JetBlue A321neo economy: all the other airlines need to be VERY worried

JetBlue A321neo economy: all the other airlines need to be VERY worried

Most of you know that I’m already a really big fan of JetBlue. I have found them to be so consistently good that I no longer feel anxious about stepping onboard any of their aircraft for a flight of any length. I just know it’s going to be great. This JetBlue A321neo economy experience was no different.

The Airbus A321 has been the backbone of the JetBlue fleet since 2011(ish). However, the Neo (“new engine option”) is a huge step up in performance, comfort, and technology. Even in economy class – which I will show you in great detail below.

I paid just $131.60 for a bare-bones economy seat on this flight from Los Angeles to New York, and it was easily one of the best economy class experiences I’ve had in a good long while. But I already knew it would be.

B6424
Los Angeles, CA (LAX) – New York, NY (JFK)
Thursday, January 20, 2022
Aircraft: A321neo
Registration: N2105J
Duration: 5 hours 26 minutes
Seat: 24A (Main Cabin / Economy)

JetBlue A321neo side view
JetBlue A321neo side view illustration by Norebbo.com
b6424 flight track lax jfk
Our route from LAX to JFK today as B6424.

The video

I’ve said it before, but making video reviews of airline economy class seats isn’t easy. It takes a lot of effort to get really good footage of everything, and I’m usually self-conscious about doing what it takes to get that footage on a very full flight (where I feel like everybody is watching me). The good news is that this particular flight was very empty, so I was able to go nuts getting all the video footage I needed for a great review.

Just like all my airline video reviews, the soundtrack for this one came from Epidemic Sound. The title of the first track is “A Much Needed Vacation” by Matt Large, and the title of the second track is “Knowledge is Power” by (you guessed it) Matt Large.

My full review of JetBlue A321neo economy class from Los Angeles to New York

Those of you who have been paying attention know that JetBlue flight number 424 from Los Angeles to New York is one that I’m very familiar with. I flew it back in September 2021 – for the sole purpose of creating a highly-detailed JetBlue Mint Suites review. This time, I’m taking the less-luxurious (and far cheaper) approach and flying in the bowels of economy class.

SANspotter selfie LAX zoo mural
Before getting started with this review, I just need to say that the advertisements for the Los Angeles Zoo here at LAX are on point. I’d love to wallpaper my home studio like this, but I won’t, because I know it’ll give me nightmares.

It’s true. The JetBlue ground experience in Terminal 5 at LAX is terrible.

I like JetBlue a lot. I really do. However, one of my biggest criticisms of how they run their operation is that they offer a lousy ground experience at nearly every airport they serve.

They don’t offer lounge access to premium customers, and their gates are usually packed into tight corners of busy terminals – next to riffraff airlines such as Spirit and Frontier. That’s exactly what the situation is here in Terminal 5 at LAX.

Terminal 5 lax seating and interior
Welcome (back) to Terminal 5 at LAX. As usual, nobody seems all that excited to be here.
Jetblue terminal 5 LAX
The gate for my flight to JFK today is just ahead and to the left (55A). The boredom I’m feeling for having too long of a layover is invisible, but strong. BTW, if anything, this is more proof that 1 hour layovers are enough time at LAX. I had three hours this morning, and it was brutal.
Jetblue a321neo n2105j LAX gate 55A
My ride to JFK this morning! It just so happens to be the exact same aircraft I flew on last September to JFK (N2105J).
Jetblue a321neo n2105j Los Angeles airport
I wonder if it’s looking back at me through the window thinking “holy **** it’s the exact same guy who made a video about me last September!”
SANspotter sitting in terminal 5 at LAX
Probably not. I’m about as memorable as an insurance policy. 

The boarding process for JetBlue flight number 424 to New York / JFK

In the moments leading up to the boarding process for this flight, I was having déjà vu. Like, really bad. 55A was the exact same gate that was used for the last time I took this flight, and everything about it seemed exactly the same.

Except for the part about boarding with the premium group. I had to wait for my economy class zone number be called this time. #economyclasslife

Gate 55A LAX jetblue
I promise you that I wasn’t practicing my people-removing skills in Photoshop on this pic. It really was this dead here at the gate.
Waiting in the gate area 55A LAX airport
Either there’s been a huge Ebola outbreak in New York that I don’t know about, or I just got lucky for booking a randomly empty flight. I’ll find out soon enough I guess…
Jetblue mobile boarding pass flight 424
Thankfully, more people showed up in the minutes leading up to the scheduled departure time, squashing my Ebola fears. Somewhat.
LAX jetblue jet bridge
Good news! They boarded everyone at once (right after the Mint cabin), which was an awfully good indication of how light the load will be today.
Jetblue A321neo forward boarding door
This isn’t the first time I’ve walked through the door of this exact airplane. It’s good to be back!
Walking through jetblue mint suites cabin
Walking through the Mint cabin on the way back to economy was like someone (JetBlue) waving $10,000 in my face and yanking it away as I tried to grab it. This was such a tease.
Jetblue A321neo pantry
Here’s one of the reasons why I consider JetBlue to be one of the best domestic airlines: a totally free self serve snack and drink bar! You’ll see more of this later…
Boarding jetblue A321neo
Hanging my head in shame after realizing that I actually thought it said “Panty” instead of “Pantry.” Guys will be guys I guess.

