Flight Review: JetBlue New York JFK – Houston Hobby

A320 at lift-off (photo George Santry/JetBlue)

Review by Ron Bernthal

During the past few years JetBlue has been rolling out new coach seats, galley relocations and the spacious “Even More Space” seats on all of its 162-passenger A320 aircraft, of which there are 130. All of JetBlue’s new A320 aircraft have a redesigned interior, including all-leather Recaro seats, 10 percent more overhead bin space and LED cabin lighting.

A320 cabin with new interior lighting (photo JetBlue)

During a flight from JFK Terminal 5 to Houston’s Hobby Airport I upgraded to an “Even More Space” seat, which provides an extra five inches in seat pitch (34” to 39”) and offers passengers early boarding privileges, allowing early access to overhead bins. The 42 “Even More Space” seats, usually located in the A320’s first five rows and in the two exit rows, should be purchased at time of booking, as they tend to fill up as the flight date approaches.

I have always thought JetBlue was the best domestic carrier since the airline first started service in 2000. At that time, JetBlue’s leather seats were the most comfortable, the ability to watch live TV was innovative, and the unlimited snacks were a terrific in-flight amenity. Although much of JetBlue’s A320 fleet is not brand new anymore, the flight experience has gotten even better as the entire fleet has undergone cabin refurbishment and upgraded technology. With the introduction of the ViaSat Wi-Fi system; the improved 36-channel TV system and 100+ channels of SIRIUS XM Radio, as well as movies and other entertainment options; free Fly-Fi Internet service that is available gate-to-gate; and with AC power and USB ports at all seats JetBlue has managed to maintain its superb inflight experience. The expansion of JetBlue’s premium Mint class on select long-haul flights has also greatly enhanced options for business travelers, with nine more new A321 aircraft equipped with Mint coming in 2017, and additional Mint-configured deliveries in 2018.

Larger seat-back entertainment screens on A320 aircraft (photo JetBlue)

My flight, JetBlue’s non-stop flight #581 from JFK, departed on time on a Tuesday afternoon and arrived at Houston’s convenient Hobby Airport about 3.5 hours later, shaving 20 minutes off the scheduled arrival time. I was happily surprised to see the new additions of Cheez-It Crackers and Ocean Spray Craisins in the free snack basket, along with the traditional TERRA Blues® healthy chips and other items.

I always like flying into Hobby rather than IAH (George Bush Intercontinental) due to its proximity to Houston’s downtown business district, but the airline offers service to IAH as well. As usual, JetBlue’s signature onboard services and comfort during the flight were far superior to most other U.S. carriers, with the free snacks basket, the extra leg-room of the “Even More Space” seat, and the friendliness of cabin staff.

JetBlue’s Terminal 5 at New York’s JFK Airport.

If time permits before your JetBlue flight, visit Terminal 5’s 24,000 square-foot rooftop farm. The T5 Farm was created through a partnership between JetBlue and TERRA brand, with support from GrowNYC Partners and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The TERRA brand provides TERRA Blues® chips on every JetBlue flight, and the T5 Farm will yield blue potatoes like those used to make the TERRA Blues.

The farm, which is open to passengers seeking sunlight and green space before their flights, will also produce arugula, beets, mint, basil and other produce from 3,000 crates on the roof of the terminal building. It is expected that more than 1,000 pounds of blue potatoes per year will be harvested at the T5 Farm. The plants being grown there were carefully selected to deter birds and other wildlife from migrating to the area.

JetBlue’s T5 Farm on roof of JFK’s Terminal 5 (photo JetBlue)

The T5 Farm is located pre-security on the departures level of Terminal 5, which Frommer’s recognized as one of the world’s ten most beautiful airport terminals. JetBlue’s T5 also features the Live From T5™ concert series, free Wi-Fi throughout the terminal, and noted restaurants.