JetBlue A320 Economy Class Review: Relaxing or Frustrating?
I was recently inspired to book a flight with JetBlue, thanks to a friend of mine who recently flew with them and said she had a great experience. My friend had flown in their economy (coach) class on one of their Airbus A320 aircraft. I decided to find out for myself if JetBlue was really all it was hyped up to be.
Last December, I booked a flight for my husband and myself from Oakland International Airport (OAK) to John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) in New York City. Our 18-month-old son was able to ride for free on my lap. As my close friend had suggested, I made sure I was on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A320 in the economy-class seating.
While I was pleasantly surprised with one truly great feature this airline offers for free to all their passengers, there were other things that I was less satisfied with and wish I had known about ahead of time.
JetBlue A320 At-A-Glance Review
Easy boarding process, generously sized overhead bins.
Interior and Styling
Nothing damaged, everything working.
Dated seat design and dated overall appearance.
Seating and Leg Room
Lots of leg room, easy reclining, seats flush with eachother.
Seats narrower than expected.
Friendly and adaptable staff, free sleep mask and ear plugs.
Standard single snack and drink trip during the flight.
Entertainment and Wi-Fi
Basic low definition non-touchscreen displays and no power outlets.
Flight: JetBlue Airways Flight # 168
Airports: Oakland (OAK) to New York (JFK)
Seat: 23A for myself, 23B for my husband, and one infant in our lap.
Airplane: Airbus A320
Departure: 11:47pm (PST)
Arrival: 8:08am (EST)
This aircraft isn’t huge, but it’s definitely not small either. It only has one aisle down the middle with rows of three seats on either side. For a better visual of the layout of the plane, take a look at this A320 Seat Map.
My seat (23A) was a window seat, while my husband’s seat (23B) was a middle seat. We were just praying that our 18-month-old son sitting on our lap would be well behaved and the poor soul seated in the aisle seat (23C) next to us would be understanding if he wasn’t. Especially since this was a five-hour red-eye flight!
The Check-In Process
There are multiple ways you can check-in for your flight with JetBlue and get your boarding pass. These are your options.
Online: You can check-in at checkin.jetblue.com up to 24 hours before your flight. You’re able to pay for checked luggage and print your boarding pass on your home printer to make things easier once you get to the airport.
Mobile App: You can download the JetBlue mobile app to your smartphone. There you can check-in for your flight, get your boarding pass right on your phone, and pay for checked luggage. There are also a few other cool features on the app such as a flight tracker, a DirectTV guide (their in-flight entertainment), a directory of the in-flight movies, a menu of the available snacks and drinks, and more.
In Person: Of course, there is always the old-fashioned way of checking in for your flight by arriving at the terminal and checking in face to face. Well, with a twist, they now have electronic kiosks at the terminal where you input the specifics about your flight and it’ll print your boarding pass for you.
I choose to check-in via the JetBlue mobile app and I’m really happy I did. I was able to do it on the fly (pun intended), while my husband was driving to the airport. Then once we got to the airport, all I had to do was hold the barcode on the screen of my cell phone up to their barcode scanners and . . . BEEP! I was verified! Along with showing my identification, of course.
Luggage Allowances on JetBlue
We needed to check one piece of luggage, which mainly contained personal items for me and my son. My husband was able to pack all of his personal items into his carry-on like most husbands seem to be able to do. Only God knows how.
Unfortunately, JetBlue doesn’t allow any free pieces of checked luggage. I can’t hold that against them, though, since that seems to be the industry standard nowadays. To be honest, though, their carry-on policies are so liberal, I think most people will be able to get by without checking any luggage at all.
If you have to check a bag, you’ll have to go up to the JetBlue counter at the terminal when you first walk into the airport to get the bag checked. Here are some of their policies on checked, carry-on, and personal item luggage.
Size: No larger than 62” in its overall dimensions. This is the number when you add up the length, width, and height of your luggage.
Weight: No heavier than 50 pounds.
Cost: $30 for the first bag, $40 for the second, and $150 for any additional bags. Also, even if you only check one bag, but it exceeds the dimension and weight requirements listed above, the charge will be $150.
JetBlue will allow you to bring one carry-on, and one “personal item” onto the plane, free of charge. We had both. Here are the differences.
Size: No larger than 22” long by 14” wide by 9” high including wheels.
Weight: No weight restrictions.
Storage Location: Must fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat in front of you.
Examples: Duffle bag, backpack, roller suitcase, or other luggage item.
Size: No larger than 17” long by 13” wide by 8” high.
Weight: No weight restrictions.
