Hello and welcome to another Flight Report! This report will document a quick trip I took to Boston last September.
Washington, DC - Boston, MA (DCA - BOS) | JetBlue | E190 [THIS REPORT] Boston, MA - Washington, DC (BOS - DCA) | JetBlue | E190 [REPORT HERE]
For this trip, I had the option to book either the American Shuttle or JetBlue. American brands DCA-BOS as American Shuttle, meaning that you get complementary alcohol in the main cabin, a more robust flight schedule (up to 16 per day, on the half hour), and that's about it. JetBlue, which interestingly only applies its "Shuttle" brand to BOS-LGA (even though BOS-DCA has twice the flight frequency), has up to 10 or 11 flights per day on the route and offers complementary WiFi, like all of their flights. I chose JetBlue mainly for the free WiFi access, and also because I've been wanting to try them out.
At the Airport
I arrived at DCA about 90 minutes prior to scheduled departure time via Metro on this rainy morning in DC.
Since I had arrived after the early morning rush, the security line for gates 23-34 was quite short and I was quickly through. I got a coffee from the Dunkin Donuts stand towards the end of the concourse, then went and sat near gate 26 to see our inbound arrive from BOS.
JetBlue's DCA-BOS schedule is quite clearly focused on the BOS end of the route. My 9:30 departure was only the second northbound flight of the day, an 8:00 departure being the earliest. The Embraer for that 8:00am DCA departure turns from a 6:00am BOS departure. Not really a huge deal for me this morning, but if I flew DCA-BOS more often that morning schedule might play into my choices a bit more.
JetBlue's boarding procedure was another new one for me. Apparently, they've recently switched to a back-to-front row-based boarding scheme. Since I was seated in 21D, towards the rear of the cabin, I was among the first passengers to board the E190.
My initial impression of the cabin was quite good. The seats were well padded and quite comfortable, and the legroom, while not as large as on JetBlue's Airbuses, was still above what I generally consider average domestically.
However, the JetBlue's cabins (aside from the new A321 fleet) are really starting to show their age. There was a seat-back screen, but it was 4:3 aspect ratio, low resolution with poor color. You can tell it was cutting edge nearly 10 years ago.
A view of JetBlue's other gates at DCA.
Sitting at the gate, I went ahead and connected my phone to the plane's WiFi since it was active already. All it takes to gain access to the internet is logging in with your TrueBlue account, then you're good to go. The WiFi was quite solid speed wise, and I noticed no slowdowns while we skirted the Atlantic Ocean later in the flight.
It was soon announced that boarding was completed. A bit to my surprise, the plane was at the very most half full – in the four rows (16 seats) behind me, there were just two people, one of whom took the flight attendants offer and purchased an "Even More Space" seat for $30 towards the front of the cabin. I'm not sure of the logic on that one. Most of the people towards the front of the cabin were sitting by themselves.
We pushed back from gate 26 right on time. Delta's gates across the aisle.
Passing an Alaska 737 which was departing for LAX.
One thing to note about our taxi: I was listening to streaming music via the onboard WiFi. Gate-to-gate WiFi is pretty awesome, especially when its complementary.
Passing by a United 757-300 prepping for departure to SFO.
We got to pull ahead of an American A320 holding short of runway 01. No take off delays for us today! Unlike the many flights to LGA waiting out delays in out-of-the-way corners of the tarmac.
A right-side window seat normally gives great views of downtown DC. This morning was the exception to that rule.
It was an absolutely beautiful morning once we broke out the cloud layer.
Tracking our departure.
Shortly after departure, the cabin crew came around taking beverage orders. On JetBlue, the crew takes orders, then brings back a hand-held tray for a few rows at a time. Since I was pretty much the closest person to the rear galley, I was one of the first to have my order taken and delivered. JetBlue inflight coffee is from Dunkin Donuts, and their choice of snack is more premium than the Biscoff cookies on Alaska, American and Delta – I went with a pack of cookies.
While returning to the galley, the flight attendant asked me if I would like a refill of coffee or some more snacks. I declined the refill since my earlier cup was still scorching hot, but did gladly take some more snacks. On this flight, the other snack selection was Cheez-its.
Cruising over central New Jersey and Fort Dix.
I then tried out the seat-back entertainment. The only video option is live TV, and since this was a weekday morning there wasn't a whole lot interesting on. Another service provided through the seatback is SiriusXM satellite radio. However, the audio quality on that was pretty terrible, so I stuck with my own streaming music. I probably could have also streamed my own service like Netflix or Hulu via the WiFi, but I'm not sure if that's officially supported or not.
Over Long Island Sound
Well into the descent while passing over Providence, Rhode Island.
Approach and Landing
The approach to runway 33L over Boston Harbor was quite a sight on this early-fall morning.
A smooth touchdown on 33L.
Taxiing to Terminal C.
Passing JetBlue's 200th aircraft, an A321.
We arrived on stand at gate C15 a few minutes early.
Washington - DCA
Boston - BOS
This was a very enjoyable first flight with JetBlue. The complementary gate-to-gate WiFi really sets them apart domestically. The service was a tier above the typical domestic offering, and the cabin was roomy and comfortable, if a bit worn.
I will definitely book towards JetBlue in the future.
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