Children are lovely when they're not orbiting my plane seat. A3 next to the window—my spot on an Airbus 320 operated by JetBlue—was surrounded on all sides by hysterical tots. It cost an extra $65; not long into my flight, I realized that, if I could, I would pay several times that amount to travel back through the space-time continuum and choose a seat rows away from anyone teething.
I had paid $65 on top of my $335 coach class round-trip ticket from Boston to San Francisco for JetBlue's Even More Space product. Even More Space offers up to four extra inches of pitch compared to standard coach seats plus a few other perks: early boarding and expedited security (branded Even More Speed) where available. Even More Space passengers (Even More Spacers?) get on the plane before everyone else—including families with children—so they get first dibs on the overhead bin.
These are the fanciest seats you'll get on JetBlue, which doesn't have first- or business-class sections on its planes. And it's relatively affordable, though JetBlue doesn't offer an exact price range. Rates vary based on length of flight. I tested out some sample bookings and it appears that the cost of Even More Space ranges from $15 to $65 each way on top of standard fares.
As is the case with plane seats in all classes, you can't predetermine whom you sit near. There is always the risk that the little box you select on the seat map will be adjacent to one of these people. The question I found most interesting is whether families with children are more likely to sit in JetBlue's Even More Space seats. It makes sense that groups who want to sit together might be forced into pricier seats when faced with limited options. (It's what Peter Greenburg calls the preferred seat hoax.) With airlines flying planes fuller than ever while setting aside rows of better quality coach seats for frequent travelers and those who pay extra, families are having a difficult time finding abutting seats in standard economy. Thus, it could be more probable that your premium seat will be in the thick of wailing, diaper-wearing little flyers.
I asked JetBlue whether families with children often buy Even More Space. A representative from the airline told me, "We see all types of customers taking advantage of Even More Space, though we know that the offering is of particular interest to our business travelers." So I'm left with little more than anecdotal evidence. Take that as you will.
The possible presence of kids in Even More Space doesn't diminish what, according to many travelers, is the best part of the product: early boarding and Even More Speed. The former is fantastic for flyers apprehensive about a forced gate check situation. It's always nice to avoid the scene wherein airline staff pries a carry-on bag from a passenger's cold, dead hands.
Even More Speed, which, according to JetBlue, comes with Even More Space only "for a limited time," means you get access to an expedited security line at the airport. As of this writing it's available at 50 airports in the U.S. and Puerto Rico; see the list of them here. With my Even More Space ticket, I went through the expedited security lane in Boston. It felt good and also self-important to engage in a socially acceptable line cut. It saved me maybe 15 minutes.
Though four inches of extra seat pitch would be invaluable to the long legged, I did not appreciate the larger seat size very much because I am a few inches shy of dwarfism. All in all, faster security, priority boarding, and a slightly bigger seat wasn't worth the additional 65 bucks to me—especially given the screaming kids.
Have you tried Even More Space? What did you think?