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JetBlue (Even More Space) or Delta (F) to Aruba?

JetBlue (Even More Space) or Delta (F) to Aruba?

Old Jan 29, 23, 5:06 pm
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Boston's north shore
Programs: AS MVP Gold, DL Silver Medallion
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JetBlue (Even More Space) or Delta (F) to Aruba?

For those who frequent the Caribbean, would you choose JetBlue (Even More Space seats) or Delta (First class) for a five hour flight to Aruba from the Northeastern USA?
Our home airport is BOS if that makes a difference.

My spouse is a reluctant traveler, but his extended family has booked a spring trip to Aruba and his father (my F-i-L) would like join the group. DH won't be comfortable if his dad travels without him, so I want to make the trip as stress free as possible for them both. (We lost my M-i-L a little over a year ago and they are a very close-knit clan. Happily, DH will enjoy the beach once he actually arrives in the Caribbean, though he'll despise the process of getting there.)

I'm the eager traveler who does all of our research and bookings. While we aren't price-insensitive, we do travel in J more often than not these days, but I usually book off peak times or far in advance, neither of which is possible here.

JetBlue is cheaper and has several flights per day, whereas Delta just has the one nonstop, but the up-charge between B6/coach and Delta/first is less than $100 for the flight time we prefer.

I could choose non-stop flights for them on JetBlue (A320 or 321) or Delta F (737-900ER.) SeatGuru suggests seat specs of 37-39/17.8 in Blue Extra/Even More Space for the former, 37/21 on the latter.

As far as mileage earnings go, B6 is the winner since we pool points. Otherwise, I have no strong reason to select one over the other. There's no lounge access for a Caribbean flight, and checked luggage isn't a factor. Since I'm an Alaska MVP, I really only experience BOS terminal B and occasionally E these days, having no idea if A or C is less hectic in 2023.

Can anyone add any useful facts or opinions to help me decide which airline to put them on?
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Old Feb 5, 23, 11:01 am
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I am faced frequently with similar dilemmas, and I prefer to take the shorter flights in F on AA, than the B6 longer flights with "even more space". Because there is no much price difference, I recommend DL in F, if that's still a choice. B6 is likely a 3-3 seat configuration and a long flight (if it was 2-2 it would be better). I am mostly Covid aversive and I mask, and still prefer shorter flights in F. But even an N95 may not handle a Covid risk for 5 hours in a crammed space. My comfort in economy would be 4 hours max (masked), but I would still do 5 hours if needed.
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Old Feb 6, 23, 2:39 pm
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Thanks for chiming in nk15 . You think about these things much the way I do, and our high risk household does leave us more COVID conscious than average.

Based upon the size of the cost differentials, I've booked my family in Delta F on the way to Aruba, with JetBlue Even More Space (taking advantage of B6's ability to book an Extra Seat/comfort seat to reserve an entire row) for their return. Three seats on JetBlue was cheaper than a single F seat in that direction.

I'm sure my travel-avoidant husband will have a variety of complaints upon his return, but I'll endeavor to post back here if he one or the other airline is particularly note-worthy for this route.
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Old Apr 16, 23, 2:45 pm
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Delta F beats 2 pax sharing 3 seats in JetBlue Even More Space, but not at any price

Okay, I promised to update this thread after my family traveled, so here is what they experienced.

Very short answer, where both nonstop flights are available:
Delta First Class was superior to JetBlue Even More Space (booking an entire row of three seats for two travelers), and it was "worth at least a couple of hundred more dollars" (per ticket) for the former, though not necessarily worth paying twice as much (or more.)

The travelers in this case were two people who haven't flown since the pandemic started, though both were occasional- to semi-regular international travelers years ago. One is elderly and has multiple health issues. Only one has Global Entry, so neither used express lanes based on that status during the trip (i.e., they stayed together at all times during travel.) Neither drinks alcohol, so that aspect of catering was irrelevant to their happiness. Rather than luxury, saving time and being less physically stressed was the most important reason for upgrading from standard Economy on this trip.

Almost as important as flight selection, according to my family, was the great value in paying for VIP departure service at AUA ($190 pp from First Class Experience Aruba) when leaving the country. Standing outdoors in the sun would have been necessary without this "fast track" service, and my relatives did *not* leave on the busiest day of the week. Even with VIP service to ease the way, my family found the Aruba airport pretty aggravating and they are unsure whether they will visit again with the family members who go there annually.

Delta First Class Boston to Aruba
Delta offered the earlier departure out of Boston for AUA, and that was yet another reason--in addition to availability of a less dense First Class cabin--we chose this particular outgoing flight. The earlier flight meant landing at AUA during a somewhat less peak hour, with only one international flight processing at a time instead of several. Overall, arrival in Aruba was pretty standard, and not stressful to these travelers, contrary to their departure experience.

Arriving at Logan airport a full three hours ahead (standard international flight recommendation) wasn't necessary, either, with no bags to check and priority security access due to ticketed cabin class. They got to BOS roughly two hours before their 06:45 flight and still had about an hour to enjoy the Delta SkyClub before their flight. Access to SkyClub was via AmEx Platinum card since, in the mind-bending logic of an airline, "International travel excludes customers traveling to/from the Caribbean." The lounge didn't wow them, but they ranked it “pretty good," and neither felt it was too crowded. (The airport itself did feel crowded to these two who have both been working from home since 2020.) They appreciated getting something to eat before takeoff, because the meal on a Delta F flight to Aruba is a sad little boxed thing. My family thanked me for warning them ahead of time about what they should expect; this would have been an unpleasant surprise to them otherwise.

