August 30, 2012

Wingwoman Tracy: Kiss Summer Goodbye With These Fall-tastic Travel Ideas

While most end of summer vacations focus on soaking up the last rays of August sun, my favorite Labor Day trip embraced the fall and took me straight into the great outdoors smack-dab in the center of the city that never sleeps — New York City’s Central Park.

I arrived in the city early Friday morning, just as it was emptying out for the long weekend and headed directly to Central Park. I rented a bicycle and covered the entire park. Of course I made sure to visit my favorite spots, Bow Bridge and Belvedere Castle. I lounged in the green fields, soaking up the sun as the urban oasis with its crisp air and blue skies eased me into the changing season.

Autumn is my favorite time for short weekend or day escapes. So many towns have seasonal celebrations from craft and farmer’s markets to state fairs and sprawling corn mazes. These day- or weekend-long festivals are such a lovely way to take in the sights, sounds and tastes of fall from snacking on locally grown veggies to activities like pumpkin and apple picking to music and petting zoos. These autumnal celebrations are great for the whole family, but they aren’t just children’s play! Night hayrides with bonfires and drinks are a great way to get outdoors and celebrate the season grown-up style!

If you are looking for an easy weekend-long retreat, cities along the East Coast are wonderful fall destinations. If you have children in college, why not take an extra day or two for yourselves during parents’ weekend? Massachusetts, Washington, D.C. and Virginia have so many universities and such important histories. Education, travel and history are perfect pairings. Exploring historic sites and learning more about a location’s past really heightens your appreciation of a place and its culture, and creates lasting memories.

Even if you are not visiting a college town, the East Coast offers great fall destinations, especially in early September. The travel crowds disperse after Labor Day, and hotel prices and airfares drop significantly. Plus, the summer hustle and bustle has quieted, cities are less crowded, flights are less packed and you can take a plane ride to a little slice of heaven and have New England beaches almost all to yourself. It’s a great time to travel with children as well, since it is so much easier to keep sight of them in smaller crowds.

Short fall jaunts come with yet another travel perk: packing light! No need to worry about fitting multiple outfits and shoes in your carry-on for a weekend escape. Just remember to bring layers since that brisk fall air may require a jacket or sweater.

Great historical sites and activities to check out this fall:

Virginia:

DC:

Massachusetts

While many travelers use Labor Day weekend as their last summer getaway, a final fling with sand and sea, you can opt to skip the crowded beaches and high-priced hotels. Instead, I sometimes visit cities, friends and family or even stay home and entertain. Firing up the grill for a backyard BBQ or hosting potluck supper with family and friends, saves travel time and travel-induced stress and money. Enjoying local sights and visiting with family and friends is a great, relaxing way to spend time together before schedules shift and the school year begins.

Don’t be fooled, though. I’m not a homebody by any means. Obviously, I love to travel — crisscrossing the country, I love boarding the plane each time — and the fall is a perfect time for an escape with the entire family or a smaller getaway, whether it is romantic or with friends.

Embrace the new season, get outdoors, travel light and enjoy all that fall has to offer! Follow me on Twitter (@Wingwoman_Tracy) for more fall travel tips or to share your favorite fall activities!

Read Tracy’s previous columns: The Wind Beneath Your Wings: Giving Lift To Your Perfect Summer Trip, Snorkeling, Rum Punch and Beyond: Top Spring Break Spots and How A Kiwi Led To My Biggest Airport Snafu

Learn more about our Wingwoman Tracy

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August 26, 2012

Oakland KaBOOM! Build A Success!

More than 300 volunteers from as far as England came to help build our 15th playground with our partners at KaMOOM! and a dozen other playground structures for the students of Oakland’s Community School for Creative Education.

Everyone pitched in to build, organize and clean. The KaBOOM! team had organization and logistics down to a science. Crewmembers from different cities and departments and even JetBlue pilot, Captain Russ showed up to help. All the General Managers from all the Bay Area cities, San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco and Sacramento came early and stayed late to finish their projects. It was specially fun to watch SFO’s GM, Ken get covered in concrete dust as they mixed it for some of the play structure’s foundation.

KPFA DJ, Jose Ruiz set up his gear at 7am. He got there early and full of jokes. He and DJ Scott Manley played throughout the day. Music made the task lighter and time fly faster; their music selection was worldly, fun and upbeat.

