The Mint premium transcon product from JetBlue is getting a boost as the company announced an expanded schedule starting later this fall and growing through to February of 2016. In October additional flights to San Francisco will both be added. As further Mint aircraft are delivered the Los Angeles route will be further bolstered, ultimately rising to 10 daily flights in each direction. This increase will bring JetBlue up much closer to the frequencies American Airlines is offering.
The increase in service also back-fills the drop in capacity from United’s impending departure from the JFK market. JetBlue’s launch of Mint was essentially the opening salvo in the “transcon wars” an United was the first to blink. Of course, that is not to say that United leaving is the only reason JetBlue is increasing service. Getting more Mint planes into the fleet is not a quick project. And getting enough in the next 8 months is not trivial at all.
Read More: Food and Wine Upgrades in the JetBlue Mint Cabin
Then again, JetBlue’s VP Brand & Product Development Jamie Perry said at the beginning of April – just 10 weeks ago – that “We currently do not have any more Mint planes on order.” He also noted that converting the existing A321s on order to be Mint planes was possible, “but there is a lead time, predominantly because there is a whole different set of suppliers for the Mint planes. There are 5 or 6 business partners affected.” Obviously the company was able to get the vendors moving quickly.
Read More: United Bails on JFK, Moves p.s. to Newark
And the carrier is not done with the Mint expansion yet. Included towards the bottom of the release was this little nugget:
Customers should also stay tuned for additional Mint fleet expansion in 2016.
The Caribbean is one potential market for such service; Aruba and Barbados are already getting seasonal Mint service this winter, for example. And the other obvious potential place to look is Boston. The company has long talked about adding that market to Mint but has held off for a lack of aircraft. The above note suggesting more are on order also leads to the idea that Mint will be in Boston at some point in 2016 or early 2017.
Read More: In-flight: The JetBlue Mint experience
There are seven pending A321 deliveries remaining for 2015; at this point the company needs at least three to be Mint planes to support the newly announced schedule. And then there are the 2016 deliveries alluded to in the release. Plenty more to come on this front to be sure.
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Will try Mint SFO-JFK for the first time next week. I called an ordered Gluten Free meal so will let you know how was the meal. At $1200 transcontinental round trip this is a bargain that will disappear when there is less competition.
I love the regular meals; dunno about the specials but I hope you enjoy it.
As for the low prices disappearing, I would not be surprised to see the average fare tick up, even had United stayed in the market. There are still 4 competitors flying the route but my guess is that JetBlue will slowly tick the fares up just because it can as people are still buying it at the $799 and $999 prices, too.
But that’s less about a lack of competition – there is still plenty – and more about that JetBlue basically gets to define the bottom of the market and if it thinks demand is high enough it can start to trend that a bit higher.
Interesting analysis. I have my own threshold of what I am willing to pay to fly Mint vs coach in UA E+ exit row to EWR or with connection to LGA. Being lifetime gold with UA and having their lounge credit card sort of puts me in a bind ( like a bad marriage)
The lounge is basically useless. I see zero value with that.
Heck, I chose a couple hours of extra sleep and flying JetBlue in Y over UA in C on p.s. a couple months back and couldn’t be happier with how that worked out.
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