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Beware of A320 "non-stop" transcons - added fuel stop makes it a 27 hour odyssey

Beware of A320 "non-stop" transcons - added fuel stop makes it a 27 hour odyssey

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Old Jan 19, 17, 5:18 pm
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Dieuwer View Post
Had this been JetBlue, it might had costed me days to get home simply because JetBlue does not have the capacity to handle mass cancellations due to IRROPS.
Depends on where you are and where you're headed. Absolutely agree for flights from smaller stations like DFW. If you were in AUS there's a decent chance a reroute via MCO, FLL or JFK could have worked. And if you're in BOS, the NYC area or south Florida the options are plentiful.
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Old Jan 19, 17, 5:20 pm
  #47  
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
Depends on where you are and where you're headed. Absolutely agree for flights from smaller stations like DFW. If you were in AUS there's a decent chance a reroute via MCO, FLL or JFK could have worked. And if you're in BOS, the NYC area or south Florida the options are plentiful.
I think that is unlikely as these flights would probably be booked full for days. I was travelling during high season afterall.
I still would fly B6 if a non-stop was available as opposed to connecting.

Last edited by Dieuwer; Jan 19, 17 at 5:30 pm
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Old Jan 24, 17, 2:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Aewanabe View Post

1). To the poster theorizing about engine thrust being a difference in older versus later aircraft, it's not a factor. All of our A320s, from the oldest to the last delivery with sharklets, have the same IAE V2527-A5 engines. A321s have V2533-A5 engines to account for their higher Maximum Takeoff Weights. (The basic IAE engine is the V2500. The suffixes after the 25xx account for the thrust ratings at TOGA thrust; so a V2527 engine produces 27000 pounds of thrust, while a V2533 produces 33000 pounds).

2). The provision for Additional Center Tanks in the A320s was an experiment that only involved about 15 of the aircraft. It was unsuccessful primarily due to center-of-gravity issues. Those 15-ish aircraft have correspondingly higher maximum take off weights, with the ACTs removed and deactivated, so there is no reduction in their respective ability to take off with full fuel loads.

3). The reason that A321 transcons are more reliable is that every Mint aircraft has been delivered with 2 ACTs, which provide roughly 2 hours and 15 minutes extra endurance. (The A321s don't experience the center of gravity issues with ACTs which the A320s did). Core A321s (not typically used for transcons, but I have seen them on JFK-LAS) have 1 additional center tank.

4). Regarding the eventual switch from 150 to 162 seats, keep in mind that the 162 seats will be the product currently installed in the A321s, which is between 1-3 generations newer than the current A320 seats. As a pilot group we raised the concern about increased Tech Stops with the company. We have been told that the new seats and new generation of Live TV are light enough compared to what's being replaced that even with the additional 1200 pounds of passenger weight the aircraft will be somewhat lighter.

My experience is that the A320 is perfectly adequate for transcons 97 percent of the time, which is of scant consolation when you are caught in the 3 percent of failures. With a full fuel load, the airplane's endurance is roughly 7 and a half to 8 hours, depending on whether or not sharklets are installed; this is typically perfectly adequate for a 6 to 6.5 hour flight. The overriding issue this week is not the headwinds as much as the horrendous weather in the NorCal area, which has caused the need for alternate airports much farther away from SFO and SJC than normal. (For example, for SFO our alternate is SJC or OAK more often than not, which only require an additional 10 minutes or so of fuel to reach after a missed approach. The farther away from your intended destination the alternate is, the more fuel which you cannot correspondingly plan to use enroute).

I hope this information helps clear up a bit of the confusion. I again need to stress that I'm speaking only from my own professional experience and knowledge base, and not as an official mouthpiece for JetBlue Airways. I mostly lurk with 3 small children at home, but will attempt to return to the thread fairly regularly if there are further questions about the aircraft.
Thanks for the details!
Couple of avgeek ?'s
-Any idea if the new seats are in the wild yet?
-Would an A320 with sharklets (a la VX) be able to make these transcons without fuel stops? Giving that the endurance at 8 hours?
-What are the alternates that force the fuel issue?? Is it like LAX for BOS-SFO and vice versa (adding on about an hour to the fuel req'd)
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Old Jan 24, 17, 3:11 pm
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Originally Posted by FBWFTW View Post
Thanks for the details!
Couple of avgeek ?'s
-Any idea if the new seats are in the wild yet?
-Would an A320 with sharklets (a la VX) be able to make these transcons without fuel stops? Giving that the endurance at 8 hours?
-What are the alternates that force the fuel issue?? Is it like LAX for BOS-SFO and vice versa (adding on about an hour to the fuel req'd)
FBWFTW, you're welcome! Addressing your questions in order:

-New seats for the A320s have been delayed until the 3rd Quarter of 2017. No information has been provided to us about the reason for the delay, though I suspect it has to do with keeping aircraft in-service through the summer rush.

