So, the question really is. . .

Why are you doing this??

The Captain of JetBlue flight 863 presented me with that inquiry yesterday as I boarded for the trip from Hyannis to JFK and, to be quite fair, it was a reasonable question. See, I had just walked off the same plane only minutes earlier, having flown in on the JFK-HYA segment with the crew. I spent all of about 10 minutes walking off the plane, re-clearing security and then getting back on board. That’s probably not so normal in the real world and they wanted to know why I was doing it. So, why?

Awesome sand and sea patterns off the coast of the Cape
Awesome sand and sea patterns off the coast of the Cape

It was a cheap flight. My round-trip fare was about $60 plus $10 for the MTA to get back and forth to the airport. And it meant I’d get to spend some time flying, looking out the window at the world below. I’ll also pick up a couple new TrueBlue Badges (and bonus points) in that program JetBlue runs which is fun, but not really enough to justify buying a ticket and spending the time. Nope; for me it was all about getting to fly for a few more hours. But all of that is ancillary to the real answer:

Because really flying makes me happy. And you should do happy things on your birthday.

So I bought myself a plane ticket as a birthday present. Because it makes me happy. I even managed to score a set of Junior Crew wings as part of the trip.

Departing HYA on runway 15.
Departing HYA on runway 15.


And I almost didn’t get to fly. The circuit breaker for the cockpit voice recorder tripped as we pushed off the gate which meant a return to the terminal for the mechanics to fix it. And once we got back they had trouble getting the forward door to properly show as closed in the flight deck so there was more paperwork involved. Plus there was weather rolling in to the NYC area and I had dinner plans so long delays were not going to be my friend. Fortunately the maintenance issues cleared up and the weather held up well enough. We were an hour late out of JFK but only about 15 minutes late getting back in. Thank goodness for padded schedules.


Instead I got to fly over the Cape and take in the beauty it offers from above. Even got to see Air Force One on the ground as we flew over it.

Air Force One is down there. I was definitely confused for a minute when I saw that.
Air Force One is down there. I was definitely confused for a minute when I saw that.

Added bonus (for me) on the day is that JFK was using 22L and 22R for most of their arrivals and departures. That did mean some slowdowns in the flow of planes in and out of the airport but it also meant that they were all right in front of me as I sat out by Gate 14 in JetBlue’s terminal, staring out the huge windows as dozens of planes and thousands of people came and went.


Even got to teach a couple kids headed back to Dublin after their NYC vacation about the different planes and enjoy their running back and forth between the windows as the planes came and went. The son’s excitement as he ran over to tell his father about how big the A380 is was awesome, as was the part where dad didn’t entirely believe him and came back over to me to get confirmation.

A future #AvGeek in the making.
A future #AvGeek in the making.


Yeah, definitely a good day. Also not the first time I’ve been similarly greeted on a JetBlue flight. Always entertaining, at least to me.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. On my last b’day I burned 25K miles to do a day trip…. SYR-LGA-IAH-ATL-LGA-SYR

    All my upgrades cleared and I got meals on the LGA-IAH flight and ATL-LGA flight. I also visited both the KLM and the AF lounges at IAH…. It was a fun day and the best b’day present I ever gave myself!

    The key is to have a significant other and family who at least accept our craziness even if they don’t understand it!

  2. That sounds like a perfect way to spend your birthday! I might just do something similar for mine this year. And when my friends/family make fun of me, I’ll point them to this post. πŸ™‚ Happy Birthday, Seth!

  3. If you ever want company doing something silly like that, give me a call. I got the same condition and love just being on a plane no matter where.

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