In-flight: The JetBlue Mint experience


A new era was launched today as JetBlue Mint took to the skies. The 9:30am departure on Sunday morning from JFK to Los Angeles is the first time the carrier has flown with a premium cabin. Welcome on board the inaugural flight!

The JetBlue Mint cabin as seen from seat 4F
The JetBlue Mint cabin as seen from seat 4F

The staggered seating arrangement offers up 16 flat bed seats in the forward cabin; four of the seats are “mini-suites” with a door to provide additional privacy. The door doesn’t really do much in terms of blocking others out – it is too low to hide behind – but the single seat still has an incredible amount of space available. The seat itself is wide and long and then there is the shelf on the window side and the storage on the aisle side. For the solo traveler it is likely the most spacious and private business class offering in the premium transcon market.

A JetBlue Mint mini-suite seat
A JetBlue Mint mini-suite seat

JetBlue worked hard to tie the product to its New York City roots and that shows most in the meal service. The main courses are curated by Saxon + Parole (Manhattan-based) while the sorbet at dessert is from Blue Marble, a Brooklyn-based shop. And keeping with their tradition of doing things a bit differently the meal is presented, well, differently.

First up, shortly after take-off, an amuse bouche and beverage (I had the Mint signature drink, a honey-infused lemonade with a sprig of fresh mint on top; vodka is optional according to the flight attendants but I think that should just be a “yes” every time):

The main meal is set up somewhat tapas-style. Rather than just choosing a main course passengers have a menu of five options, three hot and two cold. Pick any three to make up your meal.

My brunch meal choices on the JetBlue Mint inaugural flight
My brunch meal choices on the JetBlue Mint inaugural flight

I’ve only had the brunch meal (twice now) and the food actually has flavor beyond just salty. The bacon is smoky (best bacon I’ve had in the air) while the watermelon was juicy and sweet. The French toast with figs was VERY sweet but also actually tasted like French toast, not just fried bread. I’d like to see jam for the croissant but otherwise no complaints at all on the selections available (Musli and the S+P signature chive & cheese biscuit are the other two on the menu right now), the quality of the food or the flavors. And, while I’ve heard a few say it looks too small, it was plenty of food for me. They also have the regular snacks blue chips, etc.) and a fresh fruit basket available during the flight if you get hungry.

Dessert was served shortly after the main meal: fruit and sorbet. I paired it with a glass of the sparkling wine which is simple but quite nice.

And then I took advantage of the extra-long bed to lay down for a nap.

The foot-well gets a bit narrow in the single seat; it feels a bit wider on the doubles (I didn’t measure). But it also felt a bit wider this time around versus my prior tests of the seat. Or maybe it is because I bothered to take my shoes off this time since I actually went to sleep. The pillow was reasonably supportive and the blanket comfy; both had small Mint touches included. A sleep kit – eye-mask and earplugs – was also provided.

I woke about 90 minutes later to find the crew handing out presents on board. First up was the amenity kit, a 5-piece selection from Birch Box specially curated for JetBlue Mint. There are options for men or women with different goodies inside and JetBlue says they’ll change up the selections every now and then to keep things fresh. It is decidedly not your typical toothbrush and comb kit. And that’s a definite plus to me; I’ve seen far too many traditional amenity kits at this point.

There was also a special gift on offer for the Mint inaugural flight, a 10″ Cocoon Grid-IT case specially labeled for Mint. And I’m giving it away to a reader. Just leave a comment below and I’ll pick a winner on Friday at noon EDT and send it on over. (Prize has been awarded; thanks for playing!)

And, finally, a brownie & shortbread box to go. I ate mine on-board but it can also go home with you.

On the IFEC front the new LiveTV system puts a large, crisp screen on offer with an upgraded interface as well. The software is pretty snappy and a significant step up from the old version. There are still improvements to come, including making it touch-screen capable (there is a controller in the arm rest) and hopefully adding closed captioning to the movies; the DirecTV feed has closed captioning available today on all channels. The screen does not pivot which makes it hard to watch TV while lying down and the movies are not on-demand. Two relatively small nits to pick, but worth noting as it does affect the experience.

