I finally took the opportunity to fly JetBlue in “Core” (economy class) on a transatlantic journey and while there was one huge disappointment, so much about the A321neo flight from London to New York was simply superb.
JetBlue A321neo Economy Class Review (LHR-JFK)
I’ve heard so many good things about JetBlue in economy class that I decided my family would try it for our journey home from London.
Round trip fares from London to Los Angeles were $568, about the same as a one-way ticket, so the good news is that I will get to try JetBlue again when we return.
JetBlue operates out of Terminal 2 (“The Queen’s Terminal”) at London Heathrow, with daily flights to Boston (BOS) and New York (JFK). After checking in, we proceeded through security (lines were very long…the process took around 25 minutes, though it would have taken even longer had I not pivoted to the machines that do not require removing liquids or electronics), then to the Plaza Premium Lounge.
Boarding commenced at 11:35 am. The gate agent very nicely informed us that the flight was lightly booked and so she had moved us to separate rows, one behind the other, leaving the middle seat open in both rows. This set a great tone for the service we would experience onboard.
London (LHR) – New York (JFK)
Depart: 12:20 PM
Arrive: 3:32 PM
Duration: 8hr, 12min
Aircraft: Airbus A321neo
Distance: 3,451 miles
Seats: 16D, 16F, 17D, 17F (“Core” Economy Class)
It’s always nice to fly JetBlue and even nicer to fly on a flight that is less than half full.
Here’s where JetBlue really sets itself apart from the competitors. All seats in economy (Core) class have 32 inches of seat pitch…which is noticeably comfortable. The seat width is 18 inches and the set reclines three inches. There’s also a comfortable 4-way adjustable headrest.
There are two power outlets, which include both a USB-A and universal a/c power, for every three seats.
Core has 102 seats.
Meanwhile, rows 9-15 are “Even More Space” seats which have three extra inches of legroom and are located in the front of the economy class cabin.
Each seat was provisioned with a blanket and “snooze kit” (ear plugs + eye mask). I liked that the blanket was large.
I didn’t get up much during the fight and frankly was very comfortable for a daytime service. Going the other way might be a different issue, but I was quite content to be in these seats.
IFE + Wi-Fi
The other great thing that JetBlue has going for it is the complimentary wi-fi onboard, powered by Viasat, which you can switch on as soon as you board the aircraft (you don’t even have to wait until the flight hits 10,000 feet). This is revolutionary and also helped quickly pass the eight hours onboard.
In addition to wi-fi, a comprehensive library of movies, TV shows, and games were available plus a moving map.
While there was no “remote” for the 10.1-inch tour screen monitor, you could hook up your phone via Bluetooth to serve as that handheld control unit.
Complimentary disposable headphones were distributed.
I watched the latest Liam Neeson movie (they’re actually all the same, right?) that came with a disclaimer about the violence in it.
Taxiing out of London Heathrow took about 30 minutes and during that time we were treated to many excellent aircraft views out the window:
The kids spent most of the flight watching their screens…and eventually sleeping.
One lavatory was located in the front of the economy class section and two in the rear. The one I visited was clean, but there were no extra amenities.
Food + Drink
Perfect flight so far, right? Well about 24 hours before the flight I received an email that contained this provision:
I figured there was an aircraft swap and sure enough, we went from an A321neoLR to a A321neo. Those do not have ovens in the back meaning there is really no way to heat up hot meals for everyone in the Mint (business class) forward galley.
While I did consider changing to fly out of Gatwick or taking the early flight out of Heathrow, we did not want to be rushed in the morning. I also figured this would be a good opportunity to find out what kind of food may be served to Dublin and Edinburgh next year, since JetBlue will use this aircraft without oven.
After takeoff, a beverage was served (whole can offered).
Next came lunch, which was either a chicken warp or vegetarian wrap. It was served with a side of pickled broccoli with pomegranates and some sort of pudding for dessert.
Wraps can be okay. Usually everything Do&Co caters is okay. But this was not. This was ice cold and tasteless. What a missed opportunity.
Snacks were available in mid-cabin galley and I know I was not the only one who got hungry during the flight.
Prior to landing (about an hour out of New York) a final service commenced. The snack? A breakfast bar. Pathetic. Totally pathetic.
Whatever JetBlue ends up doing in terms of catering for its new Scotland and Ireland flights, I hope it won’t serve this.
The flight crew was excellent and quiet apologetic about the catering issue. They did not make rounds through the cabin except during the first meal and beverage service and again prior to landing, but passengers were encouraged to use their call button light if they needed anything…how’s that for service?
No doubt the meals were a huge disappointment for me and a critical part of the JetBlue experience that was lacking. But even with rather a deplorable meal service onboard, it was still a very nice flight with functioning and free wi-fi, a nice assortment of movies, plenty of legroom, and friendly service. Next time, I look forward to the full meal service, but even without it JetBlue is still a great product.