My First JetBlue Mint Experience: I’m In Love!

Good morning from Los Angeles! I’ve just wrapped up one of the most insane trips of my life, where Matthew and I flew 33,000+ miles in one week, including about three days of nonstop flying, without staying in a hotel. Suffice to say that slipping into a “real” bed last night was even more enjoyable than usual.

After flights on China Eastern, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Saudia, and Pakistan, I was very much looking forward to my JetBlue Mint flight from New York to Los Angeles. As a reminder, I booked this as a paid ticket for ~$600, which is their advance purchase pricing in the market.

JetBlue has been known for over a decade for their great economy product, so how do they perform in the premium market, which they enterd a couple of years ago? Very, very, very well. I had fairly high expectations, but they were exceeded.

To sum it up, JetBlue Mint is like a breath of fresh air compared to flying the legacy carriers in the market. That’s not even meant to be a “mint” pun, but it’s actually true. The seats and amenities are excellent, the food is simple and delicious, and the service is the best I’ve ever had on a domestic flight.

I’ll have a full trip report soon, but in the meantime I figured I’d share my initial thoughts.

JetBlue Mint seat

JetBlue’s Mint cabin consists of a total of 16 seats, spread across five rows. Rows one, three, and five are in a 2-2 configuration, while rows two and four are in a 1-1 configuration.

JetBlue-Mint - 1

JetBlue-Mint - 2

The single seats are known as Mint Suites, and are available on a first come first service basis. That’s pretty fantastic, considering that those booking furthest in advance (and typically scoring the lowest fares) are also able to lock in the Mint Suites at no additional cost.

JetBlue-Mint - 4

JetBlue-Mint - 3

These Suites have doors.

JetBlue-Mint - 5

Now here’s the thing — I generally prefer a reverse herringbone seat (like American’s A321 first class) to a staggered seat like this. However, I’d say that this seat is a draw with American’s A321 first class seat due to the additional privacy. That’s amazing, since we’re comparing business class to first class here.

JetBlue Mint amenities

Mint passengers get a great pillow and blanket, along with eyeshades. Other basic amenities are available on request.

JetBlue-Mint - 6

Mint passengers also get a Birchbox, which they apparently switch up often.

JetBlue-Mint - 7

This is pretty random, since most of the items in there aren’t things you could actually use on planes. But it’s pretty cool nonetheless.

JetBlue-Mint - 8

JetBlue has free wifi for all passengers, or for $9 per hour you can upgrade to high speed internet. The free internet was about as fast as what you’d get if paying for Gogo on American, while the premium internet was legitimately high speed. What a fantastic offering.

JetBlue-Mint-Wifi

Then before landing, to go cookies were distributed.

JetBlue-Mint-Cookies

JetBlue Mint food

The catering was simple and tasty.

To start I was offered a drink (I chose a gin & tonic) and a deviled egg.

JetBlue-Mint - 9

Then there are five dishes you can choose from after that (here’s the menu), and you can pick up to three. They’re all served at once, and you have the option between hot and cold dishes. While the format seems simple, the food was incredibly flavorful. I loved being able to try a little bit of a few different things.

JetBlue-Mint - 10

For dessert everyone was offered Blue Marble ice cream (which was actually great), fresh fruit, and an espresso beverage. The cappuccino was the best one I’ve had on a plane in a long time.

JetBlue-Mint - 11

Then throughout the flight JetBlue’s typical snacks were available.

JetBlue Mint service

This is where JetBlue Mint shined the most, and where JetBlue really impressed me. This flight made me realize just how low my standards of “good service” are with US airlines. I remember the last time I felt like I had good service on American’s A321 transcon product, and it paled in comparison to this.

The flight attendants, Agda and Raphy, were incredible. Both crew members had genuine smiles throughout the flight and enthusiastically welcomed aboard every one of the ~160 passengers.

Once settled in Agda provided me a detailed introduction to the seat, product, etc. Both crew members were so attentive, and never let a glass get close to empty.

