Would you trade in your LIRR train ticket to Jamaica station for a plane ticket to the island of Jamaica?
On a cold day in mid-December when temperatures dipped below 30 degrees, JetBlue gave 15 lucky commuters the chance to do just that.
The airline, partnering with the Jamaica Tourist Board, set up a display at Jamaica station, complete with sand, beach chairs and palm trees. As commuters hurried past, two representatives invited people to kick up their feet and relax by space heaters.
“In Jamaica, it’s 85 degrees. You wouldn’t need to be wearing all of that,” one of the giveaway’s representatives said to a bundled-up commuter in a video posted to Facebook.
In the video, the two hosts take turns playing a set of bongo drums and dancing with passersby, before asking commuters to see their train tickets.
“How would you like to trade in this train ticket for a plane ticket to Jamaica?” a representative asks, before JetBlue flight attendants run up to unsuspecting commuters and tell them they’ve won a flight.
The winners, who ended up also keeping their train tickets, received air and hotel fare from JetBlue to Montego Bay, spokesman Morgan Johnston, said.
Jennifer Malatesta of Brooklyn, was on her way to visit a friend in Long Beach when the display caught her eye, she said.
“In typical New York fashion, I had my head down and my earphones in and sort of did a doubletake when I saw this big stand with drums and flags and sand,” she said. “I’m used to seeing weird things in train stations, but I was wondering what was going on.”
Malatesta, 40, struck up a conversation with the hosts before they presented her with the offer.
“When they asked me, I just went silent. I didn’t hand over my ticket right away and asked them what the catch was,” said Malatesta, who has never traveled to the Caribbean island. “Then the stewardesses walked over. I think I was just in shock.”
Malatesta said she’s planning to visit Montego Bay with her husband in March.
A Long Islander on the airline’s promotions team who “changes at Jamaica” to reach JetBlue’s Long Island City office came up with the idea for the promotion a few years ago, Johnston said.
“They had really wanted to do something like this for a while because, especially in the middle of winter, everyone on that platform is probably thinking about trying to get away,” Johnston said.