Storage Location: Underneath the seat in front of you.
Examples: Small backpack, diaper bag, or laptop bag.
Although JetBlue has strict size restrictions for their carry-ons, they really don’t actually measure the size unless it appears unreasonably large or you can’t fit it in the overhead bins.
Considering the generous size of the A320’s overhead bins, I wouldn’t worry too much about this in most situations. Just be reasonable. If you can’t haul it down the aisle of the plane or lift it into the overhead storage yourself, you just might raise some eyebrows.
I would pay a little more attention to the personal items dimensions, however, since the storage space underneath the seat in front of you is not near as generous as the overhead bin space.
If either your carry-on or personal item is too large, the crew may ask you to check the bag and they’ll help you to do this.
For more on JetBlue’s luggage requirements, check their Baggage Information page here.
Pro’s: Quick and easy boarding process.
One aspect I really liked about the A320 is just that it’s not a super huge airplane. It’s big enough to move a lot of people so the ticket prices stay reasonable, but it’s small enough that boarding goes pretty quickly. We were on the airplane quickly and easily.
Once on, we walked past the crewmembers who were welcoming us, back towards our seats, and loaded our carry-on bag into the overhead compartments which were definitely generously sized. We were seated without issues.
Soon after, there were a few pre-flight announcements and a safety presentation by the crew members. It all went as expected, no super-hilarious flight announcers or anything, but that’s ok. Life can’t always be filled with YouTube-worthy moments. Everyone seemed nice enough though.
Interior and Styling
Pros: No damaged or torn upholstery, window sliders and air vents worked without difficulty.
Cons: Dated seat design, older overall appearance.
The interior of this A320 was a little disappointing to me. It had what I would consider to be the bare minimum for a modern-day airline, but nothing else. Now I’ve heard that JetBlue recently updated the interior on some of their planes (more on that in a bit), but this certainly wasn’t one of them.
The seats were a dark green color, covered in loosely fit leather upholstery, and had standard plastic armrests. On the back of each seat was a pretty small 5.6 inch multi-media low definition screen that was a non-touchscreen. There was also a very basic remote control for the screen built into each armrest.
There were credit card readers next to the multi-media screens for in-flight purchases. Above us were small individual air vents that could be aimed at each individual seat and small reading lights.
Seating and Leg Room
Pros: Lots of leg room, seats reclined easily, seats relatively flush with each other.
Cons: Seats narrower than expected.
There were some positives and negatives to the seating situation in JetBlue’s A320. While there wasn’t much generosity given in the width of each seat at 17.8 inches wide, I was pleasantly surprised with the leg room. My husband is 6’2” and he absolutely hates it when his feet are stuck in cramped spaces. So I was quite worried for his sake.
Luckily, there wasn’t an issue with that at all! He had quite a few extra inches between his knees and the back of the seat in front of him, and he could also basically fully extend his legs straight out by using the floor space under the seat in front of him. My husband said he was very comfortable and didn’t once feel like he was cramped with leg room. Phew, that’s a win for both of us (he gets crabby when he’s cramped)!
Overall the seats were fairly comfortable and while, like most airlines, the seats wouldn’t recline much to speak of (about a 4-inch recline), I still didn’t find it too difficult to fall asleep. I was very pleased with that since this flight took place during my normal sleeping hours. I was able to catch a few solid hours of sleep thanks to the A320’s seating. Also, for those who are lucky enough to have an empty seat or two next to you, the seats are fairly flush with each other making stretching out across multiple seats an enjoyable luxury.
Upgrade to “Even More Space” Seats: During our flight, the crew announced that for $85, anyone on board could upgrade to their Even More Space seating. While this isn’t first class, they are seats with about three inches more legroom than their already generous standard coach seats, and a power outlet at each seat.
For more information about the seating options of JetBlue’s A320 and their other aircraft (including the restyled A320, A321 Core, A321 with Mint, and Embraer 190) see their seat information page.
Pros: Friendly staff, adaptable to issues as they arose. Free sleep mask and earplugs.
Cons: Standard single snack and drink trip during the flight.
I would rate the service as a notch above average. It wasn’t out-of-this-world amazing service, but it definitely outranks the average airline in my opinion. The flight attendants came by once with free snack and drink options, and again a short time later to pick up the trash. Since this was an overnight flight, we were all provided with free earplugs and sleep masks, nice touch JetBlue! Special requests appeared to have been accommodated without hesitation.
