Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, I enjoyed a wonderful trip to New York City and the Caribbean islands of Anguilla and St Martin. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350 Upper Class from London to New York
- Review: 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, New York City
- Review: TWA Hotel at JFK Airport, New York City
- Review: Jetblue Airbus A321 Business Class (Mint) from New York to St Maarten (today)
- Review: KLM Airbus A330 Business Class from Amsterdam to St Maarten
- Review: Bemond La Samanna, St Martin
- Review: Belmond Cap Juluca, Anguilla
- Review: Four Seasons Resort Anguilla
- Review: Delta Airbus A350 Business Class from Detroit to Amsterdam
Today (January 20, 2021): Review of JetBlue’s Business Class (Mint)
Last year, I flew in Business Class onboard a JetBlue Airbus A321 from New York to the Caribbean island of St Maarten. Although JetBlue is known as a low-cost carrier, the airline offers a terrific Business Class product – called Mint – which is only available on select Airbus A321 aircraft. In 2014, JetBlue rocked the airline industry with the introduction of the world’s first fully enclosed Business Class suites with sliding doors (before the Delta One Suite and QSuite). Initially, the Mint product was only available on transcontinental flights (New York to San Francisco and Los Angeles), but since then, JetBlue has expanded its Mint service to flights from other cities (e.g. Boston) and to select Caribbean destinations. The excellent Mint hard product is complemented by intuitive onboard dining and exciting entertainment offerings (including live TV and free WiFi).
Have you ever flown with JetBlue? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
- Trip: New York (JFK) to St Maarten (SXM)
- Airline: JetBlue
- Aircraft type: Airbus A321
- Aircraft registration number: N985JT (nicknamed Minterial Girl)
- On time departure: No (12 pm; + 2 hours due to engine oil leak)
- On time arrival: No (4.30 pm; + 2 hours)
- Miles: 1680 mi
- Flight time: 3 hours and 30 minutes
- Seat: 2F
- Class: Business Class (Mint)
In this review (more information & photos below my YouTube clip & slideshow):
- Cost of my ticket
- About JetBlue
- Business Class cabin
- Business Class seat (+ best & worst seats)
- Amenities & bedding
- Onboard internet
- Other inflight experiences
- My verdict (score)
1. COST OF MY TICKET
I paid $ 425 USD for my one way ticket from New York to St Maarten (including taxes). I booked the ticket directly on the JetBlue website.
2. ABOUT JETBLUE
JetBlue was founded in 1999 by Brazilian-American entrepreneur David Neeleman and based on the success formula of Southwest Airlines. Today, JetBlue is so much more than a low-cost carrier, offering seatback screens at every seat, a decent amount of leg room, free brand-name snacks and drinks, free onboard WiFi, live TV and an excellent Business Class product (called ‘Mint’).
JetBlue carries more than 38 million customers a year to over 100 cities in the USA, Caribbean, and Latin America with a fleet of Airbus A320 & A321 and Embaer E190 planes. The airline has its main base at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, although JetBlue is also a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan.
JetBlue is New York’s “hometown airline” and the largest airline at JFK Airport, accounting for 30% of all passenger traffic. The carrier uses Terminal 5 at JFK Airport, a building which has a context of historic significance as it sits directly adjacent to the iconic TWA Flight Center, designed by Eero Saarinen and currently housing the TWA Hotel. JetBlue does not have a lounge at JFK Airport (nor at any of its other airports), which is a pity since its onboard Business Class product is terrific and it’s a remarkable contrast with its main competitors (American, Delta and United).
3. BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
JetBlue calls its Business Class ‘Mint’, a product which is only available on select Airbus A321 aircraft. The Mint cabin is located in the plane’s front section and features 16 leather-upholstered Business Class seats spread over 5 rows. There are three rows with seats arranged in a 2-2 layout (the first, third, and last row); these seats are great for couples and travel companions. The other two rows feature seats in a 1-1 configuration, and these seats – called “throne” seats – are by far the best seats in the Mint cabin; they come with their own sliding door, transforming the seat space into a suite and offering a level of privacy unmatched on a narrow-body aircraft.
Click here for a seat map of JetBlue’s A321.
4. BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (+ BEST & WORST SEATS)
The four ‘throne seats’ in JetBlue’s Mint cabin (in row 2 and 4) are the best Business Class seats in the aircraft for the following reasons:
- The throne seats are equipped with a sliding door (not available at the other seats). Although only 42 inches (1 m) high, these doors transforms the throne seats into private suites, providing a great level of privacy.
- The throne seats have several storage compartments while the other Business Class seats lack any real storage space.
- The throne seats are the widest seats on average in the USA domestic market. They feature generous dimensions with a pitch of 60 inches (152 cm) and a width of 22 inches (56 cm). For comparison: the other Business Class seats in JetBlue’s Mint cabin have a pitch of 58 inches (147 cm) and are 20,5 inches (52 cm) wide.
