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    I was headed out to San Diego for a conference. After comparing prices and schedules between the four carriers that operate NYC-SAN nonstop as well as the flights of friends who were heading to the same conference, I settled on AA round trip, departing on the 12th and returning on the 16th. While I would have preferred to fly Continental, the schedules proved better on American, and a couple of my friends were going to be on the outbound flight. I would also be able to use up a travel voucher that I had received due to issues on a previous AA flight.

    With the itinerary already booked, I learned that I wouldn't be able to arrive at the conference on the 12th, and as a result had to travel on the 13th. This wasn't a big deal as I would be able to use up a Jetblue credit I had from a cancelled trip and would be with another group of friends. I was able to cancel the outbound leg on AA pretty reasonably (my new cost was just a little bit more than what I payed total). With the B6 leg booked for the outbound, I was all set.

    Thursday, December 13th, 2007
    John F. Kennedy Int'l (JFK)-San Diego Int'l (SAN)
    B6 182
    Scheduled Departure: 9:10 AM
    Scheduled Arrival: 12:30 PM
    Aircraft: Airbus A320-232
    Reg: N651JB BetaBlue Del. 10/07
    Seat 24F
    Load Factor: Approximately 95%

    Flight path:

    Check-in and Security

    I checked-in online the night before my departure. Online check-in was quick and hassle-free. I also checked the weather, which showed storms coming in just after our departure. Fortunately, that forecast proved to be correct, and when I woke up the next morning the weather was fine, save for being overcast. I arrived at the airport at about 7:10 AM (fortunately there was little traffic on the Van Wyck). I proceeded to curbside bag drop. The skycap was courteous and the whole process took less than 5 minutes. From there I proceeded straight to security, which took about 15 minutes, which is not bad at all. I see no real issue with terminal 6, save for a lack of seating. One through security, I grabbed some breakfast, met up with my friends, and waited for the flight to board. Fortunately, boarding was called without delay.


    Boarding was called by rows. As usual, everyone jumped up at the first boarding call. The actual scanning of boarding passes was quick, but there was a bit of a bottleneck at the aircraft. While waiting to enter the aircraft, I took a peek outside to try to get the reg number. The first thing that grabbed my eye was the big purple Y-I was about to board BetaBlue! I couldn't believe it. The lead F/A greeted us as we entered, and I proceeded to my seat in the second to last row. The F/A's did two separate welcome addresses, one general and one BetaBlue-specific. Next, the Captain came on. He informed us that we would initially be climbing to FL300, then to FL360 as we burned off some fuel. He also said that the ride was going to be bumpy on the way up as we passed through the storms. We then pushed back pretty much on time.

    Taxi Out and In-flight

    After pushing back, we took a right onto taxiway W, then a left onto B, which we followed around past the cargo area. We made a left onto A and followed it almost all the way to 22R/4L. Despite the long queue of aircraft waiting to take off from 4L, the Captain informed us that we were number one for departure and we turned onto runway 31L. We held there for about 10-15 minutes before the V2500s roared to life. Within a few moments we were climbing over New York. (On a side note, does anyone know what is going on with the FX 727 located here: It was cordoned off and away from the main FX cargo area.)

    At 10,000 feet, the lead F/A announced that we were now allowed to use electronic devices. She also mentioned that they were going to be seated through the climb as there was quite a bit of turbulence. I fired up my laptop, and connected to the BetaBlue network. Connecting was easy. While the connection was 802.11g, it was rather slow. After signing in to Yahoo mail, which is light and text-only (see below), I sent out a couple of e-mails. The service was semi-reliable as it cut out a couple of times. Overall it was cool to be able to e-mail from the aircraft, however the service still has a bit of a ways to go in terms of reliability. Being able to visit other websites would also be nice. I'm sure the service will improve if Jetblue decides to keep it and install it across the fleet.

    Standard Windows wireless connection screen showing the BetaBlue network (interesting to note I did pick up another network somewhere in flight).

    Very light Yahoo! sign-in screen

    Main menu once signed-in

    Compose mail screen

    We leveled off at FL340, at which point the Captain came on and informed us that we were facing 150 kt headwinds out of New York (I was half-expecting a diversion, however thankfully that did not occur). The F/A's then started a beverage service followed by a snack service, which featured the usual selection. I chose a bag of cookies and a bottle of water. The F/A's then set up a bunch of snacks in the galley to which the Pax could help themselves.

