A JetBlue Trip Report!

The last time I flew JetBlue was March 2002, from Washington Dulles to Ft. Lauderdale. They were the cheapest option by far, they had to be, it was the only way at the time I would have booked away from United Airlines.

JetBlue has had a decent presence at Washington Dulles over the years, and I fly out of there when I have to, but I live near National so avoid Dulles as one of the more horrendous facilities in the country whenever I can.

Of course, JetBlue began flying to National airport in November 2010. But I hadn’t had occasion to fly them until now, largely because I’m a creature irrationally driven by loyalty and first class upgrades.

But I had to fly to Boston, and JetBlue’s flights were by far the cheapest for the times I needed to go.

And I was made to feel a little bit better by the fact that JetBlue’s partnership with American allows me to accrue AAdvantage miles on the DC-Boston route. It’s not a ton of miles, but at least I wouldn’t have to sign up for TrueBlue.

JetBlue doesn’t have wireless internet yet, but they do have DirecTV. That was impressive to me in 2002, but I take care of my own entertainment these days, and I rarely have time for it anyway, I’m almost always working straight through my flights.

They do have better legroom than the average coach product. But for $20 extra I purchased “Even More” which in this case was an exit row, which came with early boarding so I wouldn’t have a hard time with overhead bin space. At Boston for the return that’ll mean priority security, but they don’t have that at National airport.

I walked into the terminal, the entrance/exit is right at baggage claim with check-in desks to the right. The A terminal always seems like a zoo, at least that’s how I remember it, it’s been a long time since I’ve been in the A terminal. The last time I remember flying out of here was on Northwest, which used to have a club lounge just prior to security. Alaska used to be here. And I grabbed an Airtran flight from here back in the summer 2004.

The old historic terminal is a sight to behold and I wish they’d make full use of it. They only use the ‘banjo’, 9 gates populated by JetBlue, Sun Country, Spirit, Frontier, and Air Canada.

The security line was short but it was moving slowly, this terminal gets a disproportionate share of vacationers not used to flying, the woman in front of me wasn’t aware she needed to show identification at the checkpoint and began digging for her passport in a Ziploc bag.

I was actually perfectly happy for a slow TSA line, made better by lack of a nude-o-scope, because there’s not much to do past security.

I had about 20 minutes to kill, I picked up a bottle of water at the Hudson News and headed over to the gate area.

Soon enough they called for boarding, and there were lots of questions from passengers for the gate agent. Which all amounted to, “We board by row.”

They called first for rows 1 and 12, the ‘even more legroom’ rows that come with early boarding. We were the first passengers to board, and found a flight attendant joking around with two air marshalls.

Bags were stowed, my 20″ Baseline Briggs & Riley just barely fit in the overhead of the regional jet.

And I sat down to my seat, which indeed had plenty of legroom.

.. and a little DirecTV screen. Headsets were $2, I had my own of course but didn’t bother plugging in.

We pushed back on time, taxi and takeoff didn’t take long, and shortly thereafter a flight attendant came through for drink orders (I asked for water and was brought a cup of ice and a half-sized bottle) and whether anyone wanted a snack — I caught that there was an option for “chips, a cookie” and something else. I just asked for the chips remembering that JetBlue of course serves Blue chips which I’d like very much!

Except they brought chips that tasted like popcorn, and I don’t actually like popcorn.

No great loss, I didn’t eat them but it was a short flight.

I was still pounding away on work so it seemed like only moments before our impending arrival into Boston was announced. The flight was a bit bumpy but the landing was smooth enough, and we were 20 minutes early.

I’d fly JetBlue again on a short hop. Nothing wrong with it, and for a flight as quick as DC-Boston there’s no need for the extra legroom although if I don’t have status I might pay for it since it also comes bundled with the ability to secure overhead space and not have to gate check and priority security.

