I expected this to be just another normal trip report for my flight to Vegas for the Boyd Conference, but oh was I wrong. JetBlue has very few of its so-called “Phase 2” A320 retrofits out in the wild, and I happened to get on one. Though I’ll talk about the rest of that flight as well as my return on Southwest here, the focus will be on the new-and-improved A320 experience.
The funny thing is I wasn’t even going to fly at all. I like having flexibility when I go to Vegas, but the day before travel, I really didn’t feel like driving. I looked up fares, and whoa, was it cheap. I paid a mere 5,900 B6 points plus $5.60 (only $89 as a straight purchase) to get to Vegas that next day. The return on Southwest was only 2,200 points plus $5.60 (vs $45 as a straight purchase).
I checked in online and left home with less than an hour before departure. When I bought the ticket, there were no seat assignments available for free, so I just waited. On the day of travel, a window seat popped up, but it kept not letting me grab it.
I waited until I got to the gate when a window seat magically appeared in the app. One problem… it didn’t have a boarding group number attached. I told the agent, and she said she thought I was in group B. Alrighty.
When group B was called to board, I came up and my boarding pass errored out. They pulled me aside, printed out a boarding pass with the same exact seat number, and it scanned just fine. (I did, however, notice that it should have been group C.) I don’t know what’s wrong with JetBlue’s app, but something isn’t working right.
August 24, 2019
JetBlue 280 Lv Long Beach (LGB) 1215p Arr Las Vegas (LAS) 126p
Long Beach (LAS): Gate 11, Runway 30, Depart 3m Early
Las Vegas (LAS): Gate E10, Runway 8R, Arrive 15m Early
N644JB, Airbus A320-232, Highrise tail colors, ~90% Full
Seat 6A, Coach
Flight Time 42m
Once onboard, I was amazed to find that I had scored one of the phase 2 aircraft. I had thought they would never send one of these to Long Beach. The first thing I noticed was how modern and cheerful the cabin looked.
The seat itself is slimmer, but it looks much better than the now-dated old seats. It was pretty comfortable too.
I sat down and immediately checked legroom. It was very good.
The seatback pocket down below has three small pockets to hold your “stuff.” It was an easy place to put a phone if needed.
At this point, I was determined to play with the new Thales entertainment system for as long as possible. Knowing I only had a 45 minute flight, I raced to play on the ground.
The system welcomes you in Spanish and English:
Then it asks if you want to pair your phone to use it as a remote. Though it worked, it was useless. The remote is very basic on your phone, and it’s just so much easier to use the touchscreen.
The systems are packed full of content with over 150 movies, 50 full seasons of television shows, and more than 100 LiveTV channels. There is finally a fully functioning guide so you don’t have to scroll through the channels anymore. And even more helpful, you can pause and rewind TV. No more missing out on key points when a flight attendant makes an announcement.
Even better, as you can see, there’s a little picture-in-picture option to keep the moving map in the corner. You can expand it as you like.
With all this content, JetBlue has incorporated a short quiz where you answer questions about yourself and it recommendations options for you to watch. That clearly needs some refining since my recommendations were Cinderella followed by Fast and the Furious. Talk about opposite ends of the spectrum.
At some point during my flurry of playing, we pushed back. The only reason I know is because the long commercial playlist began. After two Bonvoy commercials and several others, we got airborne, and I could resume playing for the short flight.
I could get into more detail, but if you really care, I shot this nearly 3 minute video of me playing with the system. Enjoy, if you like that kind of thing. (And if you do, you might want to seek help.)
The flight came to an end all too soon. I had hoped for a west arrival which would have bought me a few minutes, but alas, we made the rare landing toward the east. It did give me this view of the new Allegiant Stadium. (I still don’t get that sponsorship…)
After landing, it was a short taxi and I was off. A few days later, it was time to come home. I took Southwest since the flight was 2 hours earlier than the first JetBlue flight of the day. As much as I like JetBlue’s product, for a 45 minute flight, I don’t even think about it.
Security was completely empty, so I had time to stroll around and look at all the low cost carrier tails that have taken over the airport.
I didn’t realize that the high B gates have been reopened for Allegiant after years of being shuttered. Traffic is clearly booming.
I have very little to say about this flight since it was completely normal. I had squeaked into the A group, so when boarding was called, I had my pick of window seats a few rows back.
