My first experience with JetBlue, and why I’ll just stick with oneworld Alliance

So I’m back from my eventful trip to the NVIDIA headquarters San José, CA, and I’ve had a few days to settle back in at home. After hearing a lot of positive things about JetBlue (especially from Casey Neistat after he switched his primary domestic airline from American Airlines to JetBlue after American Airlines didn’t reinvite him to Concierge Key), I finally tried them out for the first time. I decided I would share my thoughts and experiences regarding my first flight ever with JetBlue versus my regular airline of American Airlines, part of oneworld Alliance.

I have notoriously bad flight experiences. A few years ago, I traveled a decent amount for my job in esports, with my primary trip being from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport. There have been nearly non-existent instances where I managed to fly without problems. Very often, my gate was moved around, sometimes multiple times per flight, before they finally decided on one through which we would board. I’ve had some absurd instances where my flights were delayed because of things like a broken toilet, and once even because they somehow ran out of planes and had to send one from Mexico to come pick us up in Los Angeles.

On flights where everything else seemed to work out, there have still been little nuisances, such as online check-in not working, having to check in at the kiosk, and ending up in the final boarding group so I was forced to check my carry-on luggage; all the way to having pre-purchased a wifi pass and having the wifi break on my flight. Even on a flight where I flew first class, everything seemed to be going perfectly until I got to my final destination… first class is supposed to have priority baggage where your luggage is supposed to be the first to come out at baggage claim, but my luggage somehow ended up being the last.

The one time I clearly recall that I flew with zero problems is a minuscule less-than-one-hour first class flight from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, which I imagine was problem-free only because I literally got off the plane and out of the airport before anything could even happen. But interestingly enough, we nearly had a car collision on my way from the airport back home because my driver wasn’t paying attention to the road and nearly rear-ended someone.

However, through all of that, there had not been a single time that my flight was canceled. The longest my flight has ever been delayed was just a few hours, and eventually, American Airlines always found a way to get me to my final destination before the day was over.

And then JetBlue proceeded to cancel my second ever flight with them (first, if you calculate it by round-trip bookings).

Although I might have a slight bias because JetBlue introduced me to my very first canceled flight experience, I still think I’m taking a relatively neutral approach to analyzing my JetBlue vs. American Airlines breakdown – at least when it comes to my individual perspective in my personal situation.

  • JetBlue’s unlimited snacks is no different than what is already served with economy fares anyway.

    When JetBlue really marketed their unlimited snacks, I thought it would be similar to my first class experience with American Airlines from LAS to LAX. Because the flight was so short, there was no meal served, but the flight attendant literally came around 4 times with a tray of snacks with such great variety that every single bag of chips, crackers, and cookies was different. I literally ate four different items that day.

    JetBlue goes around with complimentary non-alcoholic drinks and a limited choice between cookies and Cheez-Its (the rest of the supposed available snacks were not available). Nowadays, free non-alcoholic beverages and a choice from two basic snacks is standard (as long as you’re not flying with an ultra budget airline like Spirit), so I’m not exactly sure why JetBlue is borderline bragging about their snacks.

  • The leg room is nice, but irrelevant for me.

    On my JetBlue flight from LGB to SJC, I upgraded to an Even More Space seat, while on the way back from SJC to LGB, I sat in a normal seat. Although the extra leg room on the outbound flight was nice, to me personally, it was next to pointless.

    Even though I’m somewhat tall at 5’10” (178 cm), I’m extremely lean at approximately 142 lbs (65 kg). I’m also pretty flexible, so I end up getting settled in pretty comfortably in small spaces. A lot of people use the space in front of them to stretch out their legs, but I generally am able to nimbly use vertical space to swing my legs around into different positions (and even sometimes cross my legs into the other) to keep the blood flowing. I’m also pretty intense and am able to sit still in the same position for hours at a time without fatiguing.

    The only reason I would imagine the extra space would be helpful is if I needed to pull out my laptop and work on the plane, but I generally cannot do that due to my air sickness. Although I would love to take advantage of that extra time, all I’m able to do without getting sick is occasionally look at my phone and just sleep. Although, sometimes working on my laptop isn’t even entirely possible because of the wifi, which brings us to the next point:

  • The wifi is nowhere near as advertised, and didn’t even work on my return flight.

    On my outbound flight, the free wifi on JetBlue, which is supposedly supposed to be somewhere around 12 Mbps, is nowhere near as advertised. It’s pretty much as slow as any other plane’s wifi, and it took a good few minutes to post photos on Twitter. On my inbound flight, the wifi just didn’t work at all.

    This personally isn’t really much of an issue for me because I’m a T-Mobile One Plus customer, and they provide unlimited free Gogo Inflight wifi to all their clients, so I can stay connected on American Airlines flights for free anyway. Although this is obviously not applicable to everyone, it ends up being a non-factor for me personally (mainly because my only potential benefit over Gogo – the supposed 12 Mbps of JetBlue wifi – seems to not be true).

  • Mosiac, JetBlue’s elite status program, is underwhelming.

    Again, this assessment heavily relies on my own personal situation, and may not apply to others, but I personally don’t care at all about rewards travel. The only reason I work towards an airline loyalty program, such as oneworld Alliance, is for the chance to get free cabin upgrades.

    I hate travel and try to avoid leisurely flights at all costs; the only time I fly is if my employer or a different company pays for the flight, which in that case, my points for award flights don’t matter. Either way, the value of literally one bump in cabin on a decently long domestic flight is generally far higher than any award flight that you struggle to book with your miles in basic economy.

    Mosiac does not offer cabin upgrades at all (I don’t really consider complimentary Even More Space seats to count because just having more leg room in the same exact seat doesn’t matter to me), and if I’m not mistaken, you cannot even redeem your airline points for cabin upgrades. Thus, I feel like I’m collecting all these points with JetBlue to possibly redeem them for a single free flight maybe once a year that has a microscopic retail price of like $60.

  • The aircraft feels a bit on the dated side.

    I’m not sure if I just got unlucky, but the plane I rode looked nothing like the JetBlue photos. The cabin looked old, the seats were a faded gray color and felt a bit tattered, and even the screens are just small TVs that don’t provide interactive show or movie selection. There’s a map “channel” that shows your GPS location, but that also isn’t interactive and cycles through so many advertisements that you only get to see the actual map for about 10 seconds out of every minute.

So, what’s my verdict after all of this?

I plan on sticking with American Airlines unless its prices are 20%+ more expensive than JetBlue, or in cases where American Airlines does not offer any non-stop flights but JetBlue does. At this point, I would literally prefer to pay up to 20% more because of AAdvantage and oneworld Alliance’s loyalty program for elite and Million Miler status.

In the case that JetBlue does provide significantly cheaper and more convenient options for a particular flight, I’m not entirely against using them. I think I probably just got unlucky with the canceled flight, and they are still a decent secondary alternative.




The happiest ice cream

My aunt and uncle came to visit me today, and we went to an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant. This is what they gave me for dessert.

The happiest green tea ice cream

And of course, this can’t be a post about sushi if I don’t actually show some sushi, so here’s a photo of salmon nigiri:

Salmon nigiri

I had a lot of that




I just moved for the fourth time in 14 months

I’m not a very materialistic person. In fact, I’m actually quite the opposite – I like to cut down on my possessions to only the essentials. I’m pretty lucky I’m like that, because I’ve moved four times in the past 14 months.

Back in November 2016, I got an opportunity to do what most other people only dream of – I got to start doing my hobby as a full-time job. With our involvement with League of Legends and Overwatch, Tempo Storm was getting two team houses, and I was offered a spot in one of the houses. I obviously seized the opportunity, which started my chain of moves, relocating from my hometown of the Chicagoland suburbs to one of the team houses.

After I finished setting up the first team house and players moved in, it ended up getting full of League of Legends players, so I moved again to our other team house in December 2016. I repeated the process, setting up the other team house for our Overwatch players.

During this entire process, I realized something – I am very incompatible with living with a bunch of other guys in their upper teens and low 20s. I didn’t realize how messy, dirty, and inconsiderate people could be, especially considering that I am an only child and I lived alone (without roommates) throughout all my years of university. Although I was being given free housing in the team house, I noticed it probably wasn’t worth taking it, because it was having an effect on my mental well-being, so I decided to move to my own apartment.

I executed my decision the following month, moving from the second team house to my own apartment in January 2017. I was feeling better already, as having quiet, alone time is pretty important to me, and I’m on the extreme end of cleanliness and organization. I signed a one-year lease and happily lived in my apartment until today, in January 2018.