Once we passed through 10,000 feet and the seatbelt sign was still on, Raphy came around to every Mint passenger and asked whether he could hand us anything from the overhead bin.

Simply put, both Agda and Raphy made me feel like they were happy to be there, and wanted everyone to have a great experience. They were in a league of their own as far as US flight attendants go, at least compared to what I’ve become accustomed to.

JetBlue Mint bottom line

JetBlue Mint is hands down the best value domestic premium cabin product. Pricing starts at ~$600 between New York and Los Angeles, ~$550 between New York and San Francisco, and ~$400 between Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale.

I think it may just be my all around favorite domestic product. Having an enclosed suite with tasty food, free wifi, great amenities, and the best service I’ve had on a US airline, is pretty tough to beat.

JetBlue, kudos on Mint. Not only has Mint brought down premium cabin pricing on other airlines, but it has also set a new premium cabin domestic standard, in my opinion.

I’m flying JetBlue Mint again soon, and can’t wait to see if the service I experienced from Agda and Raphy is closer to the norm or the exception in Mint.

If you’ve flown JetBlue Mint, what was your experience like?

Comments

  1. Just as I’ve said before, everyone should consider investing in JetBlue points and cards.

    The rumours are spinning of Europe routes.

  2. Was on it last year. Service you got is the norm – amazing! Agree, food is great and nice to have variety. Did you try the Mint drink? It’s excellent too. The seat as well is amazing…I’d be comfortable in the suite on a much longer flight just fine.

  3. I really hope JetBlue comes to MSP soon. It is infuriating to pay what I have to pay to fly Delta from here.

  4. It’s just too bad Jetblue’s route map is limited and will only work for some people. Otherwise I suspect many of us would be checking them out in the year to come. We’ve put up with crappy service from the big three for so long because of (a) the mileage programs and (b) the potential for free upgrades. With (a) every program now revenue based for earning, (b) low level redemptions getting harder, particularly on AA and DL and (c) the increasing monetization of F, which decreases upgrade chances… at a certain point some people are going to realize that enough is enough.

    And even the Y transcon product on Jetblue, especially with the free internet for everyone and a walk up beverage and snack station, is miles ahead any of the legacy airlines.

  5. @ Ben — Thank you for your post. I was seriously considering booking o/w EWR-SFO in UA p.s. for $568, but because of this post ‘ve decided to book o/w JFK-SFO in B6 Mint for $548 instead! Who needs status with fares like these? 😉

  6. Love love love JetBlue! Glad you liked it.

    If you fly the core product on non-Mint routes, you’ll still get the same great service (sans meals but you’ll get as many snacks as you want)

  7. Ben – VERY glad you took this trip and filed this report. Am now a JetBlue Mosaic flyer and will take them ANY day over the legacy carriers. My EP status this year with AA is going to be my last (after god knows how many years) – JetBlue runs circles around AA with employees who like their jobs, more than edible food, reasonable fares, occasional automatic reimbursements if you suffer a delay, comfortable seats – and did I mention employees who LIKE their job and their customers? While their FF program is revenue based, it’s understandable and relatively easy to reach Mosaic if you fly frequently. Mint is, of course, terrific – but it’s the overall focus on the customer that sets this airline apart.

    AA is racing to the bottom as far as I’m concerned – have received “changed flight” emails on 11 trips I booked for business this year over the past 4 months – virtually all my travel – and you have to work to figure out what changed — the response from the EP desk when questioned: “Please Mr X, be patient with us as we work through this merger.” Sorry – but my business can’t wait – plus, how long has it been since the merger? Couple this with unannounced equipment swaps, waiting 20 mins for a callback from the EP desk (how long does a non-elite have to wait??)… well the list of negatives just kept growing. I’m done with AA – and have been over the moon about JetBlue. Flights leave on time for the most part and the in-flight experience is, as you experienced, great. I call JetBlue’s Mosaic line and get through to an actual person immediately. Want First Class and not on a Mint flight? Try an “even more space” seat instead – you’ll be pleasantly surprised. 1000X more comfortable than AA’s 737-8 Fred Flintstone FC seats.

