TPGtv Episode 11: Touring TWA’s Abandoned Terminal and Finding Economy Seats I Fit in on JetBlue

Apr 19, 2016

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So, there’s this rumor floating around out there that I don’t fly coach, and that’s not entirely true — I’ve taken a seaplane to the Maldives before and sometimes you just have to take regional jets. I generally do avoid coach though, but really because I literally don’t fit in it — economy seats just aren’t made for people who are 6’7″, especially width-wise. I’ve got broad shoulders and for the sake of my seatmate (and me hogging the armrest), it’s best if I fly up front.

Luckily, not all coach experiences are terrible. JetBlue offers 34 inches of pitch in economy and 38-39 inches of pitch in its Even More Space seats, the same amount many carriers — like British Airways, Cathay Pacific, JAL and Qantas — offer for international premium economy seats.

When JetBlue and Barclaycard invited a group of influencers and bloggers to fly to Costa Rica and learn about the features of the new JetBlue credit cards, I jumped at the opportunity — as per TPG policy, I did pay for my own flights and hotel stay during this trip. Watch the episode below to see how it went.

We also got a special behind-the-scenes look at the TWA Flight Center inside the old terminal at JFK, which was fascinating. The terminal is currently under construction (so we were one of the last groups to tour it), and the space is being preserved to be transformed into the TWA Flight Center Hotel, slated to open in 2018.

A rare peek inside the TWA Flight Center at JFK.
A rare peek inside the TWA Flight Center at JFK.

After a tour, we headed to JetBlue’s Terminal 5. JetBlue Mosaic flyers have a special desk area for check-in, as well as access to expedited screening with JetBlue’s Even More Speed perk, so we were through security in no time. Boarding was a breeze and the flight left on time. The four extra inches with my Even More Space seat made it almost feel like I was sitting in first class on a domestic flight.

The food was pretty good, too. In addition to JetBlue’s complimentary snacks, I decided to buy and try four of JetBlue’s EatUp snack boxes. I tried the ShakeUp box (Rosemary Crackers, Old Wisconsin beef salami, parmesan peppercorn cheese spread, a Kind bar, a Gilman cheese bar and Stacy’s pita chips); the PickMeUp (a trio of premium cheeses, dried cherries and crackers); the PerkUp (Gilman white cheddar cheese stick, Cheez-it cheddar cheese crackers, GoGo Squeez Applesauce, an oats and honey Kind bar and YumEarth natural fruit snacks); and the vegan-friendly PumpUp box (red pepper hummus, Oloves olives, Lucy’s chocolate chip cookies, Mary’s Gone Crackers and Enlightened roasted broad beans).

I loved trying all the snack options on JetBlue. This one was called the ShakeUp box.
I loved trying all the snack options on JetBlue. This one was called the ShakeUp box.

In the end, I paid $345 for my ticket (including taxes and fees) and earned a grand total of 2,100 TrueBlue Points after I upgraded to my Even More Space seat — this normally would have cost $65, but I was able to redeem 800 JetBlue points instead since I’m a JetBlue Mosaic member. You actually earn 200 JetBlue points when you purchase an Even More Space seat whether you use cash or points, so it really just cost me 600 points for the four extra inches of legroom.

I can’t wait to get the new JetBlue Plus Card because it gives you 6x points per dollar on most JetBlue purchases, 2x points at restaurants and grocery stores and 1 point per dollar on other expenses. There’s a $99 annual fee and currently a 30,000-point sign-up bonus if you spend $1,000 in the first three months. If I had this card when I booked my flight to Costa Rica, I would have netted a total of 3,900 JetBlue points, even after my Even More Space seat redemption.

If you've never been to Costa Rica — or flown JetBlue — I recommend both.
If you’ve never been to Costa Rica — or flown JetBlue — I recommend both.

The flight attendants were really nice, too. In general, JetBlue makes flying pleasant, even in coach. The airline is also expanding its JetBlue Mint service, launching it on transcon routes from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO); New York (JFK) to Las Vegas (LAS), San Diego (SAN) and Seattle (SEA); and Boston (BOS) to SAN and SEA.

While I’m excited to fly JetBlue Mint more in the future, the airline’s overall product is really great. American Airlines is still my primary airline since I’m an AA Executive Platinum member, but I also like to use my Delta Platinum Medallion status and JetBlue Mosaic just to mix things up a bit.

Stay tuned for our next episode of TPGtv, where I explore Costa Rica and get over my fear of heights.

Can’t wait to see what I’m working on next? Follow along with all my travel adventures on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and Snapchat for a behind-the-scenes look at what’s coming up on TPGtv, and don’t forget to subscribe to The Points Guy on YouTube — you’ll be notified as soon as each new episode appears.

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