Nearly two months later than planned, I finally set out to sample jetBlue’s premium class product, Mint. I’ve read lots of great things about Mint, and Live and Let’s Fly’s review had me really excited. Plus, I found jetBlue’s coach product pretty impressive in its own right. With coach that good, Mint must be extraordinary, right? Thus, I set out to find out for myself. I paid $549 for this flight, which was the entry-level advance purchase fare at the time.
Note: this post is part of my trip report series about my weekend trip to try jetBlue Mint. Click here for the trip report index and introductory post.
jetBlue Mint – The Basics
Mint represents jetBlue’s entry into the premium cabin space, though jetBlue only offers it on select routes. Although originally designed to compete against other airlines’ premium transcontinental products, jetBlue expanded the service to select Caribbean destinations a couple of years ago.
So what makes Mint special? You get the usual perks for domestic First, like priority boarding and security. Free meals are nice, and jetBlue goes local by partnering with New York-based eateries. And of course, who doesn’t love lie flat seats?
But the truly unique offering are the “Mint Suites”, single “throne” seats found in Rows 2 and 4. These are fully-enclosed suites, providing the utmost in privacy for passengers.
With the basics out of the way, on to the review.
jetBlue Airways (B6) Flight 688
- Saturday, November 4, 2017
- Depart: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Terminal 5, Gate 59, 23:57, 7m late
- Arrive: Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), Terminal C, Gate C9, 06:47, 26m early
- Duration: 4 hours 50 minutes
- Equipment: Airbus A321
- Seat: 3A
I planned on passing some time at the Alaska Lounge, but unfortunately found the dreaded sign telling Priority Pass members to take a hike. After waiting in Terminal 6 for about an hour and a half, I headed to my jetBlue gate. Unfortunately, the T5 gate area is pretty dreadful, with the lack of power anywhere particularly problematic. Compared to the excellent terminal area in Boston, this was disappointing. One poor aspect of Mint is the lack of lounge access. jetBlue doesn’t provide any lounge options to Mint customers. That’s something they really should think about, especially at LAX. Anyway, our incoming flight arrived a little late, but the flight to Boston boarded more or less on time.
jetBlue Mint – Seating and Interior
In case you’re wondering – yes, I really, REALLY wanted to try one of the Mint Suites. In fact, on my originally scheduled flight to Fort Lauderdale, I snagged one in Row 2. However, I just couldn’t find a flight with open Suites on my replacement flight that fit my schedule and price point. Bummer, but hopefully I can try a Suite for a comparison one day.
Mint features 16 seats over five rows. Rows 1, 3, and 5 feature a 2×2 configuration, while Rows 2 and 4 are the Mint Suites in a 1×1 configuration. As for the seats themselves, regular Mint and Mint Suite seats are roughly identical. Both extend to 6 feet 8 inches in bed mode, though the suites are 1 1/2″ wider, at 22″. Also, though privacy pales in comparison to the Suites, it’s actually not bad for a 2×2 setup. The fixed partition provides reasonable separation from your neighbor. You can converse with the seat upright. But in bed mode, you’re pretty much invisible.
Waiting at the seat was a Hopper & Hayward amenity kit.
Besides the nice bag, the kit included a tootbrush, earplugs, socks, and an eyemask. And oddly, a pair of gloves.
Footspace is quite generous, with plenty of room for a small carry-on like a laptop.
Other storage spaces around the seat include a small compartment below the TV screen, and a space for small items like headphones in the area between seats.
This is probably my main complaint about the seat. There isn’t a lot of storage space in the 2×2 seats. From what I can gather, the Mint Suites are much better in that regard.
jetBlue provides two sets of seat controls in regular Mint seats. The first is a “comprehensive” controller at the front of the seat partition.
The second is a more limited version below the armrest.
I don’t really get the need for two sets of seat controls within inches of each other, but whatever. I found most functions, though the massage function didn’t seem to work properly. I’d push the button and get nothing, but then randomly feel a back massage five minutes later. I also couldn’t figure out how all the lumbar adjustments worked. Pushing the up and down arrows didn’t seem to do anything.
At the back of the seat is a reading light, small storage area, and power/USB port. (The bottle of water was already there when we boarded.) While I prefer power ports in the seatback, this location is OK. Mostly, I don’t like outlets below the seats, as it’s easy to get your feet tangled with a laptop cord. No such issues here, though it does get awkward with the tray table extended.
Most importantly, I found the seat very comfortable in both reclined and bed mode. With plenty of length and cushioning, and a comfy blanket, I was out cold just a few minutes after finishing my meal. And I stayed out until initial approach to Boston. Though I wished for about 3 more hours of flight time, I slept well with the time we had. The downside to the window seat in this configuration – you do have to climb over your neighbor to reach the aisle.
jetBlue Mint – In-Seat Entertainment
jetBlue Mint seats come with individual screens in each seatback. Though not the best screen out there, I found it adequate. (Not like I wanted to watch a lot of TV on a redeye, after all.)
