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A business-class boost: Reviewing JetBlue's new Mint Suite

June 05, 2021
18 min read
A business-class boost: Reviewing JetBlue's new Mint Suite
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[tpg_rating ticket-class="business" tpg-rating-score="83" ground-experience="13" cabin-seat="23" amens-ife="13" food-bev="20" service="14" pros="Private suite, high-tech touches, incredible soft product." cons="Seat can feel tight, unreliable Wi-Fi, broken remote control." /]

Welcome to the suite life. And no, I’m not talking about a hotel room.

Instead, JetBlue’s brand-new Mint business class is now flying in an all-suite configuration.

The New York-based carrier first unveiled the next-generation product back in February, and like its TPG Award-winning predecessor, the second-generation of Mint features two types of seats.

In JetBlue’s original biz cabin, seats alternated between a 2-2 and 1-1 configuration, with four lucky flyers scoring a private suite.

Mint 2.0 gives everyone a private suite with a sliding door. Thanks to its 1-1 arrangement, the new Mint is noticeably more private and spacious.

If you’re looking for the utmost personal space, you’ll want to snag one of the two “studios” in the bulkhead row 1. The extra space comes at an added cost, but it could definitely be worth the upcharge for longer trips.

When JetBlue’s new Mint entered service on June 1, I sat — and reviewed — one of the studios on the inaugural from New York-JFK to Los Angeles (LAX).

For the return to my home in New York City, I flew the following day in a standard Mint suite. Read on for how it went.

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Booking

Booking a ticket in the new Mint will require a bit of patience and persistence.

For now, the airline’s got just one jet flying with the new Mint, an Airbus A321neo registered N2105J and christened “a NEO Mintality.”

The A321LD, as it's referred to internally, is being deployed exclusively between JFK and Los Angeles on select frequencies. More of these jets are expected to be delivered in the coming months, so it’s possible JetBlue expands the new Mint’s footprint beyond this route.

To see if your flight will feature the new Mint, check the seat map and look for the 1-1 configuration in the pointy end of the plane.

When JetBlue first announced the inaugural, I quickly booked a one-way ticket home in the Mint suite.

The fare totaled $877.40, and I purchased it using the Platinum Card® from American Express to maximize the card’s 5x bonus on airfare.

(Screenshot courtesy of JetBlue)

Though you can redeem JetBlue TrueBlue points for Mint, I’d recommend saving them for more valuable economy redemptions. TPG values TrueBlue points at 1.3 cents per point, but Mint redemptions typically hover around 25% below our valuations.

As a Mosaic elite member, I earned 3x base points, 3x Mosaic bonus points and a 3x direct booking bonus for the one-way ticket, totaling roughly 7,200 TrueBlue points, worth $94 according to TPG’s valuations.

When booking the new Mint cabin, you’ll have a choice between the Mint suite or an upsell to the studio. The additional collection for the studio on the JFK to LAX route is currently $199, and you can read my full review to see if you think it’s worth it.

Though JetBlue’s new Mint cabin is currently only available on the A321LD, it’ll make its way to London when the carrier’s first transatlantic flights launch on Aug. 11 onboard the A321LR, or long-range.

[flight_stats ticket-class="first" review-stat-section="Ground Experience" tpg-rating="13" tpg-rating-max="20" tail="N2105J" departure="15" departure-2="15" duration="5" duration-2="15" live-tv="0" tailcam="0" headphones="0" comp-alcohol="0" extra-pillows="0" turndown-service="0" /]

My afternoon with JetBlue began at LAX’s Terminal 5.

I quickly found the carrier’s empty ticket counter and received my printed boarding pass moments after stepping into the dedicated Mint and Mosaic priority check-in queue.

From there, it was only a short walk to security. Both the Clear and Precheck lanes were open when I visited, and I was airside shortly thereafter.

I arrived with about an hour to spare before boarding, so after quickly peeking at Gate 50, I made a beeline for the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) to check out the new Amex Centurion Lounge that I reviewed just before the pandemic.

Unfortunately, the lounge is still closed for indoor seating. Instead, the issuer is offering a selection of takeaway sandwiches, so I picked one up and retraced my steps to the gate.

I accessed the Centurion Lounge with the Amex Platinum Card — JetBlue doesn’t operate any lounges, nor does it offer any lounge access with its partners.

I also hold a Priority Pass membership, so I could’ve theoretically visited the Alaska Lounge in Terminal 6. I wanted to be one of the first onboard though, so I just waited patiently at the gate.