    I get that JetBlue may not work for those who fly frequently to Europe or want a carrier with multiple airline partners – but if you primarily fly domestically in a city serviced by JetBlue, I cannot understand why you’d throw your loyalty to a legacy carrier.

  8. Am I the only one who finds the seat terribly uncomfortable for lounging? It’s fine upright and fine flat, but with the seat design, there’s no way to both sit up and put your feet up. I’ll take a seat with an ottoman over this any day. And while their free wifi is great, their IFE leaves much to be desired in the way of on-demand.

    Though I agree on the service and food. I’m still hopeful that this gets the other carriers to raise their games the same way they lowered their prices to match. In my experience, at least, AA is usually cheaper than Jet Blue, at least R/T.

  9. I’m glad to see they are still handing out the Mah ze Dhar chocolate — it’s to die for:-)

    Neil

  10. I don’t know what happened to the rest of my comment, but I have to agree with Gene. Now that JetBlue is acting as the great equalizer and you can find a transcon J fare for about $600 on any carrier (DL seems to be the only airline consistently charging more even several months out) it’s actually a pretty decent deal to just book the premium fare. Kudos to them for keeping the pricing the same even years down the road.

  11. As soon as JetBlue starts flying to Europe it’s game over for the Big 3. I WANT to fly JetBlue so badly but I need an international carrier. I will jump to JetBlue in a heartbeat!

  12. Eugene is correct. JetBlue has amended its purchase agreement with Airbus that will give them the option in 2017 of swapping A321 Neos into A321-LR’s (long range) aircraft. These narrow body A321’s could service Eurpean routes from several east coast cities.

  13. I have been looking forward to Mint service coming to FLL in the fall, I would fly regular JetBlue short haul but for cross country trips I would really prefer Mint.

  14. Loved Mint (flew SFO-BOS) last month. I had to go from LAX to BOS and wanted to try Mint… So I took a connecting flight to SFO to try it… Cheaper than flying F on AA in a stupid 737 for 6 hours! Loved the service, food, etc. I was in a row 2 suite… I didn’t like the very small footwell, and I didn’t like the massage function on the seat which seemed to not be able to turn off. I also didn’t like the lack of on-demand content (there are a few movies, but they start on a fixed schedule). Other than that… I loved it. I am looking forward to having mint come to LAX-BOS and really hoping for mint to come to LGB.

  15. @ Patrick: TrueBlue has revenue-based points redemptions costs: the more expensive the revenue ticket is, the more points you’ll need. Yesterday, Lucky talked about JetBlue’s 25% off promotion, which is valid if you book before 11:59 PM Eastern Time tomorrow, August 4 (though it looks like Mint costs the same number of points with and without the promotion). In the picture, Mint one-way costs 45,300 TrueBlue points + $5.60 or $599, which translates into a ratio of about 1.33 cents per point, which is actually slightly below the average cpp redemption rate you can find on lots of JetBlue flights.

  16. About time Ben!!! We have been touting Mint for ages now. The service you received is the norm. And even the ground staff are incredible. Had one irrops incident happen from bos-jfk-sfo (connected just to take mint pre bos-sfo) and both front line and supervisory staff went above and beyond to get me to my mint connecting flight. It is amazing when a company has such a positive pro-consumer culture… And the price is impossible to beat.

  17. My favorite things about JetBlue are all things that only they offer:

    1. Consistently warm and genuine staff. Across the board. It is great to not feel like you are resented for being a customer.
    2. No change fees for Mosaic members.
    3. “Premium” economy seats that have as much leg room as the big 3 domestic first (except NY-SF and NY-LA).
    4. Pre-boarding for Mosaic is usually less than 10 people, compared to the 40% elite early boarding on American. Consequently there is not a wall of people forming at the gate 15 minutes before boarding.
    5. I can get to Mosaic every year without flying exclusively on JetBlue, in fact rather than flying AA for every flight all year to reach EXP, I can get to BA Gold AND JetBlue Mosaic while traveling less and paying less. That flexibility means I never have to make unnecessary connections in the interest of loyalty benefits.
    6. Free wifi.
    7. Free DirecTV.

