panel up front after she reset the breaker and I saw the red fault lights where off, they went in and tested the system and success, they worked! Crisis number 1 on the trip was averted; the second one would be coming only a couple hours down the road.
As I stated the rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. We made a beeline for OAK from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I resettled into my seat and started to watch the second movie, Cheaper By the Dozen 2. I was pretty impressed with the movie. Eugene Levy and Steve Martin where great together!
I believe we where over Utah when I heard another commotion in the back galley. This time I made it preemptive and got up and headed into the back. They had a new problem, it was the lavs again and we had about 1½ left in the trip. This time they weren’t working because they where full! I had noticed an excessive amount lav usage by the customers but I didn’t think anything of it. The first officer came on and made an announcement about the lavs and said they would divert if they needed to but if everybody was comfortable we would continue on to OAK. Everybody onboard wanted to continue so that’s what they decided to do.
It was an uneventful rest of the trip to OAK, we hit the usual Nevada turbulence a we started down into OAK. We made an uneventful landing at 2107 and where at the gate by 2111. I stayed onboard to help the crew clean and wished them a better trip back to JFK. We headed out to the curb to get our hotel van and meet up with our 3rd crewmember, the 4th crewmember, our lead, stayed of the late departure for OAK and would be delayed 2 hours getting in so he was put on reduced rest for the next morning. Once we checked in and I got settled into our room I needed to head out to WalMart to pick up some Claritin for my allergies. I met up with a fellow crewmember and we started walking there. Somebody said that they thought WalMart closed at 2200 but they weren’t sure. As it was now 2210 we decided to try anyways. As we walked through the parking lot we where approached by a gentleman on a bike. The guy asked us if he could “get us anything”. I and the other crewmember immediately knew what he was talking about and said no thanks. He then began to tell us some sob story about how he just got out of jail that afternoon and how he was hungry and wondered if he could get some money for food. I wasn’t about to give him any so instead I decided to give him some advice. I told him that he needed to fix his story. If he just got out of prison that afternoon, how did he already have access to a bike and drugs? I told him that he needed to perfect his story before approaching people. The other crewmember was practically laughing his arse off at what I was doing. We then walked away and found out that WalMart was closed. I would have to wait until the next day to get relief, unless I wanted to use some mary-jane to ease my suffering!
I got up the next morning and started back to WalMart and low and behold who do I run into? It was my friend from last night, and it’s pretty obvious he doesn’t remember me and starts into his sob story again. It’s pretty obvious that he hasn’t heeded my advice because now he just got out of prison earlier that morning. I saw Oakland PD driving by and I started to flag them down, he immediately took off. I told the officer that that guy was trying to sell me drugs and was harassing me. She said not to worry about it and she would take care of him and was on her way after him. As I continued my walk I called our security office and gave them a description of the guy and what had happened. I wanted them to know about the problem so they could warn other crewmember about what was going on. I made it to WalMart and got the relief that I desperately needed. I few more hours and I would have to be at the airport for my 2 legs.
I got dressed, met up with the rest of my crew and made our way to the airport. Our flight was leaving at 1205 for IAD.
Photo © Paul Leach
OAK-IAD Flight Time: 4hr 30min
Flight: 302 N594JB “Whole Lotta Blue”
Customers Manifested: 130
We got to the airport at 1045 and where onboard doing out safety checks by 1105. Boarding started by 1130 as we had a pretty full flight. This turn was going to be torturer for me with my allergies acting up. The Claritin was working but the pressure was going to try and counteract the medicine. It looked like I was going to have a pretty great group of customers in my section for the trip to IAD. We where buttoned up and started to push back at 1200 on the nose. We quickly headed out to the runway and sat for a bit while we waited for some arriving traffic. We where wheels up at 1222 and on our way to a cool and very rainy and storming Northern Virginia.
