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If you are considering flying JetBlue for your next family vacation with kids in tow, it’s a great choice. JetBlue snagged the No. 2 spot overall in the TPG Best Airlines for Families Report, but the New York-based airline easily came in first for the onboard experience (think: spacious seats, unlimited kid-friendly snacks and DirecTV with channels like Cartoon Network and The Disney Channel).
Even so, you can always make your flying experience better if you are properly prepared. To help you have a great trip with JetBlue, consider these 10 tips before traveling with your little ones.
1. Be sure you have a seat assignment
JetBlue makes it easy for families to get seats together, since most of the rows are standard rows that don’t cost extra, and there are no Basic Economy-type tickets that don’t include seat assignments. That said, be sure you have seat assignments together well ahead of time, as JetBlue flights can be pretty full, making it hard to do much about seat assignments on the day of travel.
2. Pack headphones and charge your devices
JetBlue has complimentary DirecTV, movies and Fly-Fi internet, but the headphones required to listen to the inflight entertainment are not free. In fact, they will set you back $5 a piece. You can purchase my favorite kid’s headphones on Amazon for not much more than that. Just remember to tuck them into your child’s carry-on.
Also, charge your devices before leaving for the airport. Power outlets are not available at all seats on all aircraft (though the airline is working on that). Our recent 3.5 hour flight from New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) was on a JetBlue A320 with no in-seat power. It’s also wise to prepare for the worst. In case the screens are broken or the Wi-Fi is dow (it was on ours), pack alternative activities for your kids.
3. Take the kids to play in JFK’s Terminal 5
This won’t help you on all JetBlue flights, but I love that JetBlue has a small playground near Gate 12 in JFK’s Terminal 5. This is the perfect way to spend 15 minutes or so before boarding. Let your little ones run, play and climb (read: burn off energy) before they have to sit still for hours on the plane.
4. Board after Group A
JetBlue doesn’t have my favorite family boarding process, since they don’t let families with bulky gear on first. They do, however, have an opportunity for travelers with young kids and car seats or strollers to board immediately after Group A. If you fall into that category, be ready to go and get settled before the the other boarding groups.
5. Don’t waste packing space on snacks
JetBlue provides unlimited complimentary snacks while onboard, so unless your child is a picky eater or has specific dietary restrictions, I would not waste time or money packing snacks for a JetBlue flight. Instead, I’d get ready to enjoy the free cranberry, orange or apple juices, the Cheez-Its and Skeeter Nut-Free chocolate chip cookies, the popcorn chips and the airline’s iconic Terra blue potato chips!
6. Pool your JetBlue miles
JetBlue lets families pool miles for free, so sign your kids up for a JetBlue TrueBlue account and accumulate your family’s miles into a single account so you can book award travel faster.
You will need a unique email address for your kids when signing them up for TrueBlue, but if they don’t have their own account quite yet, they can use your gmail account by adding a + and their name to the end. For example, an email account that is typically email@example.com could become firstname.lastname@example.org, and the message would appear in my inbox as usual.
For the purpose of pooling miles, families can include up to two adults and five children, so make sure everyone has a True Blue account.
7. Skip the extra legroom
Unless you really need the extra space or have it included in the cost of your ticket thanks to JetBlue Mosaic elite status, I’d personally skip upgrading to JetBlue’s Even More Legroom seats, since their standard seats have plenty of legroom for most families. Heck, with their largest legroom in economy, they will feel downright roomy compared to a flight on Spirit or Frontier.
8. Save more with the JetBlue Card
Families who regularly fly JetBlue should consider the JetBlue Plus Card, as it provides complimentary checked bags for yourself and up to three others on the same reservation; 50% off eligible inflight purchases on cocktails and food; and returns 10% of your redeemed JetBlue points back to your TrueBlue account. (Read the full card review here.)
9. Watch for JetBlue flash sales
If you want to get away for as few points or dollars as possible, keep your radar tuned to JetBlue flash sales. These flash sales are sometimes for very specific travel dates and times, but the prices can be as low as a few hundred points for a flight, or cash fares starting at approximately $20 each way. For example, I’ve seen a flight from JFK to Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR) for just 300 TrueBlue points plus taxes.
Transferring points into TrueBlue can be done instantaneously through the Citi ThankYou program and the Amex Membership Rewards program — sometimes even at an improved ratio, thanks to transfer bonuses.
10. Shop Amazon in the sky for 3x TrueBlue points
You can no longer earn JetBlue TrueBlue points for Amazon purchases made on the ground, but you can still earn 3 TrueBlue points per eligible dollar spent when you shop on a JetBlue flight using their free inflight Fly-Fi! Just be sure to log into Fly-Fi using the name and email associated with your JetBlue TrueBlue account, and then head to Amazon to shop and earn points (not valid when using the Amazon mobile app).
Do you have any tips for flying JetBlue with kids? Sound off in the comments below!
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