In the summer of 2014, JetBlue shook up the aviation world by launching Mint—its premium long-haul service. The airline used reconfigured A321 aircraft featuring fully lie-flat seats, the only low-cost carrier to do so. From the beginning, JetBlue made it clear that their intention was to outshine the experience offered by American, Delta and United on transcontinental journeys. Mint started flights between John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). In succeeding years, flights were added between JFK and Aruba and Barbados, from Boston to Los Angeles and San Francisco, and to other destinations such as Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale, San Diego and Seattle.
Here’s a recap of everything that makes Mint a special experience:
The planes have 16 seats in the Mint cabin: six pairs of seats with a width of 20.5” and a pitch of 58”, and four enclosed suites with a 22” width and a 60” pitch. As mentioned, all 16 seats convert to a fully flat, 80”-long bed. Suites are allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis at no extra cost.
The Mint seats feature a 15” seatback screen with 100+ channels each of DIRECTV and Sirius XM radio, as well as a library of on-demand movies; SR60e headphones from Grado Labs in Brooklyn enhance the audio. JetBlue also offers free, high speed and gate-to-gate wi-fi.
Passengers receive an amenity kit from Haywood & Hopper. Typical contents include eyeshade, earplugs, lip balm, a towelette, body lotion, a dental kit and (of course) mints.
Food and Drink
The food menu for Mint is created by Saxon + Parole in lower Manhattan and consists of a series of small plates (passengers choose three). This is preceded by an appetizer and followed by a choice of either ice cream or fresh fruit. Complimentary snacks are available throughout the flight, accompanied by an assortment of teas, Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and espresso and cappuccino from the Brooklyn Roasting Company. Prior to landing, cookies packaged for takeaway are distributed.
Upon boarding, passengers are offered the house cocktail, a honey-infused limeade served with or without vodka. A curated selection of beer, wine and spirits is available.
At the Airport
There’s a separate area for Mint check-in, as well as an expedited security lane and priority boarding. Bags are tagged to arrive at the carousel first.
As of now, the following flights offer Mint service:
- From JFK: Aruba, Barbados, Grenada, Las Vegas, Liberia, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and seasonal to St. Lucia and St. Maarten.
- From Boston: Aruba, Barbados, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San
Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and seasonal to St. Lucia and St. Maarten.
- From Fort Lauderdale: Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Mint was introduced at extremely attractive fares (as low as $399-$599 each way); while those fares still exist, they’ve become difficult to find. Still, flying Mint is a bargain compared to the legacy airlines.
To get a cost comparison, I priced flights from JFK to San Francisco for the week of May 5-12, 2020. The Mint flights came in between $1,149 and $1,649 per person each way, depending on the time of day. On the same route, American Airlines charged between $2,717 and $3,317 for Flagship Business and $2,290-$3,190 for Flagship First, on an A321 configured with lie-flat seats. Delta priced out between $2,316-$2,866. All flights were non-stop, and the cost on JetBlue was roughly half.
Then I tried a close-in booking beginning eight days in the future, and the results were even more drastic. The JetBlue cost ranged from $999 to $1,574. American charged $2,797-$3,442 for Flagship Business, $2,905 for Flagship First; Delta started at $3,891 and went as high as $4,928 for a non-refundable fare.
For transcontinental and selected other long-haul domestic service, JetBlue Mint is an attractive alternative to the legacy airlines. The seats, food, beverages, service and entertainment on a par with the competition (if not superior), and the fares are roughly half price.
Source: frugal travel guy