My best friend got stationed from Ft. Bragg to Ft. Huachuca in Southern Arizona, and having 2 cars, he was either going to need to make 2 cross country trips, or with the help of yours truly, only do it once.
Monday, Jan 25th.
My original plan was to fly US to BUF (My friend's family lives in BUF, so here was there on PCS leave) but after a few days of checking PBT's through PHL, I decided to switch flights and get to BUF through the LAS redeye, then through PHL. On the afternoon before I was to leave, I was checking the US employee travel site, and a light went off in my head the B6 has a PHX redeye to JFK. I did some research, and called the B6 listing number, where a very nice agent informed me there were plenty of open seats on the JFK flight, and even more on the BUF leg. Dilemma settled.
My wife took me to Sky Harbor at 9:30 pm, she dropped me off at Terminal 4 so I could buy a ZED ticket at the US Airways counter. I walked up to the full service counter and gave the agent my employee badge, and 5 minutes later I was on the shuttle bus to Terminal 3. The Jetblue agent at the ticket counter was extremely helpful and friendly, and told me my seat was already released, always a good thing to hear when you're flying standby. He also mentioned I had been selected for additional screening at TSA, since I was another airline employee flying such last minute.
The TSA agents were almost asleep when I walked up to security. All the TSA agents were suprised I had been selected for more screening (I was wearing my US Airways badge and PHX SIDA badge) but nonetheless we went through the formalities. All the agents were extrememly profressional, and the whole process took maybe 10 minutes....no big deal.
The South side of T3 was absolutely dead save for my flight. I walked up to the gate and asked the agent if she had any aisle seats available. I had been assigned 3F, but knew I wouldn't have anything to look at, and figured I'd be getting up alot to stretch my legs, so I didn't want to disturb any other pax in the row. She gladly helped me out, and even gave me 10C, an exit row.....nice! Boarding commenced at 11pm, with families first, then rows 15 and higher, followed by "everyone else" as the agent put it. I ened up in a row with only 1 other person on the window, with the middle open....the night just keeps getting better. I was really excited to check out the Direct TV. I have always wanted to fly B6, but never had a reason to. I settled into some Sportscenter and got comfy.
Airbus A320-232 N639JB
"A little blue will do"
tail scheme - Stripes
I was impressed immediately by B6. The FO came out of the flightdeck to give his welcome on board speech, while standing at the front of the a/c, face to face with all the pax. I think this was a nice touch, it puts a face to the voice overhead.....The FA's uniforms were immaculate, I love the little scarfs around the neck, very classy!
The flight was about 75% full, and we pushed about 5 minutes early. We taxied to Runway 25R, and being that late, I didn't notice another aircraft moving, except for a WN pulling into the gate at the C concourse of T4. Off we blasted into the night sky, a turn South, than East. During the climb, the captain informed us of a very helpful tailwind, and said we were scheduled into JFK about a half hour early. I noticed this a/c didn't have the XM satellite radio, which wasn't a big deal, but I guess for someone who doesn't want to watch TV, they'd be bummd out. FA's came through with drinks and snacks, I chose a Coke and a bag of Terra Blue potatoe chips, and an almond biscotti.
For only being 4 hours, the flight flew by (no pun intended) I wathed TV for about 2 and a half hours, and got about an hour of sleep with the shut eye pack (an eye mask and ear plugs, still a nice touch) When I woke up I ventured to the rear of the a/c and got a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee, which was the best coffee I've ever had on board an airplane!!!
We made a soft landing on 31R I think, I only made an educated guess based on the flightmap and the short taxi to gate 24. This was my first time on B6, and first time at JFK and BUF, so 3 more checkmarks for the trip. We deplaned, and since i only had my carryone roll-aboard, and made my way across the tiny little concourse to gate 19 where my next flight to BUF was leaving out of. I had about an hour, so I got some more coffee and some donuts from a stand 20 feet from the gate (which is kinda nice I guess) and only paid like 3 bucks....I was expecting it to be more expensive in NYC. I can't complain about breakfast for 3 bucks. I walked up to the little gate when an agent arrived, and was immediately given a seat. I basically snoozed for a half hour until boarding was called.
