Tonight I have a short rant. Been flying back and forth to New York on JetBlue four times, now. Three flights were great, but they were normal-sized airplanes--A380s I think. Today, coming back from New York, we were on an Embraer 190, narrow, cigar-shaped airplane, and we were back of the middle. Bad, bad, bad.
Forget the fact that my reading light had burned out. I was probably one of only three people on the flight who wanted to read...but like I said, never mind that.
The main difficulty was the temperature. I always carry a light jacket in expectation of cooler temperatures aloft. The plane flies at 30,000 plus feet, so one might expect cool air, don't you think? But no. Not only was it hot, but there was no air circulation without using those nasty little individual air jets which blow germs from all over the airplane right into your face.
I asked the female attendant, Dodi, if it were normal for the plane to be so warm. (I was not the only uncomfortable person by any means.) She said rather curtly: "I'll adjust it."
But no adjustment was forthcoming. I thought I might ask her about it again, but by then the attendants had erected their barrier against terrorists, or whatever, sealing off the front facilities and their service area from the rest of the cabin. I think it's so the captain can come out and use the restroom. At any rate, I decided to wait and hope for improvement.
So, an hour and a half later--after the barrier had been removed--I went up front to the restroom and, since I was feeling like I was being slowly deprived of sufficient oxygen, I asked her a couple more questions about how the AC worked. She said the AC system is supposed to balance the flow of air between the front of the plane and the back. She tried, she said, to increase the air flow to the back (which obviously meant reducing it to the front where she was sitting--and to be fair where the pilot and co-pilot were, as well--) but the control was very temperamental and any bump could dislodge it.
I am inclined to accept explanations from staff on airplanes. I want you to know that. I have my doubts about this, but we don't want the people flying the plane to have insufficient air and fall asleep, do we?
In the end, after considerable turbulence, we landed safely. The pilot and co-pilot did a great job. But the sense of insufficient air didn't go away until we walked out into the terminal where, fortunately, there was no problem with air or airconditioning, at all.
I'm not sure whether JetBlue is trying to save money by raising the temp on its planes and restricting the ingress of oxygen to the absolute limit. Or whether the Embraer 190 is just a crummy aircraft. Or whether we would have noticed a problem if we'd been sitting up front, where we usually sit.
It has made me thoughtful, though, about flying that airline again.
Today I would give JetBlue a big thumbs down.