    I have one AA trip left, and even as an EXP I’d really rather make that trip on JetBlue in economy. Looking forward to the expansion of Mint to more cities this fall and next year, and I am going to be thrilled when they add Transatlantic routes.

  18. Ben – Thanks for posting the review of Jetblue. I am definitely going to consider them over AA.

    @Rob – I am glad to see that I am not the only one who is ready to bail on AA. The race to the bottom is exactly what’s happening with AA as well as most of the the other carriers.

  19. I echo all of this; JetBlue is on its way to becoming my favorite airline. Their status match and VX Points Match let me get to 60k points after 2 round trips this year, with Mosaic status through the END of 2017. I’ve never seen more than 5 people in Elite/Mint boarding, so the boarding process is great once you make your way around the disproportionate number of first-time fliers.

    JetBlue’s T5 at JFK is beautiful and well-designed and pays homage to the TWA Flight Center that it was built around. It also includes an Airspaces lounge which is accessible to Amex Platinum cardholders.

    I’ve flown on Mint for two transcons (JFK-SFO) and the hard and soft product doesn’t come close to any other domestic. The level of detail in the experience is impressive–all the way down to the stunningly well-designed uniforms from the flight crew.

    I can’t wait from Mint to start service from my home in SEA next year–until then I’m glad to make a stop in SFO to be able to fly Mint

  20. MINT FAs are specially selected and trained. They have to want to work the MINT cabin. You will always see attentive and proactive service from the crew in the MINT cabin. Apparently, BOS based mint cabin crew will be glad to see BOS expansion so they don’t have to go BOS-JFK-LAX/SFO-JFK-BOS anymore.

  21. Ben – did you credit your points to singapore or did you keep them in a trueblue account? I have a jetblue flight scheduled and heavily considering using Singapore to bank miles from now on. Thanks!

  22. Great onboard product ! in compare to the old AA or DL business class seats offered on continental US flights. I would say Virgin America is also good in this class.

  23. Didn’t spend much time searching, but a SFO-BOS RT in about three weeks was pricing at $1600 roundtrip; much more than the $400-600 quoted in the article.

  24. Glad you loved the JetBlue flight. But, as much as I appreciate the level above a typical AA/ DL/ United trip…. the fact that the legacy carriers have great flight times and better airports (FLL is a small airport an hour drive from Miami) helps the rest of us that travel on a weekly basis. AA is “great” (per their ad)…. they are not “amazing”. For now, I will take great over amazing if I can save two hours back and forth….
    And, yes, I wish JetBlue was at every major airport with those amazing prices and service.
    The new changes to AA revenue based status is changing how I view fares and flights, though.

  25. I agree with those EP AA members that the time has come to trade ‘loyalty’ for service…
    After 30 years with AA ‘LT’ Gold and MM status, it’s time to move on…
    AA has gone to revenue status…well so have I, with much better amenities to boot.
    I was pleasantly surprised that JetBlu also has non stops to Lima Peru, with impending
    European destinations, all the better.
    Arivaderci AA !

  26. @DWT: My thoughts exactly!

    For my employer’s travel arrangements, the rules are roughly:
    1) Get people off domestic metal as quickly as possible
    2) B6 if the routing works, DL if B6’s routing isn’t favorable, which is often if we’re not heading to the Northeast.

    I hate that all of the premium domestic routes are usually LAX-NYC. No premium domestic products available for LAX/SFO/SEA to ATL/CLT/MIA/MCO/TPA/DFW/ORD.

    I’d love to do Mint, but schedule-wise it makes no sense to fly from Florida to JFK to LAX. I’m not going to waste 2 days of travel for that route.