Since November 2016, Tempo Storm hired a lot more people who are local to the Southern California area, and my duties shifted significantly from being an all-around administration and operations guy to focusing in specifically on editorial and digital media projects within the production division. This specific task didn’t require me to be present in person, and as a result, I was given the freedom to work from wherever I wanted. Because of the extremely high cost of living in Southern California, I decided to move away to somewhere nearby without such high prices for … pretty much everything.

Thus, I decided not to renew my lease, which ends tomorrow, and to instead move to Las Vegas. I was able to pick out a new apartment complex still under construction with an ultimate-tier luxurious lifestyle, most utilities included, free breakfast, a gym/pool, and a ton of other amenities for far lower than the cost of what I was paying for a 26-year-old building in Southern California. I’m pretty picky about stuff like this, so I ended up selecting the perfect place for me … which unfortunately doesn’t get released from construction until late February or early March.

I still needed to get out of my current apartment, though, because of an ending lease. Fortunately, the timing worked out so one of the team houses had a vacancy for me, so today, I moved over my stuff into a free bedroom in our team house, for the fourth move in 14 months.

So yes, logically, this means that I will be moving for a fifth time in under 1.5 years once my new apartment in Las Vegas is ready. But as a result of my tedious, detail-oriented focus on picking out my next place to live, I think I’ll be staying in this particular apartment building in Las Vegas long-term (or at least until I purchase my own property).

It’s been an interesting year and a half with a whole lot of moves, but I’m glad I did it – it’s not something I would otherwise do, and forcing myself into these new and different situations is always a great learning experience.




The YouTube Partner Program needs to be more exclusive again

Back when YouTube was still young, being a YouTube Partner actually meant something. Not only did it allow you to add custom thumbnails and a header to your YouTube channel (back when it was more customizable), it also allowed you to make money off your videos. The only way you would be allowed to make money off your videos if it they were even worth monetizing – so being a YouTube Partner acted as validation for a lot of people.

Then, for some reason, YouTube opened up its “Partner” program to … pretty much everyone. Anybody was basically able to create a YouTube channel, verify that they’re a real person, then start “making money” off the videos right off the bat. There was no build-up process to ensure that YouTube partnership was actually a prestigious title given to only reputable creators.

Two days ago, YouTube posted an update on their Creator Blog titled “Additional changes to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) to better protect creators.” In this blog post, they said that they will be limiting access to the Partner Program only to channels with over 1,000 subscribers and over 4,000 hours of watchtime in the past year.

When I read this, I was pretty excited. It seemed like YouTube was going back to ensuring that their Partner Program is actually a real special program, and not just something build straight into the “base version” of YouTube. However, after reading the comments on the post and look at people’s responses on social media, I was a bit confused at how much outrage there was about this change.

I personally stopped uploading to YouTube a while back because I didn’t agree with YouTube’s visions on their website. I hated how little it seemed like they cared about their creators, with strange policies like opening up partnership and monetization to the general public being one of many contributing factors. Because of that, I haven’t really been keeping up with the newest updates to YouTube, but based off what I know, there are a few reasons why most of the people complaining about this change are wrong.

  • This protects creators from losing out on money because of people reuploading their videos. Back when I was more deeply involved in YouTube, a big problem that came up with popular creators is that people would just rip videos off the creator’s channel and steal it for their own, brand new channel. This was a no-risk maneuver because they could just create a new channel and instantly be able to monetize content if a different channel got banned.
  • People who have fewer than 1,000 subscribers and less than 4,000 hours of watchtime per YEAR should not even be trying to make money from YouTube. This requirement isn’t actually that high, and I sort of wish YouTube had set the bar a little bit higher. A majority of people who are enrolled in monetization are most likely making less than single-digit dollars per year, and I personally think it’s not even worth it for Google AdSense to be even keeping track of these people’s money. It’s easy for people to pretend like they’re “YouTubers,” but it’s time to snap out of it and realize that vlogging as a hobby to just friends doesn’t make them a YouTuber.
  • Real creators are probably going to start making more money. YouTube has been rampant with completely random and unjustified demonetization on perfectly acceptable videos, so they need all the money they can get. By guaranteeing to advertisers that their ads will be displayed on videos from reputable channels, rather than completely random videos from insignificant, single-digit-subscriber channels, advertisers are more likely to want to invest more money, because they know their ads will have a greater impact than before.