You wouldn’t have been able to tell that the plane was about to operate its fourth-ever commercial flight. There was just one inflight entertainment engineer who was visibly excited about trying the new cabin. The rest of the passengers were just ready to get to New York.

Boarding began promptly at 2:16 p.m. local time, and I was back onboard “a NEO Mintality” roughly 24 hours since parting ways after the inaugural.

You’ll notice that the ground experience in this review scores higher than the outbound from New York. Though JetBlue doesn’t offer lounge access, LAX has a plethora of airside membership lounges that are easily accessible with the right credit cards.

[flight_stats ticket-class="first" review-stat-section="Cabin and Seat" tpg-rating="23" tpg-rating-max="30" configuration="1" configuration-2="1" width="22" bed="78" tray="17" tray-2="12" lavs="1" live-tv="0" tailcam="0" headphones="0" comp-alcohol="0" extra-pillows="0" turndown-service="0" /]

JetBlue’s new Mint business class is outfitted in a 1-1 configuration, meaning that every seat is a private suite.

The two pods in row one are designated as studios, and offer added space, more storage, a larger 22-inch TV and more for an additional charge on top of the standard Mint fare.

For this leg, I was flying “in the back.”

The standard Mint suites occupy rows 2 through 8, and all suites seats are roughly identical. They’re each based on the Thompson VantageSolo seat and customized exclusively for JetBlue.

The only difference between suites is the number of windows and location within the cabin.

I selected suite 8F, the last row seat on the starboard side of the plane. This way, I’d get a good overview of the cabin and service flow without disrupting other passengers with my photography. Note that row 8 is missing a window, which surprisingly didn’t bother this aviation enthusiast all that much.

Despite the aisle-facing herringbone configuration, I was still able to gaze out the sole window without needing to twist my neck too much.

Though I didn’t mind the missing window, I’ll still avoid row 8 going forward.

The proximity to the lavatory and walk-up pantry was bothersome. The bathroom door kept opening and closing, allowing the noxious odors to spread quickly to my seat.

Additionally, the line for the lavatory often spilled into Mint cabin, which could get uncomfortable since you’re facing the aisle.

When I flew in the studio on the inaugural, I noted that the bulkhead location means that you get an up-close view of the crew working in the galley.

Row 8 was the exact opposite — I couldn’t’ve been further from the crew, which would definitely be my preference on red-eye flights.

That’s why I’ll likely choose a suite in row 6 or 7 going forward — far from both the crew and the mid-cabin lavatory.

As for the seat itself, it measures 22 inches wide, which was definitely large enough for my average-sized frame.

One drawback to a herringbone configuration is that the seat can feel a bit claustrophobic. Despite comfortably fitting into the seat, I felt a bit cramped around my shoulders when reclining.

The feeling of claustrophobia is exacerbated by the fact that neither of the seat’s armrests can be raised or lowered. I personally couldn’t find a comfortable position for my elbows while working in the reclined position.

Speaking of working, the tray table swivels out from underneath the side table at the push of a button. It measures 17 inches wide and 12 inches long, plenty large for my 13-inch MacBook Pro.

In terms of storage, you’ll find a narrow tray that slides out from below the seat-back monitor. It comfortably fit my laptop and some cords, but it wasn’t deep enough to store my charging brick.

There’s a second enclosed storage area to the right of the seat. This triangle-shaped compartment was large enough to store my glasses and other loose items.

You can also leave some larger items on the side table, but be sure that they don’t move around during turbulence.

There are two places to store your shoes during the flight, either in the exposed compartment underneath the seat’s ottoman or in the purpose-built container on the side of the seat.

You’ll find the ease-to-use seat controls at elbow level. As you’d expect for a brand-new plane, the buttons were incredibly responsive. Despite inadvertently bumping into the seat controls with my arm, the panel only responded to my fingers, thankfully.

Perhaps the biggest improvement in the new Mint is that each suite features a sliding door for added privacy.

Though the door rises just 44 inches from the ground, it was a great way to avoid staring at my aisle-mate throughout the flight.

The attention to detail on the pod’s walls creates an elevated and luxurious feeling, similar to the design of the doors in Qatar’s Qsuite.

Each Mint seat converts into a lie-flat bed at the touch of a button.

When fully reclined, the bed measures 76 inches long. My nearly six-foot frame fit perfectly, but taller passengers will likely have a harder time getting comfortable.

The footwell area could pose a problem for those with long feet — it’s just 13 inches tall.

The bed itself did the trick for an hour-long nap before landing. I was tired, so it wasn’t too hard to fall asleep. I’ll reserve full judgment until I try the bed on a red-eye hop.

