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From very comfortable seats to one of the friendliest cabin crews I have encountered, JetBlue offers an amazing hard and soft product with Mint. The Pros: great service, lie-flat seats on a transcon flight. The Cons: in-flight entertainment options could be better.
As you may have noticed, ever since TPG flew JetBlue’s Mint product for the first time, he hasn’t stopped raving about it. In fact, he loved it so much that he decided to give away Mint tickets at a Boston reader event — and I happened to be one of the winners. My elite status with American Airlines means I try to stay loyal to AA, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to experience something different. Since JetBlue is the only carrier to offer lie-flat seats between Los Angeles and my hometown of Boston, the nonstop from LAX to BOS was the flight I decided to redeem my prize for.
Mint is not only known for its great product in the sky but also its competitive pricing. This one-way flight would have cost $599 on JetBlue — I was, of course, flying free thanks to the TPG prize I won — whereas the same flight without a lie-flat seat on American Airlines was going for more than $1,200 at the time.
I was very excited to see that there were seats available in row 2, and quickly chose 2A. Rows 2 and 4 offer the best seats on the plane since you get your own closed-door suite.
Check-in and Boarding
JetBlue was among the 20 airlines at LAX affected by Delta’s terminal move back in May, and now operates out of Terminal 5. At the time, I was able to check in using the designated check-in area for Mint and Mosaic passengers, though I noticed the main line was desolate that Monday morning. The JetBlue staff member there was by far the friendliest check-in agent I have ever encountered and was eager to tell me that I was seated in a suite.
The security area was much busier, though, and it took me 20 minutes to get through the priority line. Instead of having a designated line at security for premium passengers, JetBlue reserves a line for those who have purchased Even More Speed status — it’s free for Mint and Mosaic passengers, but anyone can purchase this privilege for $10. As a result, I found the TSA PreCheck line to be quicker.
Once I finally made it through security, I headed straight to my gate since there is no lounge access for Mint passengers, no matter what route you fly. Flying with Mint meant I was among the first to board the Airbus A321.
Cabin and Seat
The Mint cabin has a total of five rows, but as previously mentioned, only rows 2 and 4 feature closed-door suites.
Waiting at my seat was a signed note from the cabin crew on top of a big pillow and a soft blanket. Personal touches like this can go a long way. Once I was settled in, the two Mint flight attendants, Vanessa and Hector, went around greeting every passenger by name, explaining seat functions and distributing menus.
Overall, I found the touch-operated seat controls to be quite responsive. My only disappointment was with the massage function, which was basically just air inflating and deflating the seat cushions.
I was most intrigued by the number of power outlets the suites offered — including both 110V and USB plugs, I had a total of six outlets to myself.
While I was obviously glad to be in one of the suites, I would not have been too disappointed if I had been seated in one of the 2-2 seats since the dividers provide a fair amount of privacy. I also noticed that the 2-2 seats have slightly larger foot cubbies. Even so, my suite’s cubby did not feel as tight as the one I experienced in business class on American’s A321T.
There was one bathroom at the front of the cabin reserved for Mint passengers and another across from the self-serve bar between Mint and the main cabin that was available for all passengers. The bathroom at the front of the plane was identical to those in the back and there were no special amenities offered in the Mint one.
Soon after push-back, Vanessa and Hector came back around to distribute the new amenity kits in natural cotton canvas bags made by Hayward and Hopper. Besides a difference in scents — the men’s Hopper kit came with a lemon towelette, peppermint flavored mints and spearmint lip balm; the women’s Hayward kit came with an orange towelette, cinnamon flavored mints and vanilla lip balm — both contained the same items, including an eye mask, socks, a dental kit, body lotion, lip balm, a towelette, mints, earplugs and a unique screen cloth.
I asked for and was promptly given Grado Labs SR60e Prestige Series headphones. Though not noise-cancelling, like the Bose ones American provides, I found these to be perfectly fine.
My one real disappointment with Mint was its in-flight entertainment system. On each seat-back, there was a 15-inch screen with live TV and satellite radio. Instead of offering movies on demand, there were four films playing on a loop, though this is not the case with JetBlue’s newer aircraft.
Fortunately, JetBlue offers all passengers complimentary in-flight Wi-Fi. With no premium options offered, I didn’t know what to expect from this free service, but found speeds to be superior to Gogo. Passengers can also use the Wi-Fi to stream content via Amazon Video.
Food and Beverage
Before takeoff, passengers were offered the signature JetBlue RefreshMint pre-departure beverage, a honey-infused limeade with fresh mint that can be made with or without vodka. I went for the virgin limeade and ended up liking it so much that I ordered another one later on during the flight.
JetBlue is known for having the best domestic in-flight meals. You get to choose three out of five tapas options, all inspired by the New York City restaurant Saxon + Parole. The menu changes monthly and is always available for viewing on JetBlue’s website.
For brunch, I chose the Asian pear salad, overnight oats and sun-blushed tomato omelet. All three plates were fresh and flavorful.
Once that tray was cleared, I was offered locally sourced artisanal ice cream — flights leaving Los Angeles get it from Coolhaus — and the choice of an espresso beverage. The flavors of ice cream are always a surprise, and the Tahitian Vanilla Bean and Banana Foster flavors I was served did not disappoint.
While most airlines are cutting in-flight service for those sitting in the back, JetBlue continues to offer a generous selection of snacks and drinks. Between the Mint and main cabin, there was a self-serve bar that all passengers could help themselves to, which included sweet and salty snacks as well as soft drinks and water bottles.
As we were beginning our descent, Vanessa and Hector came around the cabin one last time to distribute a parting gift of Milk Bar cookies.
My first Mint flight was truly an amazing experience. I had high expectations coming in, but am happy to report that they were exceeded. TPG was definitely right for calling Mint the best domestic business-class product. From very comfortable seats to one of the friendliest cabin crews I have encountered, JetBlue offers an amazing hard and soft product with Mint. It’s the only carrier to offer lie-flat seats between Los Angeles and Boston — and the competition definitely needs to up its game.
Have you flown the Boston-to-Los Angeles JetBlue Mint route? Tell us about your experience, below.
All photos by the author.
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