My first impressions of JetBlue A321neo economy seats

This was the first time that I’ve ever been this deep into a JetBlue A321neo, and I have to say that I was impressed with what I saw. This airplane (N2105J – the exact same one I flew on last time) was still less than a year old, and it smelled just as new as it did several months ago.

JetBlue A321neo economy cabin
The JetBlue A321neo economy cabin. Mental note: next time I fly on one of these things, I’m going wear blue so I can blend in like a chameleon.
JetBlue A321neo Economy Seats
These are pretty nice looking economy seats IMHO – they appear to be thinly-padded, but I like the generously-sized headrests. For comparisons sake, check out my JetBlue vs United or JetBlue vs American comparisons to see how this stacks up to the big boys.

The basic economy seats on the JetBlue A321neo look fantastic – and if I can’t say that I was feeling any sort of nervousness about being strapped into one of them for the long 5-hour haul to New York.

Jetblue a321neo thin seats
Holy thin seats Batman! How quickly this turned into a Spirit Airlines review
Jetblue A321neo video screens
Ain’t nothin’ “Spirit-like” about these video screens though. I can’t wait to try these out!
Jetblue A321neo economy experience
I’m really liking this. And not only because nobody has sat in my row yet.
Jetblue A321neo power outlets in economy
Yes, there are power outlets at every seat. And you’re darn right that it’ll feel incredibly awkward as you reach down between the legs of your seatmate to plug in your phone. Why do airlines do this?
SANspotter selfie jetblue A321neo economy
Thankfully there will be no risk of unwanted intimate moments with my seatmate on this flight. The boarding door has just been closed and it appears as if I have scored an entire row of seats to myself. Score!
View from middle seat jetblue A321neo economy
The pessimist in me was waiting for a massive group of last-minute passengers to arrive and take all the empty seats next to me. Let’s go already!

The departure out of LAX

I was starting to feel like a seasoned JetBlue pro as the plane pushed off the gate. Everything about his experience had been exactly the same as last time I was on this flight (except for the economy class part of course). Suffice to say, I felt pretty good knowing that I knew exactly what was in store for the next 5 hours.

Los Angeles to New York is a grind, and by hour number four, it starts getting a difficult. However, I’m totally prepared this time. Let’s do this.

Jetblue A321neo pushback and taxi at LAX
JetBlue has been using Terminal 5 for several years now, but it still seems weird to me. I’d imagine that it won’t start feeling normal until they move again…
Jetblue A321neo new interior
Keeping an eye out for last-minute passengers to swoop in and take all the empty seats next to me as we taxi out to 25R. I’m paranoid about these kinds of things, ok?

While I don’t have any pics of the takeoff from runway 25R, I did record a full video (with footage of the climb out of the LA basin): 

What’s the in-flight entertainment like in economy class on the JetBlue A321neo?

The last time that I flew JetBlue economy class was in 2017 from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego. Back then, the personal video screens were small and highly reflective (which made them very difficult to see in most lighting conditions). However, I’m very happy to report that JetBlue put a lot of time and effort into the economy class product of their A321neos, and the in-flight entertainment is fantastic.

There are video screens at every seat, and the selection of movies and TV shows is fantastic. Of course, don’t forget the live TV – something that JetBlue has always been known for.

Jetblue in-flight entertainment
The video entertainment here on the A321neo is fantastic. For comparisons sake, Delta Studio (a high-quality in-flight entertainment product which you can read more about in my Delta 737-800 economy review – or my highly-detailed JetBlue vs Delta comparison) feels old and clunky compared to this.
Jetblue wireless connection for video entertainment
Shoutout to the guy in front of me who asked the flight attendant what this icon meant. Apparently, it’s to let you know that the video screens support contactless payment for food purchases. It’s also a poorly-designed indication that you can wirelessly connect your mobile device to the video screen and control it remotely. That’s pretty neat.
Jetblue A321neo audio and USB ports
Don’t worry. There are still ports for everything if you’re not quite ready to go wireless yet.
Jetblue A321neo economy in flight entertainment
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to find something to watch before the meal service begins…

Is Wi-Fi really free on JetBlue?

Yes! JetBlue is one of the few airlines in the world offering complementary Wi-Fi to all passengers. Even those in bare-bones economy class like I was today.

The best part is that the Wi-Fi on this particular flight was insanely fast. That may have been because it was such a light load today, but browsing around on social media was fast and snappy. Just the way I like it.

Jetblue free WiFi
The WiFi may be blazing fast, but it’s of less value if the power outlets don’t work (and they didn’t). On second thought, maybe that was done on purpose to prevent everyone from using up too much Internets?

What kind of food do they serve in JetBlue economy on long flights?

