Where to Sit When Flying JetBlue's Retrofitted Airbus A320
JetBlue is in the process of updating its entire Airbus A320 fleet. Once the process is complete, there will be 20 aircraft with a "Phase 1" cabin, while the majority of planes will offer a standardized "Phase 2" design, which I had a chance to check out this week in Florida.
Both have similar layouts, with 162 seats, including 120 regular "Core" seats, with 32 inches of pitch (but a spacious feel, thanks to a thinner seat design) and 42 Even More Space seats, with most offering 35 inches of pitch.
JetBlue Airbus A320 Cabin
Most of JetBlue's Even More Space seats are located in the first five rows, with 12 additional seats in rows 10 and 11. Then there are 20 rows of regular economy seats, in rows 6 through 9, and again in rows 12 through 27.
The retrofitted cabin offers three lavatories — one larger lav just behind the cockpit, and two positioned side-by-side in the rear galley.
Which Seats to Pick
Naturally, you'll be best off with an Even More Space seat, given that they're located near the front of the plane and offer three extra inches of legroom. Of the Even More Space seats, I'd opt for window or aisle seats in rows 2, 3, 4, 5 or 11.
Even More Space seats vary in price depending on the route and the seat you select — an exit-row seat on a short New York-JFK to Boston (BOS) hop could cost $27, while a far longer JFK-Reno (RNO) upgrade near the front of the cabin costs $75. While JetBlue Mosaic elites don't get to select Even More Space seats free of charge, it's possible to redeem points to upgrade at very reasonable rates.
Window and aisle "Core" economy seats in rows 6, 7 and 8 are decent picks, too. Located near the front, you'll be closer to the larger lavatory, and more likely to get your first choice of free snacks.
The rest of the Core seats are decently comfortable, too. While 32 inches of pitch may not sound like much, at 5'9" I had enough room to use a laptop comfortably, even with the seat in front reclined, thanks in part to the slimmer design (and a slight reduction in the recline of each seat).
Which Seats to Avoid
JetBlue added 12 seats during the retrofit process by installing slim-line seats that take up a bit less space, and moving the lavatories to the rear galley. Now, you'll find seats where those lavs once stood, in row 27. Sadly, there's no window available in this row, so I'd avoid all six seats here, along with the aisle seats in row 26, since the galley noise and light may be bothersome.
Obviously, all center (B and E) seats are to be avoided, given that you'll be stuck between two other passengers. They're fine if you're flying with companions, of course, but, if given the choice, I'd sit somewhere else.
And as tempting as it may be to select a seat in row 1, you won't find any floor storage here, and the seats are a bit narrower, due to the fixed armrests. They're also located just behind the forward galley, so you're more likely to be woken up by galley and lavatory traffic on overnight flights.
I'd also avoid selecting a seat in Row 10 — they're designated as Even More Space, and while there is extra legroom, being in front of the second exit row they unfortunately don't recline.
JetBlue may be adding 12 seats as part of its retrofit process, but the added amenities — speedier and free ViaSat-2 Wi-Fi, HD in-flight entertainment with 100+ channels of DirecTV and a fresh design — plus an additional flight attendant compared with the old 150-seat config should make for a pretty comfortable ride.