JetBlue is out to woo us away from our long-term relationship with Southwest. And it just might be working.
We've flown many airlines. Every time we stray from the good old standard, we end up with bitter regrets. So when my mother-in-law told my husband that JetBlue was running an astonishing tenth anniversary sale, they decided to snap up the $10 each way tickets for a brief visit.
And when I say brief, I mean brief. My husband woke me up with a phone call with the excited announcement, "hey, we're going to be in Texas tomorrow for ten hours!"
Ok, I'll confess it. I read enough sci-fi that my first reaction was to think he was launching into some sort of Star Trek transporter joke. Or maybe some people with our names or faces would be there? I waited for the punch line. It didn't come.
I'll further admit that my first thought upon realization that it was not a joke was horror. Three hours on the road plus seven hours in the air with a toddler is terrifying any day, but for a mere ten hours of a visit, ten hours that happen to be between 10pm and 8am.... it seemed like a guarantee for Crankiness of Epic Proportions. Even if we made it there alive, the child was sure to leave his grandparents with a distinctly negative impression.
Suffice it to say I was filled with dread. Until I started thinking of how people complain that you can't have adventures once you have kids. Well, we were going to have an adventure. And we were going to enjoy it, even if it killed us.
And enjoy it we did!
But, er, all that is a digression. Back to JetBlue.
Our goal was just to survive the flight, so we were pleasantly surprised to find that once we entered the airport, everything started to go right. Check in was a breeze, security average. There was only one empty seat on the plane, and it was in the row behind us, so the gentleman sitting next to us took one look at our juggling act and moved back to give us room. Once the plane took off, Kevin found headsets stashed in his backpack, so we were able to make use of JetBlue's DirecTV by watching episode after episode of the Office season four. Not a bad way to spend the time if arms full of sleeping child means you can't hold a book.
But as shallow as it is to admit this, I'll go ahead and throw this out there... what really drew my attention was the snacks. No tiny packages of flavorless peanuts or microscopic pretzels here, JetBlue offers a selection of gourmet treats along with the traditional selection of drinks.
And go ahead and laugh, but the fact that the snacks are advertised as unlimited and immediately offered freely ("Want another one? How about one for the baby?") works its way right to my heart through my stomach (uh oh).
For someone who loves potatoes as much as I do, what could be cooler than blue potato chips?! Ok, I'm a sucker. But I promise there were other benefits to JetBlue. Like Southwest, their crews are superfriendly, and they don't charge for the first checked bag (although if I recall correctly, Southwest does allow two). On the flight back, we were bumped up to the front seats with more legroom, and it was wonderful. I'm not a claustrophobic person, but even I could feel a distinct difference. Although I generally avoid bathrooms on airplanes, there was a time on the flight back when I was looking for any excuse to be walking the aisles with Jack (who desperately wanted to crawl into the lap of the sleeping woman next to me), so I did try one of the three bathrooms apparently all equipped with changing tables and found it to be not nearly as unpleasant as airline bathrooms can be (although just as small).
If we hadn't been so tired, the flight might have even been pleasant. The only negative thing I can say about JetBlue is that they don't have crossword puzzles in the seat pockets! Otherwise, we were entirely impressed. As a marketing ploy, this sale definitely worked with us. We usually fly as a family at least twice a year, and Kevin takes the occasional business trip. JetBlue is now distinctly on our radar. Just don't tell Southwest.