You can expect complementary bags of snacks and a free drink on long flights in JetBlue economy. And some routes, like the one I was on today, had a food for purchase option (which came in really handy). I was hungry.

FYI, the menu for the food for purchase option on the A321neo is accessed via the video screen – they don’t supply paper menus in the seat back pockets anymore.

Jetblue food for purchase menu
“January 2021” – yeah, I really hope the expiration date on the food I’m about to purchase isn’t as old as this menu is.
Jetblue food for purchase cheese and crackers
I went for the #3. Do you think less of me for this? 
Jetblue food for purchase cheese and crackers plate
If you don’t think less of me already, telling you that I paid $9 for this ought to do it.
SANspotter jetblue economy food
FYI, you don’t have to pay to eat in JetBlue economy. Drinks and light snacks are still complimentary.
Jetblue A321neo pantry snack bar
And remember that Panty (I mean Pantry) thing I showed you earlier? Feel free to get up at any time and take all the snacks and drinks you want!
Free snacks jetblue economy
Don’t mind if I do.
complimentary snacks jetblue economy
Ok, I might have overdone it on the snacks, but I think you get the idea.

How comfortable are JetBlue A321neo economy seats on long flights?

Maybe because it was the fact that I had an entire row to myself on this flight, but I found these economy seats to be extremely comfortable for the entire 5-hour grind to New York. They aren’t very well padded, but they do feel decently supportive.

Yes, the armrests are a bit small, but the most important thing was that my back wasn’t absolutely killing me at the end of the flight like it normally does on segments of this length.

View of entire jetblue a321 interior from the back
I can certainly think of worse ways to fly from LAX to JFK (and I have a vivid imagination so I’ll spare you the details). These JetBlue A321neo interiors are nice!
Jetblue blue mood lighting A321neo
Never mind the studies you might have read about blue light and the possible link to cancer. If JetBlue wants me dead, so be it, because I’m very comfortable back here thank you very much.

The descent and landing into JFK

Flying into JFK from the west is always a treat. Especially in the daytime. You’ll usually fly directly over top of New York City at a low altitude, and if the weather is nice, the views are spectacular.

It was dark by the time we arrived, but seeing the city all lit up was just as beautiful as it would’ve been if we would’ve flown over in the daytime. Here are some pics of the action:

Jetblue A321neo rear lavatory
Promises “action” but shows you the toilet instead. #tripreportfail
Jetblue A321neo rear lavatory brick pattern wallpaper
In my defense, I thought you’d like to see the brick pattern wallpaper here in the loo. You’re welcome.
Descending into JFK airport
Assuming nothing catastrophic happens in the next 30 seconds, we’re going to get a really nice view of Manhattan in 3, 2, 1…
Flying over Manhattan
Arguably the most iconic (and beautiful) city in the world. It’s nice to be back in New York!
Jetblue A321neo landing at JFK airport at night
Do be sure to watch the video if you’re feeling the temptation to curse at me for not showing you more pics of the landing process. Feel free to let it rip for any other reason though, because I probably deserve it.
Pulling up to terminal 5 JFK airport
We just landed at one of the busiest (and most diverse) airports in all the world, and the only thing I saw on the way into Terminal 5 was JetBlue A320s and A321s. C’mon man!
Jetblue A321neo N2039J
I do have to say that those A231neos with the fatty engines are awfully sexy though. I’m not complaining.
Walking through jetblue A321neo premium economy section
Truthfully, I could have gone another 2 hours (with ease). This was a great flight!
Jetblue A321neo parked at gate 20 terminal 5 JFK airport
So long old friend. We may meet again though, as I still need to try out the Mint Studio and the premium economy seats. Hopefully sooner rather than later…

Pros and cons of economy class on the JetBlue A321neo

I’m just going to come right out and say it: JetBlue‘s latest economy class product (especially on the A321neo) is perhaps the best in the United States. Not only is it stylish (and decently comfortable), it’s packed with loads of great amenities. It’s not perfect though, and this pros and cons list is a summary of all the things that I liked (and didn’t like) about this experience.

Pros

  • This is completely subjective, I know, but I find JetBlue economy seats on the A321neo to be the best looking economy seats of any US airline.
  • The snack bar located at the front of the economy class cabin is a brilliant and very welcome idea. It’s completely free, and you can just get up and get a drink and a snack anytime you want.
  • The personal video screens in these economy seats are very large, bright, and extremely responsive. It’s exactly like interacting with the newest-generation iPad.
  • In an era where many other airlines are cutting service, having a food for purchase option is a very welcome thing.

Cons

  • The economy seats on the JetBlue A320neo are a bit firm. RIP to anyone with a bony butt like me.
  • In terms of overall comfort, the seats aren’t that much better than what the low cost airlines are offering. For more of my thoughts on this, do be sure to read my comparison of Southwest vs JetBlue and Spirit vs JetBlue.
  • None of the power outlets in my row of seats worked. I had to use my power brick to charge my devices.

Comments (4)

  1. KULkid

    February 10, 2022
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      February 10, 2022
  2. Jason B

    February 12, 2022
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      February 12, 2022

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