Last weekend was my annual trip to Vegas with a group of friends from grad school. While I usually drive, this year was a logistical mess that left me needing to fly out and drive back home with my wife. Flying generally seems like a hassle versus a 4 hour drive, but in this case it worked out well… except for TSA, but we should all get used to that refrain this summer.
It was a no-brainer for me to fly JetBlue to Vegas since that meant I could leave from Long Beach. I wasn’t parking a car and even an Uber up to LAX would have cost half my ticket. The one way from Long Beach was $152.10 for a Friday morning. That didn’t seem terrible since I booked on April 14, just a couple weeks before.
I hadn’t flown from Long Beach in awhile, and that’s a shame, because I love it. I left home an hour before the flight and thought it would be smooth-sailing through security since there appeared to be no lines. Bzzt. Wrong.
First, the line-minder, who was talking on her cell phone, told me to go to the regular line. I said, “is Pre Check closed?” She said, “you don’t have Pre Check.” After showing her the boarding pass again, she shrugged and said, “oh” and let me pass, not missing a beat in her phone conversation.
You might think that Pre Check would have a separate line open on a busy Friday morning, but you’d be wrong. The line I went through just merged back into the regular screening area. They started handing out these laminated cards to give to the agent so we could go through the metal detector instead of the body scanner. Judging from the large number of cards visible, Pre Check should have been open. Way to go, TSA.
It took me about 10 to 15 minutes to get through and then I went to have a seat while I waited for boarding. When boarding began, the agent announced that there was one Mosaic member on the flight. She called him by name to pre-board. Nice touch.
I was in the back, so I had the good fortune of boarding the back stairs. Every airport in a good weather location should do this.
April 29, 2016
JetBlue 280 Lv Long Beach 921a Arr Las Vegas 1025a
Long Beach (LGB): Gate 5, Runway 30, Depart 5m Early
Las Vegas (LAS): Gate E12, Runway 1L, Arrive 9m Early
N612JB, Airbus A320-232, Blueberries Tail, 75% Full
Seat 23F, Coach
Flight Time 41m
Once onboard, someone was in my aisle seat, but when I sat down, he disappeared. I had the entire row to myself. I plugged my headphones in and realized the lower channels all had static, so I ended up watching some terrible Ashton Kutcher movie (aren’t most of them?) on VH-1.
The Captain came on to make his pre-flight announcement, and I could have sworn he said his name was Captain Oveur. (When I left, I found out it was Hoggard, pronounced HO-gerd. Rats.) He did compliment the flight attendants and tell us we’d be sad our flight was only 52 minutes because of the great service we’d receive.
We pushed back a few minutes early and made our way into the sky as the marine layer started burning off. The ride was a little choppy until we leveled off at only 21,000 feet. I connected my phone to the internet and did a little surfing/reading to pass the short flight.
It really was all too short. There’s nothing quite like a coach flat bed when it comes to value for the money paid.
And to preempt the nasty comments (I got some already when I posted this on Twitter during the flight), yes I have my shoes on. I didn’t put the soles on the seat, and I think it’s far better to do that that stick my smelly socks into the aisle. Deal with it.
The flight attendants came through with water or coffee (maybe a couple other things). Then we began our descent and they came through again with chips and cookies. I had a bag of chips and kept reading.
Inexplicably, a few minutes before landing, a woman moved into the aisle in my row. I have no clue why she hadn’t done that earlier or why she bothered right at the end.
I was happy to see that we were landing to the north. That makes it a much quicker ride than coming around from the east as is often the case, plus I had a great view of that massive mining operation just south of town. In fact, our 41 minute flight time was 11 minutes less than the captain had expected.
After landing, we taxied back and I got into a conversation with the guy in front of me who had recently retired from Boeing in Long Beach. He told me a story about a Western Airlines flight he took back in college that was hijacked by a guy with a gun. His trip from Salt Lake to LA ended up going to Houston, Miami, and then Havana. After a few hours of negotiating landing fees, they started heading back home. What a great story. (And no, I should have but failed to ask him to write a guest post.)
By this time, our rows ways at the back were finally exiting, so I grabbed my stuff and headed out for a fun Vegas weekend.