The aircraft does have the FlyFi internet service which was spectacularly fast throughout the flight for me. There were a total of 84 connected devices by the end of the flight and at the half-way point it was 71 devices and 4.5 gigabytes of data consumed. Pretty impressive numbers, especially considering the service quality remained solid. I was connected remotely to some servers on the ground doing my day job for a couple hours and it was clear that I wasn’t there in person but still very responsive. Definitely good enough that I could consider it a work environment. And that was the free version.

The seat controller is also a bit limited. Not so much that I couldn’t get the seat where I wanted it to be, but there isn’t a direct control over the back recline. Instead you tweak it with the landing/upright, relax and bed buttons and then adjust the leg rest to be where you want. It is a bit of a strange setup, but I did eventually manage to make it work the way I wanted to I’m not too frustrated.

And then there’s the part where the flights are actually affordable. Not in the I’m going to be paying for this every time I fly level, but definitely in the I can afford to do this for a splurge every now and then ballpark. The starting price is $599 one-way and the refundable fare tops out at $999 right now. The mini-suite seat is just part of the Mint cabin so no difference in fare to get that, though the limited inventory means you need to pay attention to seat assignments to make it work. I paid for my own ticket on the flight, though I did get a bit of help from JetBlue at the last minute to switch from a trip later in the week to a seat which opened up on the first flight.

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The product is not perfect, to be sure. None of the transcon premium cabin offerings are. I think that the JetBlue Mint product is very, very competitive across the board, better than the competition in some areas and trailing in others. No lounge access might be a problem for some passengers, for example; I don’t mind at all given the limited value of the lounge offerings. But given the very competitive hard and soft product – plus the part where the fares are way lower – it seems that for many customers this is the sweet spot in the price/service matrix. Of course, with corporate contracts and such many transcon flyers don’t pay the published fares, but the numbers from JetBlue are still having a significant impact on the market. And that sort of competition should yield very good results for passengers.

Lots more photos on SmugMug, Facebook or Google+.

Other coverage of the new service/inaugural flight:

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

73 Comments

  1. Thanks for the review Seth. For those of us who no longer have the option to earn miles the old fashioned way (by flying!) nor wish to play the credit card game, having a viable option for upgraded services at a reasonable price is most welcome. Nice to know what to expect when this service, hopefully, begins out of Boston next year.

  2. sigh, nice, but still not worth connecting from DC (except for novelty), from which I can so many non-premium transcon options.

  3. I do need to try this product. Price point is perfect and product looks good. Thanks for the report.

  4. Excellent review — the Mint signature drink looks especially good. Really looks like this is a sweet spot in terms of pricing and service for transcon. Maybe it’ll push the bigger carriers to up their game or lower their prices?

  5. Loved your review! Since they had directv, were you able to watch the World Cup live? Also, how were the bathrooms? Was there one that only Mint passengers can use or were the restrooms open to everyone?
    I hope to be able to fly Mint someday but you’re right that the price point is within reach for the average traveler.
    As for not having any lounges, I am ok with that since JFK Terminal 5 is quite new and sleek compared to the other terminals there.

    1. 1) I watched the footie on Univision because LiveTV still doesn’t have ABC. GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!

      2) There is a lav at the forward boarding door which is theoretically Mint-only. There is also one just behind the Mint cabin which is shared.

      I’m OK with no lounges because they generally suck, but maybe that’s just me.

  6. Thanks for the review! Now that the mileage programs are changing, it’s great to check out what other airlines have to offer. Jetblue’s sounds really great.

  7. Good review of the new Mint product. Will be interesting to see how the fares vary once they get the product more established.

