Is this the best domestic first/business class??
The answer: like so many things, it depends. But, I’d say that 90% of the time yes, JetBlue Mint is the best domestic premium cabin travel value out there. Like its competitors, you get a lie-flat seat, priority boarding, and free food and beverage. Unlike most of JetBlue’s competitors, however, on JetBlue you also get free wifi, and rows 2 and 4 are in a 1-1 configuration — each of these 4 ‘suites’ has a door you can close for privacy.That’s more than kind of awesome. This was my third time in Mint, and it made me hope JetBlue turns Seattle into a hub. Here’s why…
In this post...
Reviewed in 30 seconds
How I Got Here
I fly transcon all the time, and certainly in first/business class when it makes sense and/or I get upgraded. Unfortunately, I don’t fly JetBlue that often, so I have no status and earn almost zero points on them. Also, because Mint is sometimes as cheap as economy seats on my less-than-favorite Alaska Airlines (SFO-BOS one-way for $349?!), I wouldn’t even think about spending points on a Mint seat. That said, if you’re so inclined, here are a few ways to fly JetBlue Mint on points:
Additionally, JetBlue is a Chase Ultimate Rewards,American Express Membership Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Rewards transfer partner, so you have tons of cards to choose from. I personally use the following cards on a nearly daily basis:
- Citi® Prestige Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express [for when I actually manage to buy groceries]
This isn’t the place to preach about which cards to get and use when and where, so just know that you pretty much have your pick of Amex/Chase/Citi cards, from entry level to ultra-premium, if you’re looking to transfer over to JetBlue.
This is one area where I feel like JetBlue might fall short. “Even More Speed” is a thing, sure, but it all just feels so average compared to the in-flight Mint experience. Also, paid first class tickets on Alaska get you into their lounges, so why nothing on JetBlue? Of course, I can use Priority Pass or any of the American Express Lounges, but still.
Hard to find much, if anything, to complain about in the Mint Cabin. The flaghship suites are something to behold for a domestic flight, but even rows 1, 3, and 5 offer a spacious and reasonably private experience. Ambient/mood lighting can be an issue with any carrier in any cabin, and while JetBlue falls somewhere on the “we’re cool” end of the spectrum, it isn’t distracting.
Rows 1, 3, and 5 are in a forward-facing 2-2 configuration, while rows 2 and 4 are forward-facing 1-1 config suites, complete with head-height doors that you can close.
Where to Sit
Why they’re priced the same, I will never know, but if you can get 2A, 2F, 4A, or 4F, do it — these are the suites. Other than that, you’ll have more legrom in row 1 and more galley/lav noise in row 5, so choose accordingly. Row 3, as it turns out, is very middle of the road in all respects… 😉
The privacy of the seat is nothing like you experience in the true first class suites of international carriers, but it actually does make a difference. I find I sleep better with the door closed, and overall it’s a less distracting experience, whether you’re working, sleeping, or lounging to a movie or three.
I should note that the adjustable cushion feature sounds like a good idea, but in practice it isn’t; it mostly feels like you’re sitting on top of a deflated basketball. The lumbar support does work, however.
There is plenty of storage in these suite seats, including dedicated shoe, phone, water, and (small) laptop storage. Probably anything larger than a 14″ laptop won’t fit in there, but everything else will.
As I mention in several places in this post, the seat is excellent, but narrow in places. If you take a look at this picture of the seat in bed/lie-flat mode, you’ll notice that it’s not super wide. Did it prevent me from enjoying a nap? No. But, if I were a broad dude instead of a 5’9″ runner/triathlete build, I might actually opt for a window or aisle seat so that I could have some spillover room.
Sleeping in the Seat
It’s not easy for me to sleep on planes, even in a lie-flat seat, but on all of my JetBlue Mint flights I’ve been able to at least take a nice nap. As I mentioned in the 30-second review, the footwell/footrest area is pretty narrow, and in bed mode, roughly the bottom 40% of your body will feel like it’s in a coffin. Kind of reminds me of the Thompson Aero seat in Delta One seat on the 767. Still, it’s a heck of a lot better than your average domestic first class, and the pillow and duvet they give you increase the comfort/coziness level.
Getting work done
The traytable isn’t massive, but I’d say it’s “good enough.” It’s also weirdly shaped like one half of the Mint logo, but I don’t think that’s deliberate. What I really appreciate about working in this seat is the ample table space on either side of the armrests, which make it easy to set your computer aside without closing it while you head to the lav. It also functions as a space for food and beverage if you want to snack while you work (guilty!).
I’d call this a “cozy” seat for lounging. It’s relatively narrow in the shoulders for a first class seat, and the footwell, while deep, is a little restrictive (and I’m only 5’9″). That said, it’s a tradeoff I’d make any day, given the benefits of spending ~6 hours in a seat like this. [off-topic: I can’t recommend smartwool socks highly enough]
Food & Beverage
JetBlue takes a tapas approach to in-flight dining, which I personally like, but I know others who don’t. The benefit for me is there’s more variety, and you can order as much or as little as you want, without wasting food. As with all airline food, it will not blow your socks off, but it does the trick. The red wine I had was decent, and I really did enjoy (two of) the Mint welcome drink as a PDB — I like that they have a signature drink. If that doesn’t tingle your jingle then they offer the usual soft drinks or any other cocktails, both as PDBs and in-flight.
One thing that’s unique to the JetBlue A321 experience is the snack bar immediately behind Mint, across from the lav. Here you’ll find all sorts of soft drinks and snackies, including the world’s most perfect fake cheese snack cracker: the Cheez-It. If I had known I probably would’ve skipped the meal service.
IFE & Video Screen
The screen is adequately sized at 15″, but the resolution is mediocre at best. Content-wise, though JetBlue is doing well; you can stream content from Amazon Prime, watch DirectTV, or play any of the on-demand movies or TV shows available. Any one of those things alone would be very meh, but the three combined makes their offering very competitive IMO. The headphones, though, not so much…while they may be cool-looking, were not that great, so bring your Bose with you…
JetBlue offers a small but thoughtful amenity kit in Mint class. It comes with socks, an eye mask, earplugs, toothbrush & toothpaste, a pen, some mints, lip balm, moisturizer, and a refreshing towelette — all in all a pretty comprehensive amenity kit for your average transcon flight. The moisturizer is single-use, which isn’t a big deal, but it means there’s no saving any for your post-arrival ritual. Also, people might think this is weird, but I appreciate it when airlines put screen cleaners in their amenity kits, because with 3+ devices on me at any given time, they’re bound to get used (and then promptly lost).
Cabin Crew & In-Flight Service
One of the things I love about these younger airlines is their refreshing approach to customer experience. Flying is often not the most pleasant experience around, so what’s with the boring, stodgy approach of the legacy carriers? I don’t get it, and I’m over the world-weary, jaded cabin crews I seem to encounter on a regular basis while flying various arilines. Ok done with that rant…but on each of the 10 or so occasions that I’ve flow JetBlue Mint and economy, I’ve had friendly, energetic cabin crews. I’d also like to note that while this welcome note isn’t personalized, welcome or thank-you notes are a rarity in air travel, period, so this is a nice touch.
The Bottom Line
If you have the opportunity, do not hesitate to fly JetBlue Mint. I’ve flown out of my way to get in the suite seat for the transcon portion of my journey, and would definitely do it again. I wouldn’t spend points on it, but some of the fares I’ve seen and bought have been so cheap that it makes me wonder if it’s one of the best premium cabin values in the sky. I certainly can’t wait for them to add more routes!