Joi Glass from High Street’s 24-hour fitness did not disappoint. She had the volunteers’ adrenaline going before the building started and to get everyone stretched and limber for the day’s work.

People from the community, school, all walks of life and great distances came to help each other and create a good environment for kids. Everybody was dirty, sweaty yet smiling and laughing knowing that their contribution, no matter how big or small, will leave an indelible mark in the future of the school and its students.

Perhaps best summarized by CSCE’s principal, Becky Westbrook, in her speech during the ribbon-cutting ceremony, with her voice cracking, her eyes swelling with tears she thanked everyone from the bottom of her heart and ended that, “it’s all for the kids.”

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August 18, 2012

Building Our 15th Playground With KaBOOM!

We’re proud to announce a partnership with the Community School for Creative Education and KaBOOM! to build our next playground in Oakland, CA today. We’ve worked with our long-standing partner KaBOOM! over the last seven years to build playgrounds for children across our network. The playground location was determined in February by our customers who were invited to vote on the next playground location on our Facebook page. The Bay Area was the lucky winner and will have a brand new park this summer, the 15th playground built through the partnership and the third in California.

As the funding partner for this build, JetBlue volunteers and community residents will work side-by-side to create a new playground for the children of the Community School for Creative Education. This will be our second playground built in California this year and record fourth playground built in 2012 (Long Beach, CA; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Boston, MA: San Francisco, CA; and New York, NY). In seven years, JetBlue and KaBOOM! have built 15 playgrounds, engaged more than 3,000 volunteers and served more than 8,000 children every year by providing a safe place to play.

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August 15, 2012

Boston Pilots Teach Students About Careers in Aviation

Each year, the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) partners with the FAA to conduct multiple weeklong Aviation Career Education programs across the nation, and a few of our Boston pilots got involved recently. They volunteered for a week to run a Youth Aviation Camp in St. Thomas. At the camp, they taught high school students about careers in aviation, ranging from air traffic control and flying a plane, to the Coast Guard and airport management.

The week began with lectures on the history of aviation, the Tuskegee Airmen, aerodynamics, and the OBAP. The TSA even gave a presentation to the students, who left the various seminars with a real feel for general aviation terminology, navigation and most importantly—preparations for the actual flights they would be performing that week!

For many, this was the first time they would be in a C-172, let alone fly one. They were briefed on JetBlue’s operations, and had the opportunity to step inside one of our E190 aircraft to speak with members of our Flight and Inflight crews.

First Officer Randall coordinated a surprise for the students—a flyby from the Coast Guard’s Air Station from Borinquen, Puerto Rico. The team took the students on a tour of a Dolphin Helicopter, while explaining what it takes to be in the Coast Guard.

Read more about the aviation camp here.

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August 8, 2012

Help From Some Small Experts for Our 15th Playground Build

We teamed up with our long-time partners Kaboom! and children from Oakland’s Community School for Creative Education for “design day” on our first Bay Area playground build, which will be later this month.  Our team, composed of crewmembers from our Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Jose stations, joined the important and fun first step in the playground’s development.

We were impressed with the kids’ creativity as the students let their imaginations run wild during the design session.  After the crayons were set aside, students presented their individual designs in front of everyone.  Kaboom! coordinator, Kristin’s experience with kids and volunteers kept the day’s agenda in order.  After the presentation and sticker awards, parents and volunteers from the school along with JetBlue crewmembers were divided into nine committees.  The committees’ task included overseeing logistics, acquiring tools, safety, partnership generation, fundraising and volunteer recruitment.  The preparation for the actual playground build is an eight-week process culminating on August 18 at 2111 International Blvd in Oakland, CA.  Stay tuned for more!

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June 27, 2012

Kicking Off the Summer with Our Second Annual Soar with Reading Initiative!

School’s out for summer but learning is always in with the launch of our second annual Soar with Reading program,  the award-winning initiative with our partners at PBS Kids that places age-appropriate books in the hands of children in need and helps keep kids reading throughout the summer months.  The JetBlue  network-wide initiative officially kicked off today in Boston at the BCYF Tobin Community Center in Mission Hill, a facility within the Boston Centers for Youth & Families, the city’s largest youth and human services agency providing city residents with opportunities for social, educational, recreational and cultural enrichment. Children at the center today were treated to a special performance by PBS KIDS host Mr. Steve, shook paws with PBS KIDS’ Hooper, enjoyed a reading by Barefoot Books author Laurie Krebs and took home a supply of reading materials published by program partner Barefoot Books, all designed to spark imagination and curiosity.

Soar with Reading aims to inspire every child, everywhere, to get excited about reading by providing free resources for families at SoarwithReading.com, including an interactive reading list, reading tips and expert advice for keeping kids engaged in literature all summer long.

While on the website, adults can help get books into the hands of kids in need across the country by simply sharing the name of their favorite children’s title.  For every submission received, JetBlue will donate an age-appropriate book to a deserving child through partner Barefoot Books. Donations will be made to local literacy-focused organizations identified in partnership with PBS member stations in the 71 cities that we currently serve.  As a special thank you, all adults, including parents, teachers and administrators, who share their favorite book titles on the Soar with Reading site can also be entered into a sweepstakes to win great prizes, including a JetBlue Getaways vacation package.

Up to $200,000 in books will be distributed to children in need through the 2012 Soar with Reading program, and you can help us achieve that goal by visiting SoarWithReading.com today. When you share, kids soar. As part of the program, children flying with us this summer can receive a free activity booklet with literacy based PBS KIDS games.  With help from PBS KIDS’ popular animated host Hooper, the games and other activities encourage kids to learn about the world around them through reading.

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June 24, 2012

JetBlue Takes Time With Tots

Our College of System Operations crewmembers recently visited the Orlando Day Nursery, where children ages 1-12 learn skills through educational play opportunities. In collaboration with the Heart of Florida, central Florida’s largest supporter of local health and human service agencies, our team spent time reading, painting, and singing to the children. All children, regardless of situation, are welcomed at the nursery.

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June 10, 2012

Happy Puerto Rican Pride!

The 55th Annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade is today in New York City, and we’re proud to once again be the sponsor of this cultural celebration in our hometown! The parade was established to spread awareness of Puerto Rican culture, and honor the nearly four million people living in the Commonwealth, as well as the over four million U.S. inhabitants of Puerto Rican birth or heritage. Since we’re the largest carrier in the Commonwealth, and the fastest growing airline in San Juan, we’re excited to be a part of parade day!

Our crewmembers in front of our new terminal in San Juan

The first parade took place in 1958 in Spanish Harlem, and in 1995 it officially became the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc. (NPRDP), a 501 c3 organization. The NPRDP’s mission is to empower the Puerto Rican community through promoting economic, education, social, and environmental initiatives and developments. Instilling self-worth and pride among members is important to NPRDP, and it passionately communicates business, government, and industry achievements.

Check out the latest on JetBlue and Puerto Rico

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June 6, 2012

June is National Safety Month

June is National Safety Month—recognizing our number one value, safety! National Safety Month is an initiative of the National Safety Council, with the goal of encouraging safe behaviors and increasing education about preventable injuries – in the workplace, in our homes, in our communities or even on the road!

We’ll be sharing information with our crewmembers and creating dialogue throughout the month around themes of safe practices on the job, including employee wellness and ergonomics, among other topics. Safety is our number one value and our central focus with our crewmembers, customers and operations!

Wishing everyone a very safe day, month, and beyond!

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May 26, 2012

JetBlue Crewmember Wins American Society of Industrial Security Award

This past week, our Manager Security Training Sam was honored by a local chapter American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS), an organization that is committed to the education of security professionals. The ASIS Central Florida Chapter presented Sam with the 2012 Annual Law Enforcement Award for Lifetime Achievement.

As Manager Security Training, Sam plays an important role in developing and refreshing the course curriculum to keep our crewmembers engaged in the material. He collaborates with JetBlue University to ensure that the learning experience is up to par, and his extensive professional experience makes him an asset across the company.

Sam brings his extensive background in security and law enforcement to JetBlue. received the U.S. Attorney General’s National Leadership Award in 2009 for his work in enhancing the working relationships between local, state, and federal law enforcement in Central Florida, as it pertains to fighting organized crime and supporting the Drug Enforcement Task Force.

 

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