I recently got to fly JetBlue from Boston to San Francisco, which is always a treat. While it’s certainly not the first time I’ve flown them, it was my first flight on them since I started this blog, and I thought I’d take some time to talk about why I love JetBlue so much (even if they missed out on a chance to become even more amazing by acquiring fellow amazing airline Virgin America).
I first flew JetBlue in 2008 when I needed to book a trip to the Bay Area for a job interview. I booked it because it was the cheapest flight, but immediately, I was impressed with the in-flight TV, great leg room, and lots of quality free snacks. Three years later, they would become the biggest carrier out of Boston’s Logan International Airport, demonstrating that Boston is indeed a big enough market for a major airline to establish a hub there, rather than having their passengers connect through another city to get to their final destination.
A little over a year ago, people freaked out when JetBlue announced that they would be cutting back on leg room and adding checked bag fees. People thought JetBlue was selling out and becoming another big airline that didn’t care about its customers. Lost in the hubbub was the fact that JetBlue still will offer the most leg room (33.1 inches in economy) out of any US domestic carrier. And after flying them last week, I can attest that they still offer the best in-flight experience of any domestic carrier (I hesitate to actually call them the best domestic carrier, as Virgin America’s in-flight experience is almost as good, and they have a better on-time record).
If you’re a sports fan (especially of Boston teams), it’s a pretty fun experience to fly JetBlue out of Logan Airport, as the entrance to the Terminal C features the numerous championship banners that Boston sports teams have won.
As JetBlue has become the biggest carrier out of Logan, Terminal C is now almost exclusively JetBlue flights, save for flights on Emirates and Cape Air (both of whom they partner with) and Sun Country. The mood at the gate was a little festive, as they were celebrating the launch of its new Mint (first-class) cabin on transcontinental flights (which I have heard great things about, but doesn’t really have a place on this blog).
I’ve always been impressed with how JetBlue manages to stay one step ahead of the competition. They were the only domestic airline offering free in-flight TV in 2008, and only now eight years later is this starting to become standard on the larger airlines, though many have not rolled it out to their full fleet yet.
Given that free in-flight TV no longer sets JetBlue apart from the competition, they’ve now aimed to stand out by not only offering free wifi, but wifi that actually works well. If you’ve ever tried to use Gogo Inflight wifi, you’ve probably ended up later cursing yourself for spending money on such an unreliable product. How bad is it? It’s so bad that American Airlines sued them to get out of their contract.
As JetBlue prides itself on customer satisfaction, rather than settle for a contract with a company that provides inferior wifi, they designed their own wifi, known as Fly-Fi. It’s free for basic internet usage like checking email and Facebook, and $10/hour for faster internet for things like streaming (though you can reduce the cost with a card like the Discover It Miles which covers up to $30/year of in-flight wifi). The basic internet also allows for free Amazon streaming.
As the NCAA regional semifinals were also on, I did a little bit of multi-tasking, working on my blog, watching basketball in real-time, and doing work for my actual job (and I had no problems connecting to my company’s secure VPN and accessing files on the network).
If you grew up in the 90s, you might also remember VH1’s Pop-Up Video, which I watched for a little while and learned about Prince’s “1999.”
As you can see from the above photos, while these seats wouldn’t be mistaken for business class, I still had enough leg room for my 6’7″ frame.
With free in-flight TV, free wifi, plenty of leg room, and free jumbo-sized brand-name snacks and drinks, the 6-hour flight went by very smoothly, to the point that the recent announcements about scaling back do not bother me. Yes, while it would be nice in an ideal world to have free checked bags, JetBlue does need to please the investors somehow, and given that they’re still mostly a domestic carrier, I imagine most people will be able to pack everything they need into a carry-on suitcase.
Of course, for those who just do not want to pay this much money for all these nice amenities, there’s always Spirit.
Have a question? Feel free to email me, or post in the comments below.