  8. I would love to try the Mint product. As a PHX flyer I’ve never even flown on JetBlue!

  9. Thanks for the review! I will have to keep Jetblue in mind while flying back to the east coast

  10. What would be awesome is if they provided like a $10 food or drink credit to all the food in T5. They do not need a lounge but if you are paying a premium that would be a small touch to ensure ground services are part of the experience…doubt it would happen, but would still be nice….

  11. Great report, Seth. It really looks like JetBlue hit the nail on the head with this product. I think they really understand what customers will enjoy, unlike the legacy carriers.

  12. Looks like a great project. Seems like the IFE could use some refinement but seems solid from here!

  13. How was the service level? Must have been a bit weird for the FAs since they’re not used to doing a real meal service onboard a flight.

    1. The FAs working on my flight included one who helped define and validate the service standard so he was on top of things (as was his cohort up front). I’m sure that skewed things a little bit. That said, the difference in what’s required of them doesn’t seem all that huge a leap and I’ve generally found that the FA on JetBlue were friendly and helpful anyways so this is just an extension of that.

  14. Nice review! Looks like a product that might be worth a splurge every now and then.

  15. JetBlue gaining corporate share may help them on all their marginal short-hauls and Caribbean out of JFK. But they need to do more midwest flying if they’re serious about the NYC business traveler.

  16. Nice report. The onboard product is definitely competitive with the legacies, and the hard product is significantly better than VX.

    1. This service is only on JFK-LAX right now and will be expanding to SFO later this year. As of now JetBlue has not indicated SEA service for Mint. And I don’t expect that they will. Only Delta treats that route as a premium one, mostly because of the Asia feed, I’m guessing.

  17. B9 seems worth a try now that my upgrades are suddenly not clearing on AA JFK-SFO.

  18. That view looking forward from the seat is great – Everyone seems to love the throne-style seating and it’s really clear why that’s the case.

    I’m conflicted about touch screens in premium cabins – it’s a cool idea, but doesn’t seem practical since you are probably lounging and far away from the screen. Personally, i’d end up just using the remote instead.

    1. The touch screen bit is more important for the core/economy passengers, I think. And it is the same software update there so that’s part of what’s going on.

  19. Wow, the food selections look really new and different! I would love to try Jet Blue Mint out!

  20. JetBlue service is typically great, so I’d imagine this was spectacular for a domestic flight! I’d love to check out the cocoon grid-it too 🙂

  21. Thanks for a great review – appreciated all the details. Looks like a great product – hope to give it a try sometime.

  22. Enjoyed the review & am pleased to see any airline use a bit of creative thinking in the way they approach seating and service.

  23. Looks like a very solid product at a very competitive price. I wish we had JetBlue for an option here in the Midwest.

  24. Hi Seth

    Do you happen to have an pictures of the menu and wine list you could post?

  25. Good review…thanks for sharing…would love to win the giveaway…thanks, K…

  26. This looks like a pretty good deal.I’ especially interested int the variety that Birchbox will offer over time. That Grid-it seems like a nice touch too and I’d love to have a better look at it :).

  27. Someone on MP was saying that AA is going to extend 321T service to BOS; heard anything about that?

    1. I believe I responded on that thread as well. I find that highly unlikely for a variety of reasons. The A321 may be coming, but not the A321T.

  28. Excellent review – I’ll be in Mint on both the outbound and inbound within the next week and truly look forward to it. From what I’ve seen, I won’t be disappointed. 🙂

    On a side note, how did you get ITA Matrix to return results for JetBlue Mint? Filtering by Cabin or Fare Class yields no results whatsoever.

  29. Awesome review! Good to see JetBlue improving to stay competitive. Obviously they have done some research to try and provide some differentiators.

  30. Seems like a cool product. Sadly, I’m rarely (if ever) in a position to do a true transcon. Regardless, count me in for the grid-it!

  31. B6 has created an innovative product that will give the majors a run for the money.

  32. Glad to see that the watermelon salad was much larger than the Twitter photo.

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