In 2005, a giant blue building appeared in the middle of John F. Kennedy International AirportÂ (JFK) in Queens. JetBlue, still growing larger and larger at the time, decided it was time to have a place of their own, at their home airport, to do some aircraft maintenance. The 140,000-square-foot hangar and maintenance (MX) facility, or “Technical Operations Center” (simply called “Hangar 81” by employees), finally provided JetBlue with a proper facility for on-site offices, part storage, and light maintenance.
The hangar was actually opened before JetBlue took delivery of their first Embraer E190, and long before the Airbus A321 was even in the cards. Over the years, the hangar has been adapted to accommodate such aircraft without a hitch, and what goes on behind the scenes is pretty amazing. Last month, Timothy Russo, JetBlue manager of MX and Material Planning, Technical Operations, walked me around the sprawling facility, which might actually be better compared to a maze than an office.
Air travel is expensive, that is a well known fact of life. While the cost has indeed dropped dramatically over time, flying is still fairly expensive once you add up the taxes, miscellaneous fees, and everything else that goes along with flying. Last week, however, JetBlue offered a deal that was simply too good to pass up. 90% off any flight out of New York City? Sign me up!
After three frustrating days of trying to book a trip to literally anywhere JetBlue flies, I was finally able to book a round trip flight to West Palm Beach, FL for a whopping $66.99, $24.95 of which was taxes. That fare, booked the day before travel, was already incredible. At over $400 off the normal price, I was extremely happy. What came next, however, brought the fare down to less than the cost of a Big Mac.
Hurricane Sandy impacted the New York City area hard. Homes were destroyed, businesses lost, entire communities wiped out in a matter of minutes. The barrier island City of Long Beach, just a few short miles from JFK on Long Island, was one of these communities.
The cities main attraction, the boardwalk, was completely demolished. Along the boardwalk sat Magnolia Playground, which was also destroyed. Just over six months after the storm the playground is back after some help from JetBlue, KaBoom, and the local community.