During one portion of the flight, the crew definitely earned this notch above average rating from me. My son was having a problem due to just having to sit still and not being able to sleep for so many hours. It wasn’t “rip your ears off”, top of the lung screams, but it was consistent fussy whining. I began to feel pretty bad for both the poor young girl in the seat next to my husband, as well as others in seats near us. So I asked my husband to stand up and walk around the airplane with our son to help calm him down.
As he did, the flight attendants noticed our issue and came up with a fantastic solution all on their own. They offered the young girl next to us a better seat (one of their “Even More Space” seats) so she could get some sleep, and that freed up the row for just our family. I was able to lay our baby down across multiple empty seats now and we both got some sleep. Score one for JetBlue’s service! They saved the day! Or should I say… night.
Entertainment & WiFi
Pros: Free Wi-Fi.
Cons: Very basic entertainment center at each seat with no touchscreen, no power outlets.
JetBlue is fairly unique in this department for the simple reason that they now offer free Wi-Fi on all of their flights! I couldn’t believe it. I don’t know how they do it when the other airlines simply can’t (or won't) offer this for free, but they do. This a very pleasant revelation that I wasn’t expecting. However, I was disappointed to find no power outlets at our seats.
Other than that, the rest of the in-cabin entertainment came via the very small 5.6-inch screen mounted to the back of each seat. This was a surprisingly small screen and it not being touchscreen was surprising too. You navigated the menus of the screen via a very basic remote control embedded into the armrest of each seat.
They did offer 36 channels of DirectTV and a handful of free movies, which included some popular mainstream movies. These movies weren’t on-demand however and were just playing on loop. There were also a few other options from the in-flight entertainment system including a real-time tracker where you could see where the plane was over a map of the United States.
Overall I’d say the entertainment was slightly above average. JetBlue gets dinged big time on the old style in-flight screens, but more than makes up for it with the free Wi-Fi!
2019 Updated Interior
JetBlue announced that all their airplanes would undergo a restyling of their interiors, beginning in 2019. About a dozen of their planes have already been updated with more being completed each month. It will take about three years for their full fleet to be fully restyled and updated. This much-needed update seems a little late to the game in my opinion, but at the same time, they are promising some great modern touches. The most notable of these upgrades include:
Multi-media screen upgrades: The screens will be upgraded from the5.6-inchh standard definition screen to a 10.1 inch HD touchscreen. These new media centers will now offer over 100 channels of live TV programming with on-demand movies and TV shows that you can pause, fast forward, rewind, start and stop at will. The new screens will be able to be paired with your smartphone which you can use as a remote control. There will be a host of other features like access to podcasts, games, audiobooks, satellite radio, a 3D live flight map, and more.
Seating upgrades: Seats will be updated to offer a modern ergonomic leather design with an adjustable headrest and built-in standard power outlet and USB ports for charging your devices. Their redesign will net each traveler about an extra inch of leg room, and one of the widest seats of all the airlines (at 18.4 inches wide).
Cabin upgrades: A few upgrades in the general cabin area including new mood lighting, modern carpet design, and updated overhead luggage bins.
One way they’re able to offer more legroom in the new restyling is that the seats themselves will be an ultra-thin design. This means less space is wasted on the bulky seats themselves so that there’s more space for the travelers.
The one drawback to the re-design is the seat pitch will be slightly reduced. However, JetBlue should still remain the airline with the most coach legroom.
For more information about JetBlue’s restyling, see JetBlue’s A320’s Restyling Page.
Would I Fly JetBlue Again?
My Overall Experience Rating: B
Overall, I was very satisfied with my experience on JetBlue and I would definitely fly with them again. It’s a shame though, because with a few very basic upgrades, like updating the seats that look like they’re from the 1980’s and the media screens from the 1990’s, it could be a truly fantastic way to travel. But JetBlue fell short there. They did make up for a lot of their shortcomings with free Wi-Fi and caring flight attendants though.
It sounds like JetBlue realizes these things are an issue and is attempting to address them in their new restyling which they are rolling out in 2019.
My husband and I made it to New York City earlier than we expected. JetBlue got us across the country about 20 minutes quicker than they had planned! Thank you, JetBlue! They even accommodated my fussy child and came up with a solution that was best for everyone on board. I’m happy to report that none of the other passengers died from killer migraines from my son’s vocal cords due to the quick actions of the staff.
I truly hope I get a chance one of these days to fly JetBlue again and experience one of their restyled and upgraded Airbus A320’s. Maybe, if I can convince my husband, I’ll even be able to experience an “Even More Space” seat. If I get this opportunity, I’ll be back to write an updated review!
What aspect of air travel is most important to you?
© 2019 Kate Daily