-The fuel burn savings on an A320 with sharklets versus without is in the neighborhood of 4 percent. That's 25-30 minutes of extra endurance which certainly makes the aircraft more reliable for a westbound transcon.

-You pretty much hit the nail on the head. Normal alternates for bay-area airports (which are the furthest from BOS specifically, versus southern California or the Pacific Northwest), would be other bay-area airports. Once we start calculating fuel burns to places further away such as PDX, LAX, SAN, etc we have that much less fuel that can be planned for enroute use.
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Old Jan 24, 17, 7:53 pm
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Originally Posted by Aewanabe View Post
-New seats for the A320s have been delayed until the 3rd Quarter of 2017. No information has been provided to us about the reason for the delay, though I suspect it has to do with keeping aircraft in-service through the summer rush.
Hi Aewanabe, it seems like not many new routes have been announced recently. Is Jetblue just running out of aircraft (or maybe not able to hire enough new pilots) for its current expansion plan in BOS and FLL? Especially with all the A320s that will be out of rotation getting new seats added.
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Old Jan 25, 17, 7:47 am
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They started 3 new routes about 3 weeks ago and announced a number of others over the last few months.
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Old Jan 26, 17, 6:54 am
  #52  
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Originally Posted by tphuang View Post
Hi Aewanabe, it seems like not many new routes have been announced recently. Is Jetblue just running out of aircraft (or maybe not able to hire enough new pilots) for its current expansion plan in BOS and FLL? Especially with all the A320s that will be out of rotation getting new seats added.
There are 15 new A321 aircraft coming on line this year against an existing fleet of ~227. That's a reasonable expansion. For 2018 there are 11 new planes scheduled to join the fleet. In 2019-2022 it is 20+ each year.

The main pending new routes right now come in the form of the Atlanta (re)launch set for March and beyond. The lack of details on the JFK/FLL/MCO-ATL service thus far remains annoying.
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Old Jan 7, 19, 3:14 pm
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Reviving a dead thread, so far this year (2019) the BOS-SJC flight has been diverted on 1/6, and 1/7 (today)... based on 2017, I guess we'll be on schedule for tomorrow as well!
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Old Jan 9, 19, 2:02 pm
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Been diverted on AS 739s and B6 A320s ex-JFK a few times in the past. DCA/IAD departures on the A320s and 738/9s are diverted way less due to the slightly shorter distance, so now only book those aircraft for transcons, regardless of airline, out of DC. If you don't book A321s/757s/widebodies out of JFK/EWR and BOS --> Bay Area, especially Oct-Apr, should expect tech stops as a reasonable risk on any airline.
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Old Jan 15, 19, 10:50 am
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I fly B6 regularly on Winter transcons and have only had 1 tech stop, oddly enough on a JFK-LGB flight. We diverted to ABQ and were in and out within 30 min, closer to 20 min I think. The ground ops folks were waiting for us with the fuel truck and air stairs in the remote location. Even the Captain kept remarking about how stunned he was that the process was so quick.

I also used to fly between JFK-PDX regularly and have never had a fuel stop on that route.

It really is a crapshoot. Just expect the worst and hope for the best and bring a good book with you.
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Old Jan 17, 19, 9:18 am
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It would be nice if captains/ops kept a list of airports that are consistently quick (and perhaps vice versa), and take speed into consideration when deciding on a place for a fuel stop.
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Old Jan 19, 19, 4:28 pm
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Originally Posted by RWPrincess View Post
I also used to fly between JFK-PDX regularly and have never had a fuel stop on that route.
JFK-PDX is about 130 miles shorter than JFK-SFO, and 250 miles shorter than BOS-SFO. And fwiw, FLL-SFO is almost exactly the same as JFK-SFO.
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