This isn’t enough to bring me back to regularly uploading to my own YouTube channel (although I obviously will be uploading on my employer’s channels as part of my job). However, if YouTube continues to take these kinds of steps to actually make sure real creators are being protected and filtering out those who just abuse the system, I may reconsider in the future.




This restaurant is way too expensive

You might’ve seen from yesterday that I went out with some of Tempo Storm’s professional gamers to an indoor rock climbing facility. After we wrapped that up, we went out to get some dinner at a restaurant the manager picked – a Japanese grill called Shin-Sen-Gumi. Because this was his event that he coordinated and put together for his players, I went along with it … and soon realized that he had picked out a peculiarly expensive restaurant.

The prices were somewhat deceptive – the portion sizes were surprisingly small, some of which literally only came with three bites of meat for US$8.50.





The final bill came out to be over US$382 for a party of five. After clarifying with the manager that I was absolutely not the one who had picked out this restaurant, I wished him the best of luck in justifying his choice of restaurant when submitting his company reimbursement.




Why does Google Flights think Basic Economy is the same as Economy?

Budget airlines like Spirit and Frontier have been a lot more successful than anyone would have imagined – apparently people are ok with giving up every possible aspect of comfort in exchange for the lowest ticket price possible. As a result of this, leading airline brands in the United States, like Amer­i­can Airlines and United Airlines, have also implemented a budget system by creating a new class of service called Basic Economy.

In a flying sense, it’s the same as regular Economy; the difference isn’t like how first class is separated from the rest of the plane in domestic flights. But, the process leading up to the actual flight is drastically different – you can’t bring carry-on luggage, you have to pay extra fees for everything, you board the plane last, and you get assigned your seat (instead of picking it ahead of time at booking/check-in).

I’m going to be going on a trip soon, so I’ve been looking at airline prices. Even though I’m pretty loyal to oneworld and only fly American Airlines, I still want to do some price comparisons to see if it’s worth flying with another airline for one trip and foregoing adding to my frequent flyer balance. I think Google Flights is a great tool to use to do that, so I browse it pretty frequently.

One thing that’s been irritating me about Google Flights lately is how they’ve integrated Basic Economy into their search results, but haven’t actually separated it from the rest of the classes of travel. They have Economy, Premium Economy, Business, and First Class, but no Basic Economy (under which I would assume Spirit Airlines and other no-amenity airlines would fall).

Google Flights

Because of that, I often run into situations where I search for a flight and get really excited when I see that American Airlines and United Airlines are offering Economy flights that are somehow the same price as Spirit Airlines. I eagerly click on my preferred oneworld airline to book…

Google Flights

… only to find that, even though Google Flights hasn’t im­ple­mented Basic Economy vs. Economy filtering in the search field, they have, in fact, im­ple­mented it in the actual ticket purchase page. So, when I go to actually buy the ticket, there is a new drop-down menu that magically appears that now does actually have that distinction in place … and wants to charge me an extra US$28 to upgrade to Economy – the class of service I was looking for in the first place.

Google Flights

I’d imagine that this is likely an issue with budget airlines like Spirit and Frontier getting permanently relegated to Basic Economy status on all their flights, and they wouldn’t be too happy about that, but I feel like this is a pretty important quality-of-life feature that Google Flights should look into implementing in the search function from the beginning.

In the meantime, this price is still pretty good, and it looks like I’ll be headed to Chicago in a few weeks for just around US$100.




This is not a New Year’s resolution

I made a New Year’s resolution over a decade ago that I would never have another New Year’s resolution.

I haven’t broken it since.

I know that New Year’s resolutions are more of a cultural, social thing – this is because I’m regularly told by Easterners that New Year’s resolutions are generally a Western thing. And this doesn’t mean that I’m against that – if people want to use New Year’s resolutions as a way to turn their lives around, then that’s great, and I encourage everyone to do so.

But there are two distinct problems with New Year’s resolutions in my eyes. The first (and more straightforward) one is that people just don’t really know how to properly use New Year’s resolutions. I recall seeing in a study somewhere that literally nearly 90% of people fail their New Year’s resolutions. Issues range anywhere from setting goals that are way too far beyond reach, not really keeping track of progress and forgetting about it, to just straight-up disregarding it and giving up. The impact of a big turning point, like a new calendar year, can be a strong psychological motivating factor … and people are just using this tool wrong.