As I was the number 2 for the trip I would be in the cabin as soon as we reached 10,000ft. We got the signal and I got up and proceeded to unlock the switched on rows 10 and 11. I then went back up to the front and began to set up the galley as everybody seemed content in the cabin. I got our serving trays out of the overhead and set them in 1D as that seat back was entirely empty. I also turned the TV in 1D to the Weather Channel so I could monitor the weather in IAD. I went into the galley and began to setup for our service. A few minutes later I was hit in the back of the legs with my serving trays. I turned around to find a customer had picked them up out of the seat and threw them at me. I put the trays down and politely asked her what she was doing throwing the trays at me. She was an elderly Indian lady and looked as if she was mad at the world. I really don’t think she understood me and the woman that was traveling with her, seated in 2C got up and asked my why I was harassing her mother. I politely told her that these serving trays where sitting in 1D and that her mother had just thrown them at me. She got all disgusted and told me in a snotty voice that her mother wanted to sit in the 1st row so she could spread out her legs and that I had no right to mistreat her mother. I kinda laughed and told the daughter that her mother could sit where ever she wanted but she had no right to throw the serving trays at me. All she had to do was ask and I would have gladly moved them. The daughter was shocked that I remained calm in response to her outbursts and yelling at me, so she apologized and retreated to her seat. I love it when I remain calm and people get upset that I didn’t yell back at them. I have a way with words which allows me to remain very calm all while making you feel horrible for yelling.
The entire rest of the trip was extremely uneventful, nothing like the day before, this morning, or the incident in row 1. We did our 4 services and kept up an appearance in the cabin. We where over West Virginia when I noticed that we were doing “S” turns in the sky, the captain would come on and say ATC was slowing us down for spacing because of the weather delays in and around the DC area. I would later find out that we where 5 minutes away from diverting to RIC because ATC couldn’t decide if we could continue in or be placed in a holding pattern. We where only loaded with enough fuel to make the trip plus just over the FAA required reserve, so we didn’t have much fuel to play with. We did continue into the airport but since ATC slowed us down we where now going to be late in arriving. We landed on a wet runway at 2014 and began our long taxi back to our gate. We finally blocked in at 2020. As in keeping with the usual transcontinental flights the customer trashed the plane. I have come to expect it as they are locked inside a metal tube for several hours, several rows had news papers strung all throughout the row, there were animal cracker and orange peelings smashed into the carpet, and cups and cans in ever nook and cranny of that aircraft. All this in spite of the several dozen trips we make through the cabin collecting the trash and all other items. We quickly where cleaned, and catered as we would begin boarding in a couple of minutes. We met our new flight deck crew and ran through their briefing and sweet talked the FO into getting some pizza for us while we boarded.
Photo © Paul Leach
IAD-OAK Flight Time: 5hr 15min
Flight: 321 N594JB “Whole Lotta Blue”
Customers Manifested: 132
With in the first 5 minutes I thought it was going to be an extremely long trip back to OAK. There where about 60 grade school kids boarding and they where carrying on and having a good time and letting everybody else on the aircraft know they where onboard. They where seated in the back of the aircraft and as soon as they sat down they started to swap seats. Even though another crewmember and myself told them several times to take their original seats and they could switch when we where airborne they decided not to listen. They also decided they would take which ever seat they wished. Including seats that where assigned to other customers. We where ready to push back by 2059 but they kept standing and switching seats, I had to get on the PA and say that every customer must remain seated until we where airborne otherwise we wouldn’t be allowed to leave. Everybody in the front half of the cabin turned around and looked at them and that got them to sit down. I don’t know if they where chaperoned or not but they weren’t acting like it. I already had several complaints about how loud they where being but I reassured the customers that it would quite down as we had the best babysitters in the world, the TVs. Sure enough once we turned them on they all quieted and went to sleep.
Unfortunately for you guys, this day was turning out to be extremely uneventful. There where no major problems during either of the flights. Hopefully all the problems where sorted out on the deadhead and the first night in OAK. We waited about 30 minutes to do our first beverage and snack service. This would allow those customers that wanted to sleep ample time to relax and fall asleep. It would also mean less work for us. I worked through my section in a pretty timely fashion as many in my section where sleeping. A couple wanted some alcohol but no real major problems presented themselves. We quickly made our way out to OAK and experienced some light chop the entire way our but nothing to raise a stink over.
We let the mice out of their cage a couple of times during the flight so they could stretch their legs and occasionally use the rest room. We made a pretty smooth descent and arrival into the evening Oakland sky. We landed at 2337 and where at the gate by 2343. We let our sleepy customers deplane while we gathered the pillows and blankets for the cleaning crew. We then grab our bags and make our way to the curb with the FO and wait for the van to the hotel.
I still haven’t been sleeping well as my allergies have been acting up. At lease I am able to sleep in today and rest up before our flight out this afternoon. I did rise early to head down to the lobby to eat a very nice breakfast. I took my Claritin and was feeling a lot better by early afternoon. Since we weren’t leaving until later afternoon I walked over to the nice strip mall outside of our hotel. At least this time I wouldn’t be harassed to buy some marijuana!! I ate some wonderful pizza at the California Pizza Kitchen and then strolled through Old Navy to buy some new jeans for myself. I found the jeans that I wanted I headed back to the hotel to pack and get ready for my trip out this evening.