  27. I happened to score a mint flight from SFO to JFK back in November – it was very short notice, the price tag ca. $1200 if I remeber correctly – but being used to European long haul prices I thought this to be very ok.

    Until that trip I’d never heard of Jet Blue before (I flew out to SFO in premium eco – the back was crammed, but shelling out the extra $99 secured me a row for myself, so that already was super pleasant), but it was really very good friendship at first sight. Being a relatively new customer to the US airline industry (very loyal to Swiss otherwise) I didn’t know what to expect really, but I was sold on their Mint product from the first moment. After having now had further experience with similar products from other american carriers I have to agree, Jet Blue really stands out. Plus it was fun to see a business configuration in what in my mind is a short haul plane (Europe is just too small :-))

    I only wish they (and other carriers, for that matter) would offer more domestic destinations with true business class products…

  28. Glad you loved your JetBlue Mint experience!

    I agree it’s a game-changer of a product and the service is above the level of the legacy carriers. I’d argue that Virgin America offers the same level of service, or better.

    Ben, you touched on one of the head-scratchers (that I mentioned in my review years ago): the amenity kit doesn’t actually stock the things you need, just things that are promotional tie-ins with Birchbox.

    The one downside not addressed here is that the IFE is just inflight DirecTV with a few movies shown on loops. Which is great, but limited and really inferior to just about every other onboard IFE product.

    Then again, the free and fast onboard Wifi is a huge plus, so I’d say they even each other out.

  29. Just booked my Jet Blue Mint tickets for travel August 10-13 from JFK to LAX (I did book the single row). I’m super excited and looking forward to experiencing Jet Blue’s version of Business/First Class. 🙂

  30. Having flown Mint a lot of times, the service you experienced is pretty much the norm. Some Mint crews skew a little more efficient than others, but I’ve never had a bad crew (and I’ve had a few that are -amazing- for service, including one who helped develop the service protocol.)

    The Birchbox thing is a bit love/hate. Some boxes I have received very useful, high quality amenities (easily the best lip balm and moisturizer I’ve used – and in generous quantities, along with some handy things like fabric deodorizers and screen wipes.) Usually mixed in is a few fun things that on landing I really like (usually the hair styling products are neat, too.)

    Sometimes though it does feel like it’s a random assortment (shampoo but no conditioner, body wash, etc.) The strangest thing I saw was ‘body powder’ , which was highly amusing once I figured out what it was actually for.

    I really love the Mint suite. I’d pay a premium to fly it over any other domestic transcon product, even AA’s -first- class.

  31. Yup, I agree. JetBlue blows ALL domestic carriers out of the water. LOVE LOVE LOVE their fresh approach and customer service. Thanks for the great review. I have not tried Mint yet, but definitely will now!

  32. Haven’t tried Mint, but we LOVE Jet Blue service. Since having kids, I find I value different things and some airlines are really head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to being kid friendly– good service makes all the difference. Jet Blue is one of the last airlines to allow preboarding. (I know, I know, as an elite it is obnoxious watching families who “take forever”board early. But with a toddler and a baby, you need that time to disassemble/fold stroller on jet bridge/install car seat/convince toddler he wants to sit in car seat and it is a lot less stressful to do this without a line of impatient people in the aisle giving you dirty looks for daring to bring your baby on a plane. Besides, it is not like I’m taking up your overhead space. I had to check everything to compensate for the fact that I’m lugging strollers/car seats/diaper bags/offspring through the terminal. /rant.) The crew almost always hands me water as I board in case I need it to make bottles. If there is an empty seat next to me, I have had them proactively offer it to me for my lap infant in his car seat, which is incredible. They have wings and coloring books for older kids. They actually seem to like kids.

  33. Sounds great. But it’s pretty stupid and moronic that they only provide this service to SEVEN USA cities. Half of the 10 largest cities in the USA are not served. So JetBlue’s Mint Service…who cares.

  34. Best bet is to check out Virgin America. They have the same small, cramped airplanes, but the cabins are nicer than the other US airlines, and the equipment might be a bit newer and less noisy.

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