An easy-to-use handheld unit controls the TV functions.
jetBlue also provides
noise-canceling headphones from Brooklyn-based Grado Labs. The SR60e Prestige Series headphones retail for $79, and generally receive decent reviews. I found them decent. Perhaps not quite as good as Bose headphones, but perfectly fine. I used them to both listen to music on my iPhone and watch TV for a couple of hours, and both comfort and sound quality were good.
As for the entertainment selection, Mint provides an identical experience to what you find in Economy Class. You get 30+ satellite TV channels, plus Sirius XM radio and a selection of movies. More than enough for a domestic flight, and better than what you get on American or United for sure. jetBlue also provides free “FlyFi” WiFi, thanks to a partnership with Amazon. Similar to my Economy Class flight, speeds are acceptable. If the TV selection isn’t to your liking, you can also access streaming content from Amazon and “The Hub”. When I last flew jetBlue, accessing Amazon content required an Amazon Prime membership. I don’t recall if that’s still necessary, though. In any event, you can sign up for a trial on board if you really want to access the content.
jetBlue Mint – Food, Beverage, and Service
I came away impressed with service levels pretty much right off the bat. The FA addressed passengers by name, and asked each one if it was their first time flying Mint. When I said yes, he gave me a quick overview of the service and the seat. I could tell he took pride in the product. After the overview, he offered a pre-departure beverage. I selected jetBlue’s signature drink, the RefreshMint. It’s basically a limeade made with honey and mint, either with or without vodka. I’m not terribly fond of mint in my food or drink, but when in Rome…
The vodka-infused version was indeed refreshing, even at midnight PDT. That of course called for my signature PDB selfie…
Normally, Mint meals include a fixed appetizer and desert, and a choice of 3 out of 5 small plates. Redeye flights, however, feature a prix fixe selection of 3 small plates, and skip the appetizer. You do still receive desert, though. Below was the menu for our flight (menus change monthly). jetBlue partners with New York-based restaurant Saxon + Parole to design its Mint meals.
About an hour into the flight, dinner arrived, with the mains and desert served all at one time.
The corn chowder looked rather meh, but actually tasted pretty good. Though a little watery, it had a good flavor, probably thanks to the bacon. The cheddar and turkey bacon panini was the star of the show. While not really a proper “panini”, the bread was delightfully toasty, making for a most fancy yet tasty grilled cheese. The couscous, though, was borderline inedible. Part of the problem was simply ingredients I don’t like. I dislike both feta and mint, so this dish had two strikes from the get-go. But the couscous was badly undercooked, and crunchy couscous just isn’t pleasant. Oh well – I consider two out of three a win when it comes to airplane food. Plus the ginormous helping of ice cream more than made up for it.
The FA asked after taking my pre-departure beverage order whether I’d like to be waken for breakfast. I declined, though he said he’d leave it on the armrest to take with me later. Nice touch, indeed. Breakfast included a Milk Bar cookie, what looked like kale juice, and a stuffed bagel round. Kale is great juice ingredient. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the cookie or the juice.
The bagel round looked good, but – eek, it was downright terrible. You’d figure it’s impossible to go wrong with cream cheese and bacon, but something failed badly here. I took one bite and threw it away. Seriously excessive salt seemed to be the problem. I took the cookie home, but sadly, never got to try it. Judging by how fast my wife ate it, I’m guessing it was pretty good…
Overall, I came away slightly disappointed with the meal. The light dinner was good, but the inedible breakfast offering marred the experience. I do look forward to trying a more normally timed flight to better experience a full meal service.
I mentioned being impressed by the service early on, and that continued the entire flight. jetBlue really does the little things well. For example, after reaching 10,000 feet, an FA asked if she could retrieve anything for me from the overhead bin. Try getting service like that on American, Delta, or United.
Since this was a redeye, there wasn’t much in the way of flightseeing to do. As we departed Los Angeles, I did see Hawaiian’s Oakland Raiders-themed airplane.
Then, as we approached Boston, first light revealed fall foliage at its peak across the area.
And finally, an interesting jetBlue livery as we taxied to the gate.
jetBlue Mint – Overall Thoughts
Did Mint match the hype? I’d say yes. Despite the mediocre food, the excellent seat and service really sets jetBlue apart. The regular 2×2 seats aren’t quite as good as the Mint Suites, but still, I can’t complain about a comfortable lie-flat seat on a domestic flight. Next time, I would like to try a Suite on a daytime flight for a good comparison.