Photo © Scott Kiel
OAK-LGB Flight Time: 1hr 30min
Flight: 253 N528JB “Mi Corazon Azul”
Customers Manifested: 75
We found our pilots waiting for us in the hotel lobby, they too where waiting for our shuttle to the airport. The shuttle finally showed up around 1600 and we boarded and where off. We where all joking around and having a great time as we made our way down the highway towards OAK. Once at the airport we made our way through a non existent security line and towards our gate. I grabbed some pizza and sat behind the gate to quickly scarf it down. I don’t know why but when my allergies act up I get extremely hungry, go figure. As I sat there I saw one of the gate agents who went through training with us but didn’t make it all the way through, that is another story which is still a bit on the touchy side to me. We talked and caught up as we hadn’t seen each other in 5 months. I let him get back to work as he was working a flight to JFK that was delayed to due weather over NYC.
Our aircraft was on the ground and was waiting for the JFK plane to push. Our aircraft finally arrived and deplaning started almost instantly. We where going to be rushed getting our flight out on time as this aircraft arrived several minutes late, but with it being a Saturday evening flight to southern California we should be able to leave on time. I got onboard the aircraft and immediately checked the exit row seats and the recline switches then made my way to the front galley to check the equipment up front. I quickly ran through all the checks in the front galley and stood up by the cockpit door so we could brief with the pilots.
After our briefing with the pilots, the lead flight attendant told the gate agent they could board when ever they please. We only had a small 75 customers on board, and as a comparison we have 52 aisle seats in the entire aircraft. We just started flying OAK-LGB so the loads haven’t yet picked up. The advanced bookings are finally starting to pick up and show the strength of the route.
We had all customers on board and where ready to go by 1725. With the doors closed, doors armed, and all customers seated we started out push at 1727 and where on our way to LGB. We followed a couple of Southwest aircraft out to the runway where we sat for a couple of extra minutes. The captain finally got on the PA and told us we where number 1 and where off the ground at 1744. We turned to the west and continued out over the bay and out to the Pacific Ocean before we where cleared on course to the south. We where cleared to go about our service as we passed through 10,000ft. We decided to use the full snack basket since we where so lightly loaded. I went into the back of the aircraft and grabbed one snack basket for the whole front of the aircraft, while the lead flight attendant set up the galley for the service. Since the flight was so lightly loaded one snack basket would cover the whole front half of the aircraft and it also means the flight attendants in the back have 1 less snack basket to fill. We usually do the short service which consists the full beverage service and the one sweet and one salty snack.
With the galley set up and ready for service I grabbed my order pad, a hand full of napkins and 8 waters and made my way to my section. Some people like to criticize us for our lack of using the beverage cart. They say that it takes us longer to go through with the beverages. However on my last flight home with Northwest, I timed them to see how long it took them to go through the main cabin of the A319. It took them 25 minutes to go through the cabin. Their flight was full so I had to wait until I worked a full flight of about the same duration. It took our flight crew 30 minutes to go through with the beverage service. Only 5 more minutes, with a lot less experienced crew, and more seats. If you want to factor in that we still had to go back through with snacks it took us a total of 35 minutes to complete our service. Not much of a time difference considering the facts.
I took the orders of all the customers seated in my section and made my way back my galley up front and began to fill my orders. I thought I would be able to fill all the orders with just one trip, but I didn’t want to risk losing half the tray and spilling it. I already handed out all my water requests while I was taking orders so that was one less thing I would have on my tray. I put the large cans of pop on the tray and the 2 cans of juice in the pockets of my apron. I am one of the few guys that use the apron, but I love it. I am able to carry more and get my orders filled quicker. With my tray loaded with cups of ice, pop, and juice in the apron I headed out and began to distribute the requests. I was able to fill rows 8 to 11 on the first trip so all I had left was 12 and 13. After a quick reload of pop and ice I was back out into the aisle and filled the rest of the orders.
The lead flight attendant was finished with her service so we decided to go out and distribute snacks together. I would take the left side of the aircraft and he would take the right. Many people took the snack mix and the Terra Blue Potato Chips. We finished up with our beverage and snack service and while the lead cleaned up the galley, I went through the cabin to collect and service items that the customers where done with.
