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Review: JetBlue A320 Economy Class (JFK-MSY)

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In April of this year, I took a trip with my school to New Orleans. On the way there, we flew with JetBlue. While JetBlue gets a lot of attention for their phenomenal “Mint” premium product, their regular Economy product hasn’t been covered as extensively. As such, I thought it would be interesting to report back on my experience with what is considered to be one of the best Economy experiences in the United States. 

We arrived at JetBlue’s Terminal 5 at JFK around four hours before our flight. Since we were travelling in a large group, we were given a small roped off check-in area in order to streamline what would have been an undoubtedly messy process. The ground staff weren’t the friendliest but were patient enough when it came to dealing with eighty high-schoolers.

Security was a breeze and the TSA was uncharacteristically friendly. Afterwards, I grabbed some lunch and roamed the terminal with some of my friends, before heading to our boarding gate.

IMG_5252JetBlue A320 at New York JFK Airport 

When we arrived at the gate, the A320 waiting to take us to New Orleans was already waiting for us. I appreciate that JetBlue has pimped out its gate areas with plenty of power ports and comfortable seating, which makes for quite a nice change especially when compared to some of the dumpier terminals at JFK… (Terminal 7, I’m looking at you).

Shortly before boarding started, the gate agent announced that they were looking for twenty volunteers to gate check bags given how full the flight was to be. Shortly afterwards, boarding was called starting with passengers in Group A. Despite it being a full flight, the boarding process was smooth and orderly and we were onboard in no time.

JetBlue Flight 575
Thursday, April 12th, 2018
Origin: New York – John F. Kennedy (JFK) Dep: 14:29 (14:20)
Destination: New Orleans (MSY) Arr: 16:50 (16:40
Duration: 3 hours 21 min (3 hr 20 min)
Aircraft: Airbus A320 Reg: N804JB
Seat: 19C (Economy Class)

I was welcomed by two friendly flight attendants who were standing in the front galley.

This flight was operated by one of JetBlue’s older A320 aircraft, which featured the airline’s last generation of seats. For an airline with as much “character” as JetBlue, I found the cabins to be incredibly drab, boring and sterile. The grey leather seat covers were super boring and also heavily wrinkled. Thankfully, JetBlue is currently retrofitting their aircraft with brand new seats and mood lighting. On the flip side, the new seats have less (but still industry-leading) legroom and will be retrofitted with Airbus’ uncomfortable new “SpaceFlex” cabin configuration. Anyways, I digress…

IMG_5253Jetblue Airbus A320 Economy Class Cabin 

Ignoring the less-than-ideal condition of the cabin, the seat was nicely padded and comfortable enough for the three-hour flight down to New Orleans.

IMG_5257Jetblue Airbus A320 Economy Class Seat 

JetBlue was one of the first airlines in the United States to offer fleet-wide personal television screens, which I appreciated. Unfortunately, the televisions weren’t exactly working well. For example, mine was inexplicably turned off during boarding and occasionally flickered on and off as we taxied to the runway, and only started functioning properly after we took off.

IMG_5259Jetblue Airbus A320 Economy Class Television Screen 

The entertainment controller was in the armrest of the seat, making it extremely easy to accidentally switch to a new channel, which got extremely annoying. On the other hand, the controls were simple and intuitive.

On this aircraft, in-seat power was only available to those seated in Even More Space (extra-legroom Economy) seats. Thankfully, JetBlue’s retrofitted seats will offer USB ports for all passengers, which is a welcome improvement.

IMG_5260Jetblue Airbus A320 Economy Class Entertainment Controls 

The best part of the JetBlue experience is the legroom, which is industry-leading at 34 inches. JetBlue is one of only a handful of airlines to offer legroom this generous. Heck, even Cathay Pacific doesn’t even offer 34 inches of legroom in regular Economy! Unfortunately, the airline will be reverting to an industry standard 32 inches of legroom with their cabin retrofit program, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy it while it lasts. The seat also had a seat pocket which held the safety card, a card with information about JetBlue’s services and a buy onboard menu.

IMG_5256Jetblue Airbus A320 Economy Class Legroom and Seat Pocket 

Boarding was wrapped up on time and we left the stand 10 minutes early. As we were taxing out, the cabin crew completely a manual safety demonstration.

IMG_5261Jetblue Airbus A320 Economy Class Cabin During Taxi 

As we were taking off, I took some time to explore the information card in the seat pocket.

IMG_5258Jetblue Airbus A320 Economy Class Information Card 

The first few pages contained some information about the snacks available on the flight. I was particularly impressed by the wide range of complimentary unlimited snacks and drinks that JetBlue offers. It sure beat the boring old pretzels that you’d normally find on a legacy carrier. The card also contained information about JetBlue’s EatUp snack-boxes and alcohol for purchase.

