I found it somewhat strange as I met folks in Puerto Rico last week; many of them wanted to know if it was my first trip to the island and I wasn’t really sure how to answer. Technically it was my third and it was the second time I actually managed to leave the airport, but it was still the only time I’d spent more than just a layover (the previous “visit” was about 3 hours in the middle of the night). Eventually I stopped trying to explain myself and went with the simple answer, that it was my first trip, but that seemed a bit like cheating. It did get me thinking about my previous trips, as well as the current one, and I realized that all three were flown on JetBlue. The first two were part of my All You Can Jet adventures a couple years ago and this time I had a choice – flights were pretty much the same price across a couple carriers – and I quite happily ended up on JetBlue once again.
Things started a bit ugly on Monday morning. The security line at Newark A2 was, as it often is at 7:30am, a complete mess. I could have splurged for the Even More Speed benefit from JetBlue but I managed to use my United elite status to get into the elite line. It helped a bit and soon enough I was inside security, ready to board If the Blue fits… for the 3.5 hour flight to San Juan. The line for departures was reasonably short and very soon after an on-time push-back we were on our way.
Booking on JetBlue I knew there would be no upgrades, something that I almost certainly would have received on United. Not a big deal for the short, daytime flight in general, and with the standard 34″ pitch on their A320s the JetBlue seats were plenty spacious for my needs. Plus, the snack options are way more fun on JetBlue; these were not the only two packs of Animal Crackers I had on the flight.
The flight was completely uneventful. I ate my snacks, read a bit and stared out the window at the Atlantic ocean.
Three hours later we were touching down at SJU, ready to get the week rolling.
There was a minor delay getting a JetBridge operator when we landed. Not a big deal at all as we were waiting on checked bags anyways and we had arrived early.
On the return flight I managed to tease myself a bit by taking a peek at the new JetBlue terminal at SJU. It is going to be a tremendous improvement from the existing facility when it opens later this month.
We successfully navigated the USDA inspection and the TSA process and shortly thereafter found ourselves in the rather Spartan gate area. This is, unfortunately, the one JetBlue focus city/hub where they do not offer free WiFi. Hopefully that gets fixed with the new terminal opening up. The good news is that we didn’t have long to spend in the terminal before we boarded our flight back to Newark.
A couple weeks ago JetBlue’s twitter account had mentioned a new feature beer in their service for the summer: Brooklyn Summer Ale. Given the opportunity to make friends with the flight attendants I rarely shy away and this seemed a perfect situation to play that game. While boarding was still happening I went back to the galley to see if they had actually stocked the new supply. It is a good thing I checked as they had it in the cart but it wasn’t cold. That could have been a disaster.
Seriously, though, it was a great ice breaker with the crew and we joked most of the trip back while I snacked away on cookies and beer – the sort of dinner that frequent fliers eventually come to know and love. Sure, I could have purchased one of the snack boxes for more sustenance, but they really don’t do much for me. I’ll stick with my empty calories, thank you very much.
Despite an evening arrival and weather in both San Juan and the Newark area the flight was, miraculously, on time. Shortly after wheels down I was in a car headed home; I was inside my Manhattan apartment only 45 minutes after we landed. Not bad at all.
For a few years now I’ve maintained that JetBlue offers the best coach class service. This trip further reinforced that notion for me. The product is simple but easy to deliver consistently and with a smile. The crew once again did that, making the few hours we spent together in the air fly by quite quickly and pleasantly once again. Yes, I gave up slightly more valuable points (though JetBlue is working on that to some extent with the upcoming partner opportunities) and I gave up the upgrade. I still had a great flight experience. Some days that’s really all that matters.
- Taking a peek at JetBlue’s new terminal in San Juan
- Checking in: A room with a view at the El Conquistador Resort
- Checking in: Exploring the El Conquistador Resort
- Underwater off Fajardo, Puerto Rico
- A 3 hour tour (of San Juan)
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