Tuesday, Jan 26th
6:40am - 8:04 am
Airbus A320-232 N559JB
"Here's looking at Blue, kid"
tail scheme - Super Dots
I was given seat 16A for this fight, and was one of the first on board, so I had plenty of time to eat my breakfast and ended up chatting with the lawyer who was in my row. This flight was bout 50% full, so everyone had plenty of room. Next to us in the gate was "Devil with a blue dress on". We pushed early again, and made our way to 22R. We made an immediate left turn and circled around the airport and headed NW toward BUF. Cruise was at FL220, and I had just enough time to watch an episode of JAG on USA on the PTV. The flight was relatively smooth, until we descended into the muck and 1/2 mile viz in snow @ BUF. The pilot made a smooth landing, followed by a little "squirrely" action as we started to drift sideways while still only on the mains. The right reverser was deployed followed by the left about 5 seconds later. No pax seemed to notice, but it was obvious the runway was a little slick, very professional handled, and like I said, to the non pilot or aviation inclined, it was hardly noticed....BUF was very busy as we pulled in, with the morning departures bank in full swing. We were off the a/c in about 10 minutes.
The roadtrip was successfull, we just missed the huge snowstorm that slammed Cleveland. Our route was
Day 1 - Buffalo, NY - Erie, PA - Cleveland, OH - Columbus, OH - Indianapolis, IN - St. Louis, MO.
Day 2 - St. Louis, MO - Tulsa, OK - Oklahoma City, OK - Amarillo, TX - Albuquerque, NM.
Day 3 - Albuquerque, NM - Las Cruces, NM - Sierra Vista, AZ and Ft. Huachuca.
After getting both his cars on post, I decided that rather then having him drive me back up to PHX, which would be a 6 hour roundtrip, I had him take me to TUS and I could just hop on a Mesa flight.
We made it to TUS in about 40 minutes, along the way I had my wife list me for flight 2916 to PHX. My buddy dropped me off at about 5:15 for a 5:50 flight. I ran up to the counter and handed the ticket agent my ID Badge, and they gave me my seat which had already been released. TSA took about 3 minutes and I even had time to get an iced coffee from the snack stand by gate 9.
Thursday, Jan 28th
US Airways Express #2916 operated by Mesa Airlines
5:50 pm - 6:30 pm
Canadair Regional Jet - CRJ900.
This was also my first RJ900 ride as well, check mark number 4! I was given seat 20F, zone 2, so I waited until almost everyone else was on board, as I've done enought RJ hops in my life. The flight was relatively full, with only about 6 open seats, and luckily enough, one of them being the one next to me! We pushed right on time, and made the long taxi to 29R. We rotated almost at the terminal, and picked up the SUNNS6 arrival to PHX via the BBALL intersection. Our cruise was only 16,000 feet, and we begain our decent after only 5 minutes at cruise. We were vectored for what seemed like a visual to 25L, and were parrallel with an Ameriflight King Air to 26. I really missed having my camera here, as we touched down, another Mesa CRJ-200 was rolling on 25R, and lifted off right as we rolled out, it was pretty cool to watch. We landed about 20 minutes after we left TUS. We waited for a US A319 to roar by on 25R, then took the Tango taxiway to gate number B9 at T4. My wife was there to pick me up, and we fought rush hour, which was still going strong at 7pm all the way to our West Valley home.
Overall, I must say, if I ever have the chance, I will fly Jetblue in an instant!!! Professional, clean, entertaining, truly amazing! I'm almost ready to say they beat out UA as my favorite airline....Awesome job Jetblue!
As always, feedback is appreciated and welcomed! Please feel free to ask any questions!! Sorry I forgot my camera.