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Jet Blue Airways Can Save You Money, but You Get Less Amenities.

Jet Blue Airline Travel
Jet Blue Airlines may not have the amenities of airlines like American Airlines, but the lower ticket cost - and their personal television sets - can make it worthwhile. My family travels often enough that we accrue many frequent flyer miles. I also am in proud possession of a credit card that gets me frequent flyer miles on American Airlines: because of this, we almost always use American Airlines as our major air transportation provider, and LAX as our airport.

However, we recently put off planning a trip to New York City until just a couple of weeks before we were to be there, and our late scheduling meant that American Airlines would have charged the four of us $7,000 for the round trip, much more than we usually pay. So we did a little research; Jet Blue Airlines could get us to New York and back again, for a mere $2,000. Hmmm, seven grand, or two? Not something we needed to mull over.

That is how we found ourselves at the Long Beach Airport on an early Wednesday morning, tickets and coffee in hand. The first difference I noticed between LAX and the Long Beach Airport is the size; LAX is of course a major, international hub, and Long Beach is, well, Long Beach. Mostly outdoors in the hot Southern California sun, with no Starbucks or Hudson News in sight.
Pre-flight smokers milled around my girls, who naturally made a big deal about gagging and dramatically asking if they were going to get lung poison. Their comments didn't go over too well with the smokers, who eyed me with apparent ill-will. Yay, I get to spend 6 hours on a plane with these people!

But the line was incredibly short and moved more quickly than I would have thought, and the Jet Blue employees were cheery and helpful. Yes: Cheery and helpful. I'd come to expect that "surly" was a job description for airline employees. Apparently not! Even the security checkpoints seemed less intimidating. As thorough as any other airport, the Jet Blue security and TSA nevertheless managed to be friendly throughout the process of identity check, shoe removal, and x-raying of our carry-on Dora the Explorer backpack.

Jet Blue does not offer in-flight meals, only small junk food-type snacks such as a bag of Terra Blue chips, cheese and crackers, or one oversized chocolate chip cookie. Knowing this, however, most people plan ahead and prepare their own in-flight food at home. I made sandwiches and other lunch items my family is familiar with, and the flight attendants were constantly up and down the aisles, offering water, soda, juice and milk. The mix of different food smells was initially jarring, since it seemed that every fellow passenger got hungry at the same time.

However, the quality of airline food is generally bad anyway, as it's commonly known, and the smell of garlic from the passenger eating some cold pasta quickly circulated away, anyway.

The best thing about Jet Blue, and certainly a big difference that sets Jet Blue apart from the big airlines that I've used, is the television sets embedded in the back of each seat on the airplane. My kids are not used to un-curtailed viewing of Spongebob Squarepants, Fairly Oddparents and the like, but thanks to Nickelodeon on Jet Blue, they were able to turn their brains to jelly for as long as they could bear it. "As long as they could bear it" being, about four straight hours. They also elected to watch a movie that is still (at time of writing) in movie theaters. So; quiet children, friendly and helpful flight attendants, and the comfort of my own food brought from home. Pretty nice travel experience, for less than a third of the cost of my regular airline.***

by Jennifer W. Miner
JFK airport in New York, Roswitha Schacht

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