In no time we where passing through 10,000ft and getting closer to LGB and a nice 2 hour break. All four of us made our way through the cabin to pick up any remaining service items, making sure all seatbelts are fastened and seatbacks and tray tables are returned to their stowed position. Most customers have flown before so they know the whole final descent routine, so we usually don’t have to remind many people to do these few things.
We made a smooth touchdown at 1847 and pulled into our south parking stand at 1850. This aircraft was going to be used as a spare so we would deplane and just gather the pillows and blankets and then be off to have a nice 2 hours rest. Deplaning took about 7 minutes because we rear deplane as well as front deplane. So the customers in rows 14 through 26 can exit via the rear if they so choose. We then gathered all the pillows and blankets and put them on the aisle seats, grabbed our bags and exited the aircraft. I had to run to the ticket counter to grab a pass request so I could get home to Michigan via Northwest in the morning.
Photo © Anthony Russo
LGB-BOS Flight Time: 5hr 10min
Flight: 488 N529JB “Ole Blue Eyes”
Customers Manifested: 79
I got my pass from the ticket counter and stored my luggage in the back room and made my way to the beautiful little restaurant above the terminal. I joined my fellow crewmembers and got some food to take for the overnight flight back to Boston. If you are ever in LGB and have a chance I do highly suggest you make a stop by this nice little restaurant. You can sit outside and watch all the ramp activities, granted all you will see is JetBlue aircraft and many private jets. I also suggest getting the French Chicken Sandwich!!
We made our way back to the gate and got on board our aircraft and began all of our checks. We still where an hour or so away from boarding, but the ground crew had the ground power on so we just turned the TVs on and sat and enjoyed the brief break. The plane we boarded was a spare so it was sitting all day. We all went to our respective doors and opened them and put in the safety tape so we could get some air flowing through the cabin. I sat and enjoyed my chicken sandwich and watched the late night Sunday programming.
We began boarding at 2010 and since we only had 79 customers, I knew that it wasn’t going to take too long to get everybody onboard and seated. We had everybody onboard and overheads closed by 2020. Since we still had 10 minutes before we could leave, we turned the TVs on and told the customers to enjoy while we loaded the last of the bags. We closed the doors and where all armed and ready to go at 2030. We switched the TVs back to standby and began our safety demo. Pushback came at 2033 and we where on our way home.
We began our smooth journey down the runway and where in the air by 2046. It was a beautiful evening in southern California and we had a smooth climb up to our cruising altitude. Upon passing 10,000 ft, the lead flight attendant began setting up the galley as I passed out our Bliss kits. Many people where surprised that we where handing out these nice little kits on the overnight flight. Many customers took this opportunity to change seats around and spread out and take entire seat banks (3 seats, compared to a row which is 6 seats) to themselves. By the time we began our service, over 90% of our customers where sound asleep with they eye masks and ear plugs in. We took orders from the few that where awake and promptly got them their drinks and snacks.
The flight was pretty uneventful. Over Iowa we encountered some pretty rough air that was associated with a pretty strong line of storms that was moving through the area. The rid did get pretty bumpy as it did startle a couple of customers but it smoothed out as quickly as it had started. The lightning was putting on a pretty impressive show as it danced through the sky. I tried to get a couple of pictures but it was just to dark for anything to be made out. The lead did go into the cockpit to see if he could get some pictures and video but it was hard to see. We did run into another set of storms over Bloomington, IL, which gave us another good lightning show.
The rest of the flight was uneventful. We where now running a bit behind schedule because we had to dodge several lines of thunderstorms but we would make a DOT on time arrival. As we passed through 10,000ft to of the inflight crewmembers made their way through the cabin doing their final safety checks as the rest of us made our way though with our hot towel service. This was my first time doing the hot towel service and I had the wrong impression by thinking it was going to be another pain for us. I was completely wrong; it was very easy and took all of 3 minutes to make it through. I then made another quick run through to pick up the used towels and then took my jumpseat for landing.
We finally touched down at 0501 and where at the gate 4 minutes later at 0505. Once we blocked in and disarmed the doors I said good bye to the crew and began my run to the E Terminal to catch my Northwest flight home to Michigan. I asked the permission of the crew to leave without cleaning, which consisted of collecting pillows and blankets as the cleaning crew made the aircraft ready for its departure to JFK. The crew was more than willing to let me tear off once we landed and parked.
I know this report was a long time coming but I’ve been so extremely busy this past month and haven’t had time to sit and write it. I have another one that should follow closely behind this one and it should be another interesting report for you to read. I seem to be a magnet for interesting flights and I have not had any shortage of entertainment on my flights!
Thank You for reading!!