IMG_5272Jetblue Airbus A320 Economy Class 

The card also contained some information about some of the entertainment options aboard the flight. On flights without video on demand, JetBlue offers several movies which are played on a loop. On newer aircraft, JetBlue provides video on demand which is supported by HBO. You can tune into SiriusXM and DirectTV on all JetBlue flights. As is the case with most American carriers, you could also purchase earbuds, blankets and neck pillows onboard.

IMG_5274Jetblue Airbus A320 Economy Class Entertainment Information 

There was also a route map which certainly satisfied my inner avgeek.

IMG_5273Jetblue Airbus A320 Economy Class Route Map 

On the last page, there was information about JetBlue’s Fly-Fi service, which provides gate-to-gate WiFi free of charge for members of JetBlue’s TrueBlue frequent flyer program. The service was easy to use and worked really well during the flight.

IMG_5275Jetblue Airbus A320 Economy Class FlyFi Card

There was also a safety card, which was decorated in the same style as the aircraft’s tailfin, which I thought was a cute little detail.

IMG_5277Jetblue Airbus A320 Economy Class Safety Card 

Lastly, there was a menu for JetBlue’s “EatUp Cafe”, which was unfortunately not offered on this specific flight.

IMG_5276Jetblue Airbus A320 Economy Class EatUp Menu 

Soon after we took off, my television screen finally turned on, which I immediately switched over the airshow. The airshow was linked to the SiriusXM Satellite Radio service onboard.

IMG_5262Jetblue Airbus A320 Economy Class Airshow 

Shortly after takeoff, all passengers were forced to watch a pretty boring informational video about JetBlue, including information about JetBlue’s partners and the JetBlue Barclaycard Credit Card. After the video was played, an announcement was made welcoming passengers aboard, which was then followed by the inevitable credit card bitch.

IMG_5263Jetblue Airbus A320 Economy Class Welcome Slideshow 

Just as we started our cruise, I decided to flick through the different channels on DirecTV. There was a decent range of channels. I eventually settled on watching CNN. A full channel guide was available on the entertainment system.

IMG_5264Jetblue Airbus A320 Economy Class DirecTV 

The DirecTV service would occasionally cut out for short intermittent periods of time.

IMG_5266Jetblue Airbus A320 Economy Class DirecTV No Signal Screen

JetBlue’s service flow is interesting in the sense that they do not use carts. The service started with flight attendants coming around the cabin offering EatUp snack boxes, blankets, pillows and earbuds for purchase. Items could be purchased using credit or debit card, as well as Apple Pay.

IMG_5265Jetblue Airbus A320 Economy Class Cabin During Cruise 

Then, the flight attendants came around the cabin taking drink orders row by row, which would then be prepared in the galley and served “by hand” on specially designed trays. I ordered an Ocean Spray Apple Juice, which was a little on the small side especially when compared to the full-sized sodas that were otherwise offered.

IMG_5268Jetblue Airbus A320 Economy Class Complimentary Drinks

The cabin crew also came through the cabin with a snack basket. I took a pack of JetBlue’s famed Terra Chips, which were really tasty.

IMG_5269Jetblue Airbus A320 Economy Class Snack 

While the crew mostly stayed in the back galley for the rest of the flight, they did set out some snacks and water bottles for passengers to take. More drinks and snacks were available upon request.

Speaking of the crew, while they seemed stressed and a little unfriendly during the boarding process, they loosened up after takeoff and were quite friendly during the snack service. They genuinely seemed to enjoy their jobs and joked around a little bit, so no complaints here.

Just as we began our approach into New Orleans, there was another credit card pitch, which was blissfully short, followed by another round of cabin crew walking throughout the cabin with applications. Jeez.

IMG_5270Jetblue Airbus A320 Economy Class Cabin During Descent 

Our descent was a little bumpy, but some of the scenery was gorgeous. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a good picture since I was seated in an aisle seat. We landed ten minutes ahead of schedule and taxied to our gate. I bid the crew farewell and headed out with my school to our coach bus.

Bottom Line: JetBlue A320 Economy Class

JetBlue’s Economy product has often been touted as the United States’ best domestic Economy product. Unfortunately, I didn’t see it on my flight. Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciated the friendly service, the industry-leading legroom, free gate-to-gate WiFi and decent snack and drink selection. However, the seat technology was rather dated and the cabin itself was just drab, which was especially surprising given JetBlue’s “trendy” and modern brand image. While I wouldn’t actively avoid flying JetBlue, I wouldn’t also go out of my way to fly them, at least on their older aircraft (which still make up a majority of their shorthaul fleet). I look forward to giving JetBlue another try on one of their retrofitted aircraft…

Have you flown JetBlue economy before? What was your experience like?

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