The second reason I dislike New Year’s resolutions is because I’m a person who does things now. Need to exercise more often and eat healthier? What’s wrong with starting in April, instead of waiting for January of the following year? Want to break out of a bad habit? Why not start now instead of waiting until later? New Year’s resolutions have become nothing more than an excuse to procrastinate for some people. I’m very lenient in the use of the term “excuse,” in that I will generally accept things as a “reason” while other people snap to misuse the word “excuse.” But this… this is the epitome of an excuse.

Back in late August while I was visiting Illinois, I went to my old doctor for a wellness check-up, and he reminded me to go back to doing cardiovascular exercise. I used to practice martial arts and sweat almost every day, but since moving to California, I’ve been doing a whole lot of sitting around and working. Instead of waiting until 2018, I took that opportunity to immediately start exercising when I returned to California. I’ll be taking a two-week break starting from today, though… I don’t really like exercising when there are a lot of people around me, and I imagine the gym is going to be really crowded for a little while, so I’m going to wait it out for a bit until people go back to being their normal selves.

There’s something that I want to do. The timing of this makes it seem a whole lot like it’s a New Year’s resolution, but I swear, it’s not. (I still want to be part of that 10% of people who succeed in their New Year’s resolution—as a reminder, mine was to never to set a New Year’s resolution again, and to always act promptly and immediately.)

At least for the next full year, I’d like to create something everyday.

On some days, it might be a vlog; on other days, it might be an album of photos I shot at an event; on special days, it might even be collaborative projects with other people that end up getting published on their medium of choice. But, no matter what it is, I’d like to create something on a daily basis.

When I was younger, I prided myself in being a creator instead of a consumer. While other people were watching TV, I was running around with our family camcorder. While other people were reading books, I was writing short stories. While other people were browsing the web, I was learning how to script in PHP.

Lately, I’ve noticed that this has been trending in the opposite direction – I spend more and more time sitting around watching Twitch streams and YouTube videos. Even when I am working on something creative, I’m revising and editing someone else’s work instead of creating my own. Of course, part of my job at Tempo Storm involves being an editor, so that’s not going to stop, but I’d also like to start supplementing my editing with some more original creating.

I’m not going to fall into the same trap as everyone else and fail in just a few weeks. Here’s why this is a good definitely-not-a-resolution, as well as my execution plan.

  • Is it realistic?

    Creating one thing per day is very possible, and there are tons of people who already do it, daily vloggers being an example. We regularly hear of daily vloggers getting burnt out after a few years, though, which is why I’ve made some slight adjustments to my goal – instead of creating a vlog every single day, I’m just going to create something every single day. That level of flexibility should keep things fresh enough that I don’t im­me­diately get burnt out and want to give up.

  • Do I have the time for this?

    I’ve been noticing lately that I spend a scary amount of time sitting around watching other people’s content, thinking “I should try doing that” in the back of my mind but never actually doing it. I can easily cut back on a small portion of that time to actually go and do it, instead of just pondering about doing it.

    On top of that, my duties within Tempo Storm have recently shifted substantially. Over the past year, I was doing a lot of miscellaneous administrative and operative work outside of the production division, simply because we just needed someone to take care of things. Although it was a great learning experience, due to our recent growth and staff expansion, I can now be more hands-off on that kind of stuff and really focus in on my digital media production division, which naturally connects to creating more things.

  • How will I keep track of progress?

    I happen to have a handy tool called a blog where I can share my thoughts and projects. Every time I create something, I’ll be posting the results on my blog along with a bit of commentary about the creation process. If I end up deciding to create something private or personal on any given day (that doesn’t end up on my website), I’m also keeping track of my creations on Google Calendar, which I use multiple times a day.

  • What are my short-term rewards for success?

    I think successfully creating things is intrinsically rewarding to me.

    But, other than that, this one is a tough one, and I guess is the weakest facet of my plan. I personally don’t really feel satisfaction from receiving “rewards” unless those rewards are either money or some indication that I’ve changed the world or helped society advance – both things I just can’t really “give” myself.

And finally, touching on a few other common pitfalls – my goal is extremely specific, and any amount of ambiguity was intentionally added (and already addressed above); I plan on setting aside time to do this every afternoon after exercising if my daily creation is not event- or collaboration-related; I will keep going, even if I were to miss a day; and I’m telling the world so people can voluntarily keep me accountable.

So let’s see how this goes.