There’s so much that Washington’s National Airport could do with their historic terminal, but the banjo area is something of a ghetto. The lack of a lounge, sufficient seating, or reasonable eating options along with no premium security means I have to get there earlier than I’d like, on the chance security lines are long, and wind up cooling my heels without a place to be productive. The current A terminal is reason enough to avoid flying the airline. Unless, like today, it was much cheaper (even with the $20 add-on)…

Once at Boston Logan, I headed for the taxi queue, there were a ton of cabs lined up and no one waiting. The instruction to the driver was to head to Belle Isle Seafood, a 10 minute trip up 145 North. (Such a short run from the airport has been known to annoy cab drivers, they wait all that time for a fare and wind up with something cheap, so I try to tip reasonably if they don’t chew my head off for it first.)

The goal: a lobster roll for lunch, before heading into the city. And I was willing to head in the opposite direction from downtown to do it.

The cab driver pulled into the gas station next door to the seafood shop and seemed concerned leaving us, since this wasn’t the sort of place that had cabs coming by regularly. I was getting out with my luggage no less.

The seafood place is a little shack, though I understand they’re moving.

Their lobster rolls have a full half pound of meat. A lobster roll and a side (I chose onion rings) was about $19+, cash only. Well worth it.

The lobster came on a small toasted bun, on top of a small piece of lettuce, and was flowing completely over. It had two claws and tail meat, the chunkiest lobster roll I’ve ever had.

The place has only a handful of stools inside, but it was a lovely day, perfect for walking across the gravel parking lot to enjoy the sandwich on the water looking back out at the airport.

Finishing up lunch, I wasn’t worried about a cab, I tapped my phone a couple of times and Uber was sending a car. I just had to wait a few minutes, it turns out they sent someone who had been queuing at the airport. Even though it was farther away than the airport, it was a good bit less than a car service would have been from Logan to Downtown.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I find Neptune’s a touch buttery, but I was wondering how it compared. I don’t think it has a 1/2 lb of lobster meat though.

  2. Y’know, I really thought the idea of ME flying JetBlue would elicit more than 2 comments in 10 hours… 😛

  3. “I had about 20 minutes to kill, I picked up a bottle of water at the Hudson News and headed over to the gate area.”

    Fascinating. When I woke up, I thought for a second I was reading Lucky.

  4. FWIW, on the E90s you can book row 20 and get 33″ of pitch rather than the 34″ at row 12 and rows 20+ are the next group called after EMS passengers.

    I’m surprised you said there was trouble with your bag. I’ve frequently had my 22″ TravelPro in those bins without any issues at all.

    As for the chips, on the short flights the FAs pick one sweet and one salty snack rather than bringing out the whole kit. I’ve always found them amenable to giving me what I actually want if I ask nicely for it.

  5. MBTA offers FREE Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit service from all Logan Airport terminals to South Station in Downtown Boston. 🙂

  6. Wouldn’t have known what chips they had in order to ask since I hadn’t been on JetBlue in 10 yr but still good to know. The baseline BR is a widebosy bag…

  7. DCA-BOS now like 10x daily….if only Jetblue offered that frequency on more routes…

    They are the best airline by far (in terms of experience, not routes/frequencies/operational recovery), but TrueBlue could be the worst program for truly frequent flyers

  8. Welcome to where I grew up in Winthrop just across the bridge. Around the bend on the left while celebrating my tenth birthday on 10/4/1950, an Eastern Airlines airplane crashed killing 62 with 10 survivors. It was an amazing sight to see bodies strapped in the seats. Out where you looking in the early 60’s a plane rolled off the runway into the water with the passengers walking on the wing to get back on the runway. Also, a jet once crashed into the water at night killing several people in the 60’s. One day we saw three planes do an amazing crossing pattern in the air. So a bit of history on Winthrop Bay.:)

    Glad you liked the lobster roll. The area is called East Boston. Two other gems in Eastie for someone looking for a bite to eat before or after spending time at Logan Airport includes Santarpios for pizza. A no frills bar type restaurant with excellent pizza.

    An amazing newcomer is KO Pies, which just opened a second location in Eastie serving Australian meat pies no less in Boston. Sammy the owner is from Australia.

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