Do you buy into the company or the sector? Clearly, most will side with the former, though it's impossible to ignore the latter. There's no denying that JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ:JBLU) is toiling in one of the most unforgiving industries. It's so dreary that Southwest (NYSE:LUV), the 20th century darling in the airline space, is trading essentially where it was five years ago.

Even Berkshire Hathaway's (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) Warren Buffett has sworn off airline stocks after getting burned by investing in USAir -- now US Airways (NASDAQ:UAIR) -- in 1989. Joking that the air carriers have taken one step forward for mankind but one leap backward for capitalism, by Buffett's account, it has been a net destroyer of wealth.

But now you have a company like JetBlue that has had a few good years of reinventing the wheel. It has overcome its sector's shortcomings to produce respectable results and heady growth, and earn a worthy Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter recommendation.

After admiring the company from afar for years, I took my first two JetBlue flights this month. I was impressed. Both treks -- even a redeye on Sunday night out of the tiny Long Beach airport -- found few, if any, empty seats.

JetBlue can be contagious. I can't fathom taking another cross-country flight without the comfort of the leather seats, the legroom, the wide range of snacks, and the entertainment. That last point can't be emphasized enough. The airline offers live DirecTV (NYSE:DTV) programming; it's refreshing to see that kind of considerate opulence in a discount carrier.

JetBlue knows it, too. That's why it was a hoot to see passengers waiting to board rival carriers wince when the JetBlue boarding announcements advised passengers to grab their headsets on the way in so they could enjoy the 24 channels of televised content. Guess where those envious sky travelers will turn for their next flight? You've got to love it when a simple public terminal announcement can do the marketing work of a fleet of missionaries. One can only imagine what will happen when XM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:XMSR) hooks up JetBlue passengers with digital radio.

Here's to higher ground.

It's not just JetBlue putting up a good product at a low price these days. What do you think of the other bargain carriers? Where do you find the best rates? All this and more in the Cheap Air Fares discussion board. Only on

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz can't recall eating blue potato chips at 30,000 feet before. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story.