It’s a competitive market out there for business class seats on flights between the east and west coast, and I get it – 5-6 hours is long enough to desire a more comfortable experience.
In 2013, both United and American introduced their own versions of premium transcontinental nonstop flights with flat bed seats, wifi, power outlets, enhanced entertainment, and the works.
In 2014, JetBlue surprised us with their fun and unique version of premium “business class” named Mint. After experiencing the product for the first time (finally!) on a flight between LAX to JFK this past weekend, I now understand why JetBlue has made the decision to expand Mint like crazy!
The Mint Experience
For those unfamiliar with JetBlue’s Mint Class, the product caters to the modern traveler with unique touches (Birchbox amenity kits, a tapas-style menu by New York City restaurant Saxon + Parole, seats that massage, departure pastries from Mah-ze-Dahr Bakery, etc.).
Not only does Mint offer the longest fully-flat bed seating in the U.S. domestic premium market, 4 out of the 16 seats are fully-enclosed private suites. In the Mint cabin, rows 1, 3, and 5 are set up in 2×2 configuration (great if traveling with a companion), while rows 2 and 4 are single suites.
A complete description of what to expect on JetBlue Mint flight is as follows:
Booking The Flight
Considering that most economy one-way seats were pricing out at over $300 for the date/time I needed to get back home, it made sense for me to treat myself (it was my birthday weekend, after all) to a Mint seat for the novelty of it (and to fly home more comfortably, of course).
What’s amazing about Mint is the price, compared to other transcon business class options. JetBlue Mint starts at $599, which is an incredible deal considering that United and American options frequently price at over $1,000 each way.
Of course, the cost of Mint will increase with demand, but with a quick search, I found several $599 options on a random date:
It’s incredible that the JetBlue Mint options are almost 1/2 the price!
If looking to use points, JetBlue Mint seats start at roughly 45,300 TrueBlue points. I’ve previously blogged about how JetBlue points are super easy to to earn with their 3 new credit cards, family pooling, badges, and the amazing new spring promotion that allows you to earn 5,000 extra points per flight if you’re targeted!
Via credit card, one of the easiest ways to earn a large chunk of JetBlue points is with the new The JetBlue Plus Card (30,000 points).
My Mint Experience
I originally secured a single suite seat on the 9:29 pm red-eye because I was worried that I would not make the 4:40 pm flight due to the fact that my previous flight was scheduled to land at 3:30 pm in a different terminal.
However, I landed early, cleared customs quickly, and dashed to the check-in counter to see if I could hop on the earlier flight to JFK. I was told that Mint was completely sold out for the earlier option, but that I could test my luck at the gate. With 5 hours to kill, I figured it was worth a try.
Luckily I was able to secure a seat on the earlier flight, but I had to sacrifice my single suite for an aisle seat in a 2×2 row. It was one of those things where getting home significantly earlier was a bit more important than 5-hours of in-flight privacy .
My first impression of the seats when I boarded was a favorable one. I loved that I had what felt like infinite legroom.I also loved that a quality blanket and pillow were there to welcome me, since I am one of those people who freezes on flights.I was quickly greeted by flight attendants Wendy and Doug. Doug asked me if it was my first time flying Mint and since it was, he took time explaining the seat features to me. I was impressed that there was a “massage” button for the seat (now if only Mint came with a pedicure…)Each seat also comes with bottled water and power/usb outlets.Soon enough I was offered a pre departure beverage and was urged to try their signature drink, “RefreshMint”, which was a limeade with honey and fresh mint. The drink can be served with or without vodka. I kept it virgin, and it was delicious and refreshing – so much that I ordered another during meal service.Before take off, menus were distributed. JetBlue Mint offers a multi-course dining experience and the option for you to customize your meal by allowing you to choose 3 out of the 5 main course choices. I went with the heirloom tomato salad, lobster risotto, and turkey chili.Once airborne, amenity kits (by Birchbox, obsessed!) were distributed. There are his/hers versions of the Birchboxes. As someone who is a Birchbox fanatic, this little treat really resonated with me.Inside of my Birchbox amenity kit was hair spray, anti-frizz sheets, body lotion, an eyeshadow pencil, and a face mask.Soon enough, it was meal time. First we started with a delicious artichoke/avocado dip with taro chips, and I had another “RefreshMint” drink.Next came the main courses. The heirloom tomato salad was easily one of the most amazing salads I had in flight. I loved the burrata cheese and crisp tomatoes. The turkey chili was on the spicy side (almost too much for me to handle), and the lobster risotto was really, really good.Since I was pretty famished by the time we were in the air, my first thoughts were that the food portions were a bit on the smaller side, but my eyes have a bigger appetite than my stomach. After all was said and done, I felt comfortably full with room for dessert (so I thought).Dessert was Blue Marble sweet cream ice-cream and fresh fruit (which was really fresh!). I skipped on the espresso/cappuccino option because I was starting to get really tired and wanted to sleep.Right after dinner, I reclined into a bed and it didn’t take long for me to conk out. My only worry was that my seat mate would want to get up to use the lav, which would require me to move my seat back to an upright position (word of caution – window seat passengers are “trapped” if an aisle seat mate is in flat-bed mode).
First off all, I can’t believe it took me this long to try the JetBlue Mint experience! I think part of the reason for my delay is my love/hate relationship with JFK. Fellow NJ readers know what I mean.
As a hard-product, I consider Mint to the the best out there for domestic flights. All of the extras (free “FlyFi”, amenity kits, food that actually tastes good, etc.) make it an exciting experience. I especially love that Mint caters to others and not just business travelers.
As far as price, it can’t be beat. Starting art $599, it’s easy to see why some of us would choose to “splurge” when it’s not much of a jump between an economy ticket and a bed in the sky.
After my experience though, I am still left with one burning question: when the heck will we see Mint flights out of EWR?! ;)
Have you flown Mint before? How was your experience?