In June of 2014, jetBlue introduced a radical change to its philosophy: the introduction of a second cabin onboard select aircraft. This departure from its egalitarian all economy layouts was met with not only concern from loyal passengers, but also critical fanfare! Mint sought to shake up the premium fare market by upping the game and providing elevated service at a fair cost and can be found on select Airbus A321 aircraft that serve transcontinental flights as well as weekend Caribbean service from New York and Boston.
For this flight, we booked utilizing the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal utilizing 20,000 points and $185. Conversely, we could have also transferred miles to jetBlue at a 1:1 ratio for increased value if we hadn’t wanted to offset with cash, or earn miles on this flight. We could also have booked using cash for $485 plus taxes and fees.
I entered JFK’s Terminal 5, home to jetBlue, from the iconic Saarinen TWA flight tubes after a stay at the TWA Hotel (more about that here).The calm of the hotel quickly descended into chaos as the doors to the elevator opened into T5. Luckily, given that my flight was booked in Mint, I had access to a dedicated Mint/Mosaic area within the terminal. After just a few minutes wait, a friendly agent assisted in tagging my bag, checking my documents, and printing my boarding pass. From there, I was off to TSA PreCheck, which although had quite a queue, had me through security in a matter of minutes. Alternatively, my Mint ticket also provided access to the Even More Speed Security lane had I not had PreCheck. JetBlue doesn’t operate lounges, nor is there a Priority Pass lounge in Terminal 5, but I found the terminal rather spacious and didn’t have too long of a waiting period prior to boarding as I don’t typically arrive too early for flights.
We pushed back from the gate just a few minutes behind schedule, but unfortunately had an hour and a half tarmac delay at JFK due to low visibility from fog. Being in a spacious Mint suite, this was no bother to me as frequent updates were provided from the flight deck and I was still due to land in Saint Lucia prior to the remainder of my group.
Seat & Cabin
The cabin of Mint-Equipped A321s in jetBlue’s fleet are arranged with 16 Mint Seats in an alternating 2-2 & 1-1 layout. Just past the bulkhead is the Pantry, a self serve snack bar for Main Cabin passengers, 41 Even More Space Seats and 102 Main Cabin Seats.
The unique layout of jetBlue’s Mint cabin means that Rows 2 and 4 feature “throne” style seats, complete with a sliding door to make it a suite. These seats cost no more than a standard Mint seat and are easily recommended for their privacy and spacious layout. I was settled into Seat 4A for my flight, which featured a whopping 3 power outlets, a reading light, and clever storage nooks throughout. The seat itself measured 22 inches wide with 60 inches of pitch and an 80 inch bed when in lie flat mode. The controls featured the ability to control lumbar, recline, and a massage function - not going to lie, I used the massage feature for the majority of the flight.
Upon wrapping up with my starter, a flight attendant was immediately by my side asking what I would like to drink for the continuation of brunch, I opted for another RefreshMint (I’ll admit it, I was hooked on them). Moments later, Reona returned with my drink as well as my Brunch selections: Coconut Milk Chia Seed Pudding with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote, Panettone Bread Pudding with Cinnamon Creme Anglaise, and Zucchini Frittata with Harissa Aioli. I also opted to add a side of Chicken Sausage as indicated on the menu. Let me be the first to tell you, all three were absolutely DELICIOUS - I practically licked each dish clean - and have even replicated the Chia Seed Pudding and compote at home.
Just before final descent, Reona circled the cabin one last time handing out a final round of drinks and providing each guest with a Blueberry & White Chocolate Cookie from Brooklyn based Milk as well as a warm thank you for choosing jetBlue.
Amenities & Service
From the moment I arrived at my seat, the service on board this flight was flawless: a perfect balance of personality and efficiency as well as professionalism and warmth. The dedicated training that jetBlue provides Mint Flight Attendants is exemplary, and all other domestic carriers should certainly take note.
In the way of amenities, they were certainly plentiful. Awaiting at each seat upon boarding were a Welcome Note, Menu, bottle of Dasani water, wrapped pillow and handsome quilted blanket, and a Hayward Amenity Kit containing: Eyemask, Earplugs, Socks, Toothbrush & Toothpaste, Morning Shift Lotion, Lip Balm and Facial Mist, and a pen. SR60 Prestige over the ear headphones were also available upon request, and Shayne brought me a pair while still on the ground - they were not collected until after arriving at the gate which was a welcome surprise. The quality of the headphones was good, but not great, so in the future I wouldn’t hesitate bringing my own pair if I weren’t traveling light.
The Inflight Entertainment system onboard the aircraft utilizes a 15.4 inch touchscreen display that can also be controlled using the remote in the seat. More often than not, I found myself utilizing the remote due to both my distance from the screen as well as the apparent lag that the touchscreen exhibited in scrolling. The system featured Sirius XM Radio, 90+ channels of DirecTV, and a wide assortment of movies and television series. On this flight I watched “The Great Gatsby,” “The Greatest Showman,” and a few episodes of “Superstore.”
In addition to the entertainment mentioned above jetBlue offers its signature complimentary FlyFi from gate to gate. I truly appreciate how ahead of the curve jetBlue is in terms of offering quality useful WiFi at no cost. Although I did not run a speed test this time, it performed well each time I used it allowing me to stay connected with those on the ground, check email, and surf the web with ease. Unfortunately, it did become unavailable for a majority of our flight due to us operating outside of the coverage area.
Our arrival into Saint Lucia’s Hewanorra International Airport was smooth, sunny, and scenic - the perfect end to a fabulous flight. We deplaned via airstairs from the forward and aft doors of the aircraft and proceeded into the tiny terminal to clear customs and immigration. Upon arriving at the baggage claim, my Mint tagged bag was one of the first out leaving me on my way to start my vacation!
It’s no secret that jetBlue is one of the most passenger friendly airlines in the industry: with the industry leading legroom, generous complimentary amenities, and friendly service I’ve come to expect in the main cabins; the bar was high walking into my first Mint experience, but boy did I enjoy it. Their creative take on meal service, fantastic seats and specially trained team members put them above and beyond other domestic products in my book. The attention to detail of the brand, strategic partners, and hard product (I mean, I LOVE how the dishes are even the shape of the Mint logo) really elevate the entire experience into something special.
That, of course, does not leave me without a few critiques of areas of improvement. First, the Mint / Mosaic check in area at JFK is much too small for the size of their operation. I was quickly helped, but before long there was a line of seven behind me. Second, Inflight Entertainment needs an update, especially after seeing the new system aboard retrofitted aircraft this one just lags a bit too much. I would also love to see an expanded and more diverse collection of content.
All in all, this is right up there with the best flights I’ve taken, and I would happily fly jetBlue Mint again. In fact, I can’t wait to do it again!
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