- JetBlue Airways is the latest US airline to fly the Airbus A220, a next-generation aircraft to replace the airline’s Embraer E190s.
- The 140-seat aircraft is configured in a unique 2-3 arrangement and gives flyers more seating choices based on preference.
- JetBlue plans to fly the aircraft across the country thanks to the aircraft’s 3,400-nautical mile range and fuel efficiency.
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It’s among the rarest passenger aircraft flying in the US and JetBlue joins Delta Air Lines in flying passengers on the aircraft. Unlike Delta, however, JetBlue went straight for the larger model, the A220-300.
JetBlue will soon take customers across the country with the A220 thanks to its impressive 3,400-nautical mile range. But for now, it’s flying on popular routes between Boston and Florida.
I flew on JetBlue’s new Airbus A220-300 from Boston to Tampa, Florida. Here’s what it was like.
JetBlue has been flying the A220 since late April and the Boston-Tampa route has been its mainstay. Four daily flights between the cities were being flown by the aircraft at the time of my flight.
I arrived at gate C9 at Boston Logan International Airport and there it was, one of JetBlue’s newest fleet members.
At first, it was jarring to see this aircraft in JetBlue colors. I’ve been flying JetBlue for years and had gotten used to its two fleet types, the Embraer E190 and Airbus A320 family, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.
A brilliant blue galley wall greets customers with JetBlue branding and the name of the aircraft. JetBlue named its first A220 after Rob Dewar, the vice president and general manager of the CSeries program for Bombardier. Much like the aircraft, Dewar now works for Airbus.
A total of 140 seats make up the all-economy cabin that’s split between what JetBlue calls “even more space” extra legroom seats and standard economy “core” seats.
One of the best features of the A220 is that there’s something for every type of traveler thanks to the 2-3 seating configuration of the aircraft.
Larger groups traveling together, for example, can sit on the three-seat row side of the plane.
Alternatively, couples or solo travelers might want to sit on the two-seat row side.
Modern aircraft don’t typically feature this type of configuration. It’s a setup that the McDonnell-Douglas MD-80 and Boeing 717 series of aircraft are known for but those jets are being phased out by most airlines.
Having two-seat rows also means that there are no middle seats on one side of the aircraft.
That’s why I chose a seat on the two-seat side. It gave me easier access to the aisle from the window seat.
The aircraft’s mood lighting was in full effect for boarding. Flyers that hadn’t noticed they were booking a seat on a new plane certainly did once seeing the colored interior.
We boarded at around 4 p.m. but it seemed like it was 10 p.m. by how dark it was on the inside. Having the windows shut did help to keep the plane cool, however, and the mood lighting gave the plane a futuristic feel.
Legroom for core seats is an above-average 32 inches. It’s not as much as JetBlue’s older Airbus A320 aircraft but it’s still quite spacious.
I had no trouble getting comfortable in the seat.
Seat-back pockets also offer multiple pouches to store a multitude of items.
In-flight entertainment is offered at every seat via 10.1-inch touch-screen systems.
But for more natural entertainment, it’s hard to miss the enormous windows on these aircraft that were larger than my head. Getting a good view was no problem at all.
In-flight power is also doubly offered on this aircraft. Passenger-facing 110v AC power outlets are located under the seats and USB charging ports are also found under the screens themselves.
Our aircraft was conveniently parked next to the Embraer E190, the jet that the A220 is replacing. JetBlue never bothered to update those aircraft and it shows when flying them.
After pushback, the cabin was illuminated for takeoff in a required safety feature. I preferred this lighting compared to the mood lighting, at least while we were on the ground.
We departed from Boston on time and blasted off toward Tampa. One of the A220’s selling features is its low noise levels and I was impressed at just how quiet it was on engine start and takeoff compared to other aircraft.
We settled in at a cruising altitude of just 36,000 feet and flight attendants then began the in-flight service. I’d flown JetBlue before and knew to expect something close to normal in terms of snacks and drinks.
Flight attendants serve drinks from a trolley on this aircraft. One starts from the front while another from the back to minimize wait times.
I was all set to enjoy the service when I opened my tray table and found the tray table in an utterly disgusting state. Spilled coffee and crumbs topped the table and I could feel the grime.
It was surprising to see this not only because we had just come from JetBlue’s hub in Boston, where cleaners are supposed to go through the aircraft with a fine-tooth comb, but because this plane was less than one month old.
I managed to get a few napkins and wipe off the table before enjoying my meal. First the drinks were offered and all standard soft drinks were available and served in normal-size cans.
Snacks came next with four of JetBlue’s signature snacks available. Passengers have to request which one they’d like instead of taking from a basket.
Once the in-flight service was complete, I decided to dive into a movie for the rest of the three-hour flight.
There’s no remote to control the in-flight entertainment system but flyers can pair their devices or simply use the touch-screen functionality.
This system is JetBlue’s newest and greets customers with their first name by matching seats with bookings.
The home page is quite intuitive and provides a flight tracker as well as an overview of what the system offers.
On tap for the flight was countless hours of movies…
Live television through DirecTV…
A moving map also lets flyers keep track of the flight’s location.
Complimentary in-flight satellite WiFi is also offered on the aircraft through Viasat. Flyers can use the service from gate-to-gate and the satellite aspect of the services means fewer outages while over water.
I wasn’t too impressed with the movie selection but did settle in on an old favorite, “Atomic Blonde” with Charlize Theron.
A cool feature of the system is the picture-in-picture functionality that allows flyers to view the moving map while watching a movie. The flight’s progress is also displayed.
We pressed on down towards Florida and I saw firsthand just how busy the East Coast was as other aircraft left contrails and were visible from the plane. Quite a few aircraft also buzzed past us heading back north.
The aircraft truly lived up to its reputation for quietness and the cabin volume was incredibly low compared to other jets.
Our routing had us flying towards Miami while over the Atlantic but then a right turn had us cut across the state, making for an interesting sight-seeing adventure.
We made landfall just north of Cape Canaveral, cutting through the center of Florida.
We started down towards Tampa and made a 180-degree turn over Tampa Bay on the approach. The three-hour flight soon reached its conclusion thereafter.
I was already a fan of the A220 but JetBlue really packed it full of great features to make the aircraft even better.