August 30, 2019
Southwest 1393 Lv Las Vegas (LAS) 825a Arr Long Beach (LGB) 935a
Las Vegas (LAS): Gate B10, Runway 26R, Depart 3m Early
Long Beach (LAS): Gate 2, Runway 30, Arrive 13m Early
N7706A, Boeing 737-76N, Hot Dog on a Stick colors, ~85% Full
Seat 7F, Coach
Flight Time 44m
We buttoned up, taxied out, and took off. A bag of pretzels later and we were descending on a cloudless day in Long Beach. See, told you I had almost nothing to say about it.
JetBlue’s app and website are both absolutely atrocious. I’ve had several reservations in the past month where both the app and website error out and I’m forced to call in to complete the reservation.
They need to do better.
If the new JetBlue entertainment system supports pairing to a phone, does it support Bluetooth headphones? I now routinely carry only Bluetooth headphones and have to remember to dredge up wired one when flying on a flight with in seat entertainment I want to use.
Alex – If it does work with bluetooth headphones, I didn’t see it. Then again, that could be a future development.
Didn’t realize that WN was still using B-gates in Las Vegas. I thought it was a short term arrangement for ramp reconstruction in the C concourse. They must be getting tremendous aircraft throughput if they are using these additional gates on top of the ones they already had to begin with.
SEAN – Oh yeah, that’s a permanent thing. They built the connector behind security to make it easy to go between both sides.
Oh, now I understand. That’s a nice improvement considering how it was necessary to take the tram to the C gates for WN flights not all that long ago. Same for D gates as well. but with the new international E concourse, you can go right to terminal 3 without the use of a tram,.
SEAN – It’s true. The tram is still there to get to the C gates if you come in through the original entrance, but you don’t need it anymore.
Instead, there’s a new checkpoint built between B and C that you can use.
Once through, you can walk to either one. It’s still better to take the train if you’re a high C gate, but it’s nice to have the option.
Isn’t it the low C gates that are better suited for the tram? The “new” Southwest security checkpoint drops you off at C-25, and you’d have to walk past C-19 to get to the other side of the terminal. (But of course you’d have to double back in the main terminal to get to the tram boarding point.)
Darkwater – Sorry yes, I had them mixed up!
Do they still do the first pass of snacks, or do they point people to the pantry area?
Ptahcha – Well, on a 40 minute flight they pass snacks. I don’t know how it works on a longer flight.
Snacks are still passed out
Good grief, those one inch armrests……why bother ?
With regards to Allegiant sponsoring the stadium, perhaps it’s more targeted at fans of the away teams, so that Allegiant gets its name out to them and reminds them to think Allegiant when they want to go to Vegas.
I also assume that Allegiant will soon offer (if they aren’t already offering) travel packages that include tickets to a game or concert at the stadium, with presumably some huge bumps in schedule on flights from the Bay Area on gameday weekends… Given Allegiant’s focus on ancillary products & services, I imagine they will really be pushing packages involving stadium events.
The more I think about it, the more I can kind of understand an airline buying naming rights to a stadium (as opposed to, say, a car or food company), particularly for a team with a fan base as rabid as the Raiders.
I wasn’t aware that Allegiant had the naming rights to the new Raiders stadium. Now can they get a QB with half the skill of Daniel Jones?
I have noticed that Allegiant is buying into more & more sponsorships, and I am glad to see it! With the MLB playoffs underway, plus the NFL, NBA & NHL regular seasons, I see more & more Allegiant banners and logos on TV. Allegiant has also bought sponsorships for my hometown MLS team, FC Cincinnati. All of these sponsorships–especially the naming rights for the stadium in Las Vegas–show Allegiant’s commitment to the communities that they serve!
Did they get rid of the godforsaken controls on the top of the armrest right where you want to rest your elbow? I see one armrest without controls in your pictures, but the other one is up so I couldn’t tell whether it had controls.
Matt – Yep, no controls at all. It’s all touchscreen and it works great.
I fly JetBlue as Mosaic since 2007. Yes their App is buggy, connection or update issues. I flew one of their newest aircraft from Boston to Tampa, and I was amazed. I complained few years back to update their old aircrafts (a320 and e190), their old seats, their outdated entertainment systems, etc and they seem to have listen to my wishes.
My issue now, there are too many Mosaic, and not enough upgrades. Maybe they should add another tier for their Elite members.