Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Flying, Part 2

So my fourth and final flight on this trip was on the hip new airline, JetBlue.

Ooooooohh... JetBlue! A new kind of airline! They do things... just a little different!

Nope. It's the same old shit. I was genuinely excited at first. I had heard all this hype about JetBlue. They had taken a page from the Southwest playbook and were trying to reinvent the flying experience. I was psyched. I had heard that every seat had its own TV monitor. This was certainly good news. I had only experienced this on international flights, never on domestic.

JetBlue does try to distinguish itself in a few ways. But overall, I wasn't impressed. I'll take American anyday over JetBlue.

Innovation #1: No first class.

This doesn't impress me. I'm not one of those egalitarian types who seethes at the very existence of first class. I like first class. Sure, I never get to sit there, but it's like a carrot being dangled in front of me. It's an incentive to work hard and be prosperous. In order to get to my cramped seat I have to walk by the comfortable seats. The considerations to have a first class cabin are purely economic. If first class wasn't profitable for the airline, no airline would have it. Since most do, I have to assume it's profitable.

Innovation #2: No beverage cart. The stewardess takes drink orders and then comes back with a tray. Also like Southwest.

I don't get this either. The beverage cart works. Why have a stewardess try to balance a dozen drinks on a tray, waitress style, on a moving plane? There's no point to this.

Innovation #3: A simple piece of paper, like a receipt, for the boarding pass instead of the usual larger sleeve-style boarding pass.

This works. I didn't mind this.

Southwest has the no seat assignment policy, which I despise. Dammit, I want to be able to reserve an aisle, window, or emergency exit row seat in advance. I like to be able to guarantee myself the avoidance of the dreaded middle seat. Southwest also has backward facing seats, a la trains. I get so nauseous on these seats, not to mention I have no desire to be staring directly into another person's face for the whole flight. These are bad ideas.

In short, I'm happy JetBlue exists - it's always nice to have more airlines to service more routes and keep things competitive - but don't fool yourself into thinking you're getting a different kind of flight. Oh, there was no hot meal by the way. And this was on a 6 hour, coast to coast flight.

Finally, I would like all airlines to reconsider a few of their basic policies.

First: that bags must be stowed under the seat in front of you during takeoff and landing. My problem here is that this space is where I need to stow my feet. I'm a 6'4 tall man. My legs have no other position to occupy. If I could place the bag behind my feet, problem solved. But they won't permit this. The reasons have something to do with the bag flying around during violent turbulence, but come on. Really.

Second: the no electronic devices rule. Is my discman or gameboy really interfering with tower comminication? No, it's not. So ditch this rule.

I think that's about it. Anyone else got any gripes about the flying experience? Feel free to complain here.

1 comment:

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