Before boarding in Boston, at the gate, my spouse felt it was quite effortful to convince agents there that they belonged in the first class line. He mentioned needing to show his boarding pass more than once before boarding as agents kept trying to herd them toward the Economy queue. Again, as rare flyers these days, they probably didn’t have the body language of elite road warriors, and they were definitely dressed down on their way to the beach, but I consider this a failure at the gate. Passengers should be given a chance to show their boarding passes instead of being judged by their looks/a foreign accent.Arrival in Aruba was easy and uneventful. We’d considered booking VIP arrival service, but ended up glad we skipped that expense. It was the right call for arrival ONLY; not departure. The rest of the family members who’d flown in with JetBlue one day before experienced a much less smooth arrival, probably due to time of day and number of incoming planes at one time. Picking a flight leaving a couple of hours earlier was the right decision for AUA.

Because I asked specifically, my husband did notice, and report back to me, that they were offered a pre-departure beverage out of Boston, though he didn't feel comfortable taking off his mask before the ventilation system was running in full gear to partake of one. He also complained that the power jack at his seat was loose and his Apple brick kept falling out during the flight.

Last edited by willoL; Apr 16, 23 at 3:15 pm Reason: forgot to add PDB and seat power notes
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Old Apr 16, 23, 3:12 pm
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JetBlue Even More Space from AUA to BOS, 2 passengers purchased three seats to have a row to themselves
Upon arrival at AUA after a lovely weekend at the beach with family, my relatives encountered a long queue that stretched out into the sun. Fortunately, my research had given us warning about this problem at Aruba's, Queen Beatrix International Airport, so we'd booked VIP Departure Service for $190 per person. I worried it would be a waste of money, but they were very glad I'd booked it. (Although the elderly relative, whose energy was really flagging by the third inspection point, also felt terribly guilty about being allowed to cut all the lines!) Frankly, the departure experience was so unpleasant, my family may not return to Aruba. They certainly will never consider a visit on peak dates. The VIP concierge/escort was a great help, but it wasn't as elegant a service as those that take one through a separate door or passage, away from glaring economy travelers.

I was concerned about finding the legitimate provider of the VIP service, and used this link to book for my family: https://firstclassaruba.com/

VIP service includes lounge access, so they waited for their flight in the VIP Lounge. It was... adequate, but, again, much better than the rest of the airport.

In AUA, the security process was the awful part, and JetBlue really couldn't do anything to improve the process, so F vs. Y tickets won't matter. Global Entry is said to help, but only if it applies to your entire party. And, of course, AUA is a USA pre-clearance facility, which is why it takes so long and is so unpleasant. The good news is, you won't have to clear customs after your long flight home, but, when I did the similar process in Dublin, I didn't have to stand outside in the hot sun while I waited, so I question whether Aruba really has a suitable airport to offer this service.

Once on board, my relatives felt the JetBlue flight--seats, comfort, and service--was pretty standard based on their pre-pandemic recollection of economy. They were grateful to have the extra space, both from Even More Space seat pitch, and with their (paid for as a comfort seat) empty middle seat between them. Flight attendants were fine, but not memorable. My husband couldn't find the power sockets at first, but I solved that for him via text message right before takeoff. "Look down low, by your knees!" (Yet another thank you to FlyerTalk for all the great, free information I've gleaned here.) They had no issues with the free snacks, but didn't purchase an extra fee meal in flight.

In the end, my family says they would definitely choose the Delta F experience over that of JetBlue, even with Even More Space and a 3rd seat (for 2 pax.) The seats themselves were more comfortable, and the service difference was noticeable. When the price difference was very large, however, they felt they could travel comfortably either way.

Delta's First Class product didn't feel as superior as either of them thought "first class" should be. The boxed meal was the most glaring offense. My husband did observe that the elderly, unwell relative held up a lot better on the way out than on the return; how much of that was seat comfort and how much of it was simply exhaustion from the rigors of travel is tough to say for sure. And, because our elder felt emotionally uncomfortable just being in first class, cutting the long airport lines (with a paid VIP service), etc., maybe it is just as well that nothing appeared too fancy.

I didn't let him see the receipts for these flights, and I am glad he seems to have forgotten that he hasn't reimbursed me for this trip yet.

Finally, when considering my husband's lackluster impression of this Delta F product, it's fair to note that his last international flight was on Qatar Airways in J with a lovely lie flat seat and amazing service, so he knows what the better international airlines offer. For someone who's only flown in Y, this Delta F product will seem very nice. Those of us with a little more to compare it to will notice where Delta is cutting corners.
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Old Apr 28, 23, 2:05 pm
Join Date: May 2013
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Thank you so much for posting this detailed review and comparison! My son is planning a trip to Aruba with two friends and I'm trying to do some legwork and glean some tips from those more knowledgeable. At least I can offer some suggestions (which will probably be ignored )
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