In the Terminal
My flight was out of the newly opened Terminal 3 at PHX which is lovely. I checked into the flight on my phone and only had a carry on bag so I skipped check in entirely and went straight to security. Being one of the last flights of the night there was no line. It took no more than 10 minutes to go from stepping out of a Lyft to finding a seat at my gate. Of course, I was in a new terminal and had time to kill so my seat wasn’t occupied for long before wandering around the now (mostly) empty terminal. Most restaurants were closed or closing so my adventure was rather brief.
I’ll admit, I was not looking forward to this flight. I love flying, but a red eye, in a middle seat, in economy? Not something to get excited for. Probably not the best time to try their new basic economy fare either, but I did.
Side rant: People, please do not crowd the boarding queue if it is not your time to board. There were so many people several boarding groups away waiting around the gate that several people couldn’t get through to board on time. Take a seat or stand to the side until it is your time to board, just please stop getting in the way. It was also disappointing that a random good-do-er had to be the one to ask the crowd to disperse. The gate agents dropped the ball on this one.
After the plane was just about at capacity the call for group 7 rang through the gate area. Time to see what I’m in for.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that this aircraft has been retrofitted with their new cabin design. Finding my seat There was just enough overhead bin room left for me to stow a roller carry on. After squeezing into my new home at 12B it was time to get settled and explore the offerings.
10/10 on design here. The seats are sleek, in excellent condition, and just look pleasing.
6/10 on comfort. As nice as they look, the seats fall short where it matters most. The thin design just doesn’t provide as much cushion as other offerings. It wasn’t exactly uncomfortable, my experience was acceptable, but it is a step back from the plush seats found on older aircraft. Never thought I would miss something about their E190’s, but here we are.
In Flight Entertainment
The in-flight entertainment is one area where jetBlue shines far brighter than the rest. They have always offered a great service, and have found ways to make it even better.
Unlike some airlines that demand you bring your own device, jetBlue has installed a great new seat back entertainment system. The screen is good quality, as are the viewing angles. The touchscreen is responsive. Below the bezel you’ll find two headphone jacks so you and a friend to watch together. It also features a USB port for charging your portable devices. Better still, each seat comes with a full power outlet for laptops.
There is an NFC icon below the screen, most commonly used for tap to pay in stores so immediately thought it was a convenient way to purchase movies. I was wrong, but very pleasantly surprised as all in flight entertainment on jetBlue is free. The NFC option allows you to pair your phone to the seat back screen to use as a remote. Very nifty feature, though I didn’t feel the need to use it.
On the topic of content, the library is impressive to say the least. Live TV, shows and the latest movies on demand, a selection of podcasts, and access to Amazon Prime Video. There is enough here to keep you distracted on the longest flights. And there’s more still.
Welcome to the modern flying experience. You can access the internet. For free. Not just WhatsApp messaging or the jetBlue website, but actual internet access. Use social media, browse memes, check out your favorite travel blogger perhaps.
The new design looks incredible. I was not able to get comfortable enough to catch some sleep, but I’m not typically able to sleep on a plane anyway so I can’t deduct too many points there. The great selection of entertainment and free WiFi to keep me occupied while awake more than made up for it. JetBlue made the decision to improve the passenger experience in the new cabin which is a welcome change to some others in the industry.
Having flew American Airlines the day before, I was constantly surprised at all the little things jetBlue does right. One airline designed a cabin for passengers; the other designed a cabin for shareholders. It shows. I give jetBlue’s new a320 two thumbs up.
What is your most important factor for an enjoyable flight? Let me know in the comments.