    For the balance of the flight I slept, listened to my iPod, and watched the airshow. I flipped on DirecTV only to catch an episode of Mythbusters (unfortunately not the plane on a treadmill episode that had debuted the night before) and to watch the press conference for the release of the Mitchell Report (very sad). Jetblue's Google Map-based airshow is great as it is much more detailed than some of the others out there. A satellite overlay would be a nice addition. The 34" of seat pitch is quite generous, and as the aircraft is only a couple of months old, the interior as in great shape.

    A couple more random photos from cruise:

    A dissipating contrail?

    Passing DL traffic

    We began our descent somewhere over Arizona, and, after a beautiful approach over southern California, we landed on rwy 27. Taxi in was quick and within a matter of moments we were parked at SAN's modern Terminal 2. Before we even deplaned the cleaning crew was ready in the rear galley to turn the aircraft around. Baggage claim was easy, save for the F/A's telling us our bags were to arrive at a claim that didn't exist. With everything collected, I was off to the hotel, which offered a great view of the air traffic on approach to SAN as well as the North Island Naval Air Station.

    Part two will come at some point in the next week or so. C&C always welcome.

  • #2
    December 16th, 2007
    San Diego Int'l (SAN)-John F. Kennedy (JFK)
    Scheduled Departure: 7:40 AM
    Scheduled Arrival: 3:28 PM
    Aircraft: Boeing 757-223
    Reg: N634AA Del. 11/90
    Seat 23F
    Load factor: about 90%
    Flight Path:

    Check-in and Security

    I arrived at SAN's modern Terminal 2 at around 5:45 AM. I proceeded upstairs to the check-in area and found that there was no line at the self check-in kiosk. Using the bar code on the confirmation e-mail, I quickly printed my boarding pass and the courteous CSR took my bag. I then proceeded to the security line. Security was relatively short (only about 10 minutes), and save for the advertisements in the security bins (which were also numbered), was unexceptional. From there I grabbed a copy of Flying and a bit to eat and proceeded to my gate. Fortunately, boarding was called on time despite the storms in the northeast.


    After boarding through the L2 door (kudos for that), I was greeted by a friendly F/A (the F/A's were pretty good on this flight, which after my previous experience on AA, was quite refreshing) and made my way back to seat 23F. I once again got lucky and had no one seating in the middle seat. The purser made the only pre-pushback address, during which she informed us that we would be cruising at FL350. After a quick taxi down taxiway B, we lined up on runway 27 and the RB211s roared to life. Within moments we were airborne over San Diego.

    I fell asleep shortly after takeoff and missed the beverage and BOB service (no major loss there). The rest of the flight was uneventful. There was one more beverage service an hour out of JFK and soon there after we began our descent into JFK. The approach was interesting, with many turns, some turbulence, and varying visibility (at some points I couldn't see the wingtip). After landing, the purser did the welcome to JFK speech, which was answered with applause from the passengers. After a short taxi we parked at AA's modern T8. Deplaning was the usual hurry up and wait. After I finally got off, I proceeded to baggage claim where I met my father. It would take a full 40 minutes until the bags came out, at which point we collected my bag and headed out. Home at last.


    Overall both flights delivered what they promised-on time travel with reasonable service. Staff on both legs were good, but not exceptional. Flying on BetaBlue was cool, and this service definitely has a potential. Overall, my faith in AA has been partially restored, but my allegiance and miles are still with CO.


    • #3
      Nice, That would be really cool to fly on beta blue. Great report.
      Will C.


      • #4
        Concise and interesting, well worth the rides. As did some sister-ships before her, such as N166FE now displayed at LBG, the 727 is probably due for a museum in the area and sits there until the latter can accomodate the bird.
        Thanks for visiting
        *Avimage's Monthly Slide list *


        • #5
          Originally posted by uy707
          Concise and interesting, well worth the rides. As did some sister-ships before her, such as N166FE now displayed at LBG, the 727 is probably due for a museum in the area and sits there until the latter can accomodate the bird.
          Awesome. Thanks for the information.