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.