This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Los Angeles • As many Los Angeles residents agonized about Carmageddon traffic conditions, an estimated 150 JetBlue passengers worried whether there would be enough time to turn on their iPods in their short hop from Long Beach to Burbank.
In light of the San Diego (405) Freeway closure, JetBlue offered two round trips between Bob Hope and Long Beach airports on Saturday at $4 each way, including taxes and fees. Or $5 for a seat upgrade with more room.
Flights sold out about two hours after tickets were made available at noon Wednesday.
The airline's shortest-ever scheduled flight lasted about 20 minutes in the air, with the Airbus A320 cruising at 5,000 feet compared with an average altitude of 35,000 feet for most commercial flights.
Almost a mile above Los Angeles, passengers peered down at an empty 405, the Mulholland Bridge demolition project and the Queen Mary, leaving no time to enjoy in-flight entertainment on personal touch-screen monitors.
"We know it's a little bit ridiculous, but we're ridiculous people," said C.J. Powers of Los Angeles, who flew with four friends to Long Beach for the day.
With a 2-foot-long cake adorned in a frosted "405" logo, catered hors d'oeuvres and a sea of balloons, the journeys between Burbank and Long Beach became an extravagant airway celebration rather than a strategy for avoiding traffic.
For a few families, the trip represented the opportunity to take their children on an airplane for the first time.
"My son has been wanting to go on a plane for a couple years now," said Raul Ramirez, a West Hills resident who took his 5-year-old son, Andrew, on the Long Beach-Burbank flight. "This is the perfect opportunity; you can't beat the fare, at four dollars each way."
For Justin Bychek and Jean Christophe Dick, who are airport designers, it was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to look down at the Sepulveda Pass.
"It's not all the time that you can fly literally 20 minutes in and out," said Dick, who is also a pilot by hobby.
Wolfpack Hustle, a bicyclists group based in Los Angeles, proved the flights did not necessarily save time in bypassing traffic because travel minutes included ground transportation and time spent getting though security.
Six Wolfpack Hustle cyclists raced against two other members who flew from Burbank to Long Beach. Both teams left from Cahuenga and Chandler boulevards at 10:50 a.m.
The bikers arrived exactly one hour and one minute before their airborne counterparts to Shoreline Aquatic Park in Long Beach.
Most passengers aboard JetBlue's flight 405 were simply looking for an adventure, rather than to beat traffic.
"We're out here enjoying the day in Long Beach," said Don Ward of Wolfpack Hustle, one of six cyclists who traveled to the Long Beach Aquarium in just over an hour.