NEW YORK – A week ago, I had the opportunity to do something I’d always wanted to do – go airside at JFK. While it was only to look at a single aircraft, seeing the airport I grew up flying out of from such a different perspective was quite the experience.

The brand new Airbus A220, the first of 60 to be delivered to JetBlue, was a symbol of growth and healing for an industry that has struggled so much in the past year. The enthusiasm I saw from the few JetBlue employees I saw (from ground crew, maintenance staff and corporate employees) was a refreshing change to the current climate.

While normally, a new aircraft unveiling would take the form of a giant press event with lots of glitz and glamour, the ongoing pandemic confined it to a scaled-down version with lots of masks and abundant social distancing.

The 30 minutes I had to tour the aircraft became an extravaganza of photographing the aircraft’s exterior and interior from as many angles as possible. As you can imagine, photographing all of the fine details in a plane can be a difficult task. Our readers rightfully expect expert analysis on everything about planes from the type of outlets installed on the aircraft to the different elements of the cockpit.

Exterior Photos

Though there are any number of elements that go into taking photos, strangely, the main challenge that I encountered was the fog in my viewfinder due to the mask I was wearing. When taking closeups, I had to rely on my mirrorless camera’s electronic viewfinder and trust the aircraft’s natural photogenic angles to output a quality product.

The Head of Product Development at JetBlue, who was explaining different features of the aircraft, remarked that anything they added to the aircraft would be uplifted by the aircraft’s design – I could certainly see how that was true.

As an ‘AvGeek’ (the term coined to describe aviation enthusiasts like myself), stepping foot in the massive cockpit of the Airbus A220 was a surreal experience. The last time I had been in a cockpit of a commercial plane was in an E170 10 years ago, so seeing the many electronic panels up close was a bit of a surprise.

I was expecting the cockpit of the narrow-body aircraft to be small and quite a squeeze, but there was lots of extra room in the cockpit to move around.

It was clear to me that the cockpit was designed with ergonomics at the forefront. Everything was clearly laid out, with the signature Airbus look.

The Flight Deck

Photos by Kochan Kleps: Be sure to read the full article detailing my tour of the new aircraft: