I’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving, so this is my last post of the week. I’ll be back with more on Monday.
You may have noticed I haven’t put up a trip report in awhile. That’s because I just haven’t been traveling, and you know what? It’s been glorious. I broke that streak recently with a quick trip to Vegas on JetBlue. This was unremarkable in pretty much every way. But that won’t stop me from writing it up.
I paid $207.18 roundtrip just over 2 weeks in advance. Why JetBlue? Well, I didn’t want to go to LAX, and JetBlue had the flights at the right times vs. Southwest. Added bonus: I was able to reserve windows in the back both ways.
I checked in on the app and made sure I had Pre Check. Then, as usual, I left home an hour before departure. On a Saturday morning, the Pre Check line was empty, and I was at the gate with time to spare. It’s hard to beat this view in an airport.
Boarding seemed to start pretty early. Since I was in the back, I was in group B (my first time using JetBlue’s boarding groups). I headed back and climbed up the stairs. I have to say, I do like that Tartan tail.
November 3, 2018
JetBlue 280 Lv Long Beach 905a Arr Las Vegas 1010a
Long Beach (LGB): Gate 5, Runway 30, Depart 8m Early
Las Vegas (LAS): Gate E9, Runway 1L, Arrive 12m Early
N607JB, Airbus A320-232, “Beantown Blue” Tartan tail colors, ~99% Full
Seat 22A, Coach
Flight Time 43m
There were two flight attendants in the back talking to each other, paying no attention to passengers. I quietly said good morning, but they didn’t flinch. It’s possible they just didn’t hear me.
I headed up to my seat, and couldn’t help but think just how dated the cabin now looks.
The old, bulky seats with the small screen just look so out of place, but hey, they’re comfy seats at least.
The window was incredibly dirty, but that didn’t stop me from gazing out toward the tail of the Hawaiian aircraft about to leave for Honolulu. Since boarding began so early, we were able to push back really early too. The captain came on to say the weather was nice, but we’d have a few bumps enroute. Then we were on our way.
It was a beautiful morning as we climbed out over the port before winding around toward the northeast. The captain was right, we had a few bumps once we got over the desert, and he did leave the seatbelt sign on the whole time.
It was at this point that I realized that bluetooth headphones are a problem. I wasn’t able to listen to TV since I had left my corded ones behind. So I rotated between watching some meaningless college football game and just looking at the map. Most of time, I was just looking out the window anyway.
The flight attendants came through with drinks, but it didn’t go quickly. We had already been level at 23,000 feet for awhile (it’s relative, we were only there for 10 minutes) by the time I got my bottle of water. I do love that JetBlue still hands out water. We were well into descent by the time they came by with snacks. I grabbed PopCorners for me and cookies for the kids when I headed home.
I soon realized that we were going to do my favorite Vegas approach, a straight-in landing on the 1s. You get to come in low over the rolling, desert terrain.
Then not far from landing, you break out into the sprawl of suburbia. Right before landing, the gleaming towers of the Strip come into view.
We touched down early, and even with the longer taxi to the gate, we were at the gate with plenty of time to spare. I headed off for a weekend of drinking, football, and gambling. Here’s a tip. If you’re staying at Paris and you care about the view, don’t accept room 420. (Fortunately, I didn’t care about the view.)
By Monday, I was ready to come home. The problem is that the first flight to Long Beach isn’t until 10:53am, so we decided to wait it out instead of braving LAX. I left the hotel in a Lyft at about 9am, and we had quite the adventure. The Lyft driver took over half an hour and kept going the wrong direction. If you need to know one place in Vegas, it’s probably the airport. Even with that delay, we were at the airport with a little over an hour to spare, and the lines were empty.
We hung out at the gate and waited for boarding. My friends got on first since they had bought extra legroom, but I was in group B again.
November 5, 2018
JetBlue 1179 Lv Las Vegas 1053a Arr Long Beach 1158a
Las Vegas (LAS): Gate E9, Runway 26R, Depart 10m Early
Long Beach (LGB): Gate 5, Runway 30, Depart 21m Early
N760JB, Airbus A320-232, “These Blues Were Made for Flying” Tartan tail colors, ~99% Full
Seat 20A, Coach
Flight Time 41m
The flight attendants were friendlier this time around. As I walked on, I noticed this was a newer interior with bigger screens.
I say “newer,” but this still isn’t new. I’m looking forward to trying the newest retrofits one of these days, even with 12 more seats onboard.
Everyone was seated quickly, and we were ready to push back early. I looked out my window and saw something strange.
That Airbus still looks weird in those Alaska colors.
Then, magic happened. We taxied out quickly to the 26s and leapfrogged a couple others (who I just assumed were waiting out weather delays to the East Coast), and jumped into the cool, still air. That was fast.
Vegas is always bumpy on climb, but this was about the smoothest I can remember. At altitude, we still had that same light chop we had on the way out, so the the seatbelt sign never came off.
We climbed all the way up to 28,000 feet this time, and we didn’t spend more than 5 minutes there. By the time I got my bottle of water, we were well into descent, cruising over Big Bear Lake (and its low water levels).
Snacks did come through again, and I grabbed pretzels and cookies (for the other kid). We touched down early and found ourselves at the gate an incredible 21 minutes before schedule. After hopping off, I met up with my friends again and we headed out.
I have to say that a boring set of flights is my favorite kind. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the US. I’ll be back with you Monday.