First look: What it was like to fly JetBlue’s new Mint business class
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The 1 June marks a new chapter for JetBlue. The airline has long offered one of the top domestic U.S. business class products, even landing JetBlue a major win in the TPG Awards. Now, with Tuesday’s update, Mint just became world-class, ready to compete with some of the very best.
With its next-generation product now flying, the airline is officially ready for its long-haul debut to London. For now, you’ll find JetBlue’s latest and greatest hopping between New York-JFK and Los Angeles (LAX), but it’s scheduled to begin crossing the Atlantic soon, when the airline begins flying its latest Mint suite to London this summer.
JetBlue offers its latest Mint product on two aircraft types:
- Airbus A321neo: JetBlue’s regional configuration, with 16 suites
- Airbus A321LR: A “long-range” neo, flying across the Atlantic with 24 suites
While aircraft substitutions are always possible, for now, you’ll find the new suite on select flights between New York and Los Angeles.
I managed to book the Mint cabin on JetBlue’s first Airbus A321neo flight with the new suite, departing JFK at 10:30 a.m. ET and arriving in Los Angeles at 1:51 p.m. PT. The cheapest available fare was just under $1,200 (£848) one-way — definitely on the pricier side for a mid-pandemic domestic flight.
Since I booked a paid ticket, I’m eligible to earn TrueBlue points — 3 base points, plus another 3 for booking direct, for a total of 6,600 points. Mosaic members earn another 3 points per dollar.
On many dates, you can book Mint for $798 (£564), or 72,900 points. You’ll get much better value from your points when redeeming for JetBlue’s “Core” economy product, so I’d recommend saving them for a future coach flight, instead.
When booking, be sure to look for the “A321neo with Mint” label — that’ll indicate you’ve found a flight with the new cabin. You can preview the seat map as well, which should display a total of 16 seats in a 1-1 configuration. For flights to London, you’ll see a total of 24 seats, also with a 1-1 arrangement.
This version of JetBlue’s A321neo offers 16 Mint suites, including two more spacious seats at the bulkhead row, called “studios.” These studios carry an additional fee of $199 (£141) each way.
I booked within a few minutes of seats going on sale, and, at the time, I was able to assign myself a studio for free. So that’s where I ended up flying — in 1F, on the starboard side of the plane.
JetBlue’s studios offer considerably more personal space, with enough room to share a meal with a guest and plenty of space to stretch out as you sleep.
Behind the studios, you’ll find seven rows of JetBlue suites — the seats themselves are identical, and every row includes a sliding door, but if you tend to get claustrophobic in business class, you’ll probably be best off in row 1.
Aside from the studios, most of JetBlue’s new suites are nearly identical, though row 8 is located near the economy snack bar and lavatory, and only has one window, so you might want to avoid sitting there if you can. Be sure to check out this post for a closer look.
Speaking of economy, this version of JetBlue’s A321neo offers seven rows of Even More Space seats, with at least three additional inches of pitch.
Behind that extra-legroom section, you’ll find 17 rows of regular economy — “Core,” as JetBlue calls it. As with many of the airline’s other aircraft, on-demand entertainment is available at every seat.
While JetBlue has long flown between JFK and Los Angeles, this particular flight could still be considered an “inaugural” of sorts, since it was the first time the airline flew its new Mint suite.
After some brief executive remarks, all flyers were invited to “get a taste of Mint,” including cold brew coffee and chocolate-covered cashews.
Once onboard, we experienced the regular Mint service. Well, regular for JetBlue, that is — there was some top-notch food and drinks, along with Tuft & Needle pillows, blankets and a mix of other amenities.
Tuesday also marked the first day of JetBlue’s new menu, including a variety of dishes from New York City’s Pasquale Jones, an Italian restaurant in Lower Manhattan. Since our flight was scheduled to depart after 9:46 a.m. — the airline’s breakfast cutoff — we got to choose from the lunch and dinner menu below:
There were also a mix of breakfast drinks, along with the usual beer, wine and cocktail selection, which I began to dig into a bit later in the flight.
I began the meal with a glass of Ansel pinot noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon, which was served with a bag of mixed nuts.
JetBlue lets you pick three items for your main course — I went with the shrimp, pork and wedge salad, which were all delicious. I also enjoyed the gelato for dessert.
Zach Griff was sitting across from me in studio 1A to review the flight, while I was capturing content for TPG’s Instagram, Twitter and other social channels. While it certainly looked like Zach was enjoying himself from where I was sitting across the aisle, you’ll have to stay tuned for a bit more detail in his full review.
Some studio thoughts
One thing that made the flight truly special was where I chose to sit. I was thrilled to have lucked out with a studio, and the extra space really made a difference — it felt more like an international business-class trip than a domestic flight.
The 22-inch screen was perfect for watching movies and tracking our progress, but while on-demand content looked great, the live TV didn’t appear to be high-definition — having such a large display made that lack of clarity even more evident.
I found the studio to be spacious enough to work comfortably as well, and the tray table was more than large enough for my 13-inch MacBook Air. I appreciated having multiple power outlets, too, including a USB-C port, which was powerful enough to charge my phone quickly and could even power (but not charge) my laptop.
The side table really came in handy, too — it was nice to have a designated spot for my drink(s), and I was especially appreciative to have somewhere to place my tray while I waited for the crew to come around to collect it.
While pricing is always subject to change, for now, you’ll pay $199 each way to reserve a Mint studio, once you’ve paid the fare for your flight. Mosaic elites can also redeem points to move up, but at 19,900, I’d rather pay cash.
Although I’d fork over $199 on occasion, I’m not sure the studio is always worth the buy-up. I see little benefit on a redeye flight, for example — if anything, a mid-cabin suite could offer a slight advantage, since you’d be further away from the lavatory and galley up front.
I’m definitely no stranger to new products and planes, but with a slick new suite and upgraded service, I’ve been especially eager to check out the new JetBlue Mint. Fortunately, the airline did not disappoint — this was one very fun flight.
Perhaps most importantly for business travellers, JetBlue’s A321neos are able to connect to one of the world’s fastest satellites — ViaSat-2 — with some of the speediest performance I’ve experienced on a plane.
Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi really seemed to slow down at various points throughout the flight — still, it was fast enough to upload photos (slowly) and publish this post. Certain tools didn’t work, as well, including our corporate intranet, Slack and Zoom, but I was able to access some of those services after connecting to my VPN.
As great as it is to have a sliding door and top-notch food and drinks, Wi-Fi is often a top priority for business flyers, and JetBlue’s is generally fast and always free. There was a technician onboard who checked in with passengers throughout the flight, so hopefully they’ll have worked out any kinks by the time you fly the neo yourself.
Overall, I feel that it’s safe to conclude that JetBlue’s A321neo Mint is the best business class flying within the U.S. With a spacious layout, comfortable seat, a solid menu and loads of entertainment (including live TV), I would have happily spent many more hours onboard the airline’s latest Airbus jet.
Featured image and all photos by Zach Honig/The Points Guy unless otherwise noted.
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