The throne seat is flanked by a counter on both sides: the seat’s window side has a large counter with four power outlets and a dedicated shoe storage underneath, while the counter on the seat’s aisle side features two power ports and easy-to-use seat & entertainment controls. There’s also a large console on the seat’s aisle side, with straps on the outside (to keep smaller items in place) as well as a reading light and bottle holder. On the inside, the console holds a storage compartment to stow away personal items. The tray table is hidden in the console’s side wall: it folds down from the enclosed storage area and measures 18 x 12 inches (46 x 28 cm).
In front of the seat is a 15-inch flat TV screen with a footwell underneath. Measuring 15 x 11 inches (38 x 28 cm), the footwell feels spacious and becomes part of the flat bed once the seat is fully reclined. The fully lie-flat bed measures up to 6’ 8” (203cm), the longest in the USA market. The bed features air cushions with adjustable firmness and massage function.
What are the best Business Class seats in JetBlue’s Mint Class. Click here for a seat map.
- Unless you’re traveling with someone you really want to sit next to, you should select one of the throne seats in rows 2 & 4. They offer more privacy (because of a sliding door) and feel more spacious. JetBlue doesn’t charge any extra to assign these seats.
What are the worst Business Class seats in JetBlue’s Mint Class. Click here for a seat map.
- As a solo traveler, you want to avoid the paired seats in row 1, 3 and 5. There is a small privacy divider between these paired seats, but not deep enough to create a true feeling of personal space. Also, these seats have a small shared center armrest, which might be akward when seated next to a stranger.
5. AMENITIES & BEDDING
JetBlue’s Mint passengers receive the following amenities:
- An amenity kit – designed by Hayward – which holds a dental kit, earplugs, eyeshades, socks, and Hudson Made toiletries.
- A pair of open-backed Grado Labs SR60e noise-cancelling headphones
- A thick pillow and warm blanket
JetBlue’s meal service stands out from most of its USA competitors. The carrier offers a pre-departure drink and hot towel upon boarding, followed by a cocktail and amuse-bouche once airborne. I chose JetBlue’s signature honey-infused limeade as a welcome drink, which was a refreshing cocktail of vodka, lime, mint and club soda.
The airline has partnered with the popular New York City-based restaurant Saxon + Parole to curate its onboard menu. Mint travelers can customize their meal by choosing three dishes among five “comfort food with a twist” offerings, served tapas-style, followed by dessert. For example, the breakfast menu during my flight read as follows:
- Fresh fruit: papaya, mango, pineapple, and strawberry
- Chia seed pudding, with coconut milk, strawberry-rhubarb compote, nuts, seeds
- Cheese & cold cuts: black forest ham, capicola, genoa salami, gouda, Vermont cheddar, crackers
- Panettone bread pudding, with cinnamon creme anglaise, golden raisins, apricots, and pecans
- Zucchini frittata, with feta, parmesan, cheddar, and harissa aioli
The tapas – I choose the fruit, pudding and frittata – tasted excellent, although portions were a bit on the small side. Fresh cappuccino and espresso made from the first purposely built cappuccino machine for a USA airline were also available throughout the flight. Between the Economy & Business Class cabin was also a pantry, a self-serve station full of snacks, sodas and water for passengers to enjoy at their convenience throughout the flight (this free inflight snack bar is only available on JetBlue’s A321 aircraft equipped with a Mint cabin).
JetBlue’s inflight entertainment program offers an excellent content, with 100 channels of live TV and 100+ channels of SiriusXM radio. The entertainment selection is of high quality and includes premium content from Showtime, HBO, Disney and FOX. The only cons are that the TV screens in the Mint cabin are not high-definition and the flight map doesn’t feature customizable views, so the IFE system in Mint is definitely showing its age and could use an update.
8. ONBOARD INTERNET
JetBlue offers free, high-speed WiFi at every seat.
9. OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES
# CREW: the cabin crew on this flight was utterly friendly. They noticed I was taking a lot of photos and felt proud to show off the excellent Mint product.
# LAVATORY: There are two lavatories for the 16 Business Class passengers: one in the front of the cabin (behind the cockpit), which is for the exclusive use of Mint passengers, and one in the back of the Mint cabin (across the snack bar), which is shared with Economy Class passengers.
# VIEWS: Clear skies allowed for great views for most of the journey.
10. MY VERDICT
- Seat comfort (upright): 9/10
- Seat comfort (bed position): 9/10
- Food (quality): 8/10
- Food (quantity): 6/10
- Inflight entertainment : 9/10
- WiFi: 10/10
- Service: 9/10
- Cabin design: 8/10
- Overall experience: excellent – 8,6/10