However, if you’re a side sleeper or get claustrophobic in tight spaces, you’ll likely have a much harder time sleeping in the new Mint suite. Because of the seat’s configuration, there’s limited space to wiggle around at hip and knee level.

I did appreciate that the bed was well-padded thanks to the built-in Tuft & Needle mattress pad. It’s a night-and-day difference from the inflatable cushions in the legacy Mint seats.

There’s one standard-sized lavatory for Mint passengers at the front of the cabin, as well as one shared with coach flyers next to the snack bar behind row 8.

All in all, the Mint suite is a considerable improvement compared to the legacy product. The seats are significantly more private, offer more storage and are decked out with modernized touches.

Though it doesn’t win the transcon war — that title goes to the Mint studio — it brings a top-notch seat to an incredibly competitive market. If you don’t get too claustrophobic, you can’t go wrong with the new Mint suite.

[flight_stats ticket-class="first" review-stat-section="Amenities and IFE" tpg-rating="13" tpg-rating-max="15" screen="18" movies="145" tv-shows="89" live-tv="Yes" tailcam="No" wifi="1" wifi-2="70" headphones="0" comp-alcohol="0" extra-pillows="0" turndown-service="0" /]

JetBlue’s Mint suite is decked out with tons of flyer-friendly amenities.

Waiting at my seat during boarding was the carrier’s new Wanderfuel-branded amenity kit. We were given the renewal-themed kit, which included an assortment of trendy products like Supergoop everyday cream and Mist Lumion’s facial mist.

The snooze kit, which includes an eye mask, earplugs and dental kit, was also waiting at my seat.

Each seat is equipped with two AC power outlets, one USB-A and one USB-C port, which is capable of charging devices at higher speeds than the older USB standard.

There’s also a Qi wireless charging mat built into the side of the seat. Finding the right alignment to charge my iPhone wasn’t easy, but I had no problem wirelessly charging my AirPods case.

Every Mint suite comes with a Tuft & Needle pillow and blanket, which are both quite comfortable for a transcon business-class flight.

JetBlue’s inflight entertainment system is one of the most robust in the skies. Plus, it’s entirely free, even in coach.

Mint suites each feature a 17-inch high-definition television, which swivels toward the seat. It can be tilted downwards for easy viewing while in bed. Plus, it can be used during taxi, takeoff and landing without needing to be locked into its original position.

JetBlue uses a Thales-powered IFE system, which is loaded with 145 movies and 89 TV shows, as well as over 100 live DirecTV channels. With on-demand play-and-pause functionality, you’ll never miss that important scene.

You have three options for controlling the television. You can either use your fingers, wirelessly pair your phone as a remote or use the seat’s built-in remote control. Unfortunately, the physical remote isn’t currently working in the Mint suite cabin, though the carrier is aware of the issue and working on a fix.

JetBlue’s latest IFE software also includes a personalization feature that some have called “creepy.” It asks you to verify your name and date of birth, before linking with your frequent flyer account to pull your recommended picks.

While the system has worked for me in the past, I was misidentified on this flight. No, I hadn’t changed my name to Richard.

Though you’re welcome to bring your own headphones, JetBlue provides a pair of above-average Master and Dynamic noise-isolating ones for your use during flight.

Though JetBlue’s A321LD is equipped with the latest ViaSat-2 satellite receiver, the plane’s Wi-Fi network wasn’t working as seamlessly as you’d expect.

Just like the inaugural the day before, the network was spotty at best, and I had trouble connecting to some apps like Slack and Outlook. Others worked just fine, like browsing the web or scrolling through my Instagram feed.

Despite the connectivity hiccups, I managed to capture multiple speed tests with downloads blazing past 70 Mbps and uploads around 1 Mbps.

Once JetBlue fixes the network issue, this plane will provide some of the best inflight speeds you’ll find in the sky. The best part? JetBlue’s Wi-Fi is free for all passengers, not just those seated in Mint.

[flight_stats ticket-class="first" review-stat-section="Food and Beverage" tpg-rating="20" tpg-rating-max="20" live-tv="0" tailcam="0" headphones="0" meals="1" champagne="Parigot & Richard Cremant De Bourgogne" dine-on-demand="Yes" comp-alcohol="0" extra-pillows="0" turndown-service="0" /]

Despite setting a very high bar the day before, JetBlue’s food and beverage service consistently knocks it out of the park.

Even since JetBlue introduced its refreshed Mint “soft product” in November 2020, it’s been hard to find a better meal in the sky, and in some cases on the ground, than in the carrier’s biz cabin.

The carrier’s budding partnership with New York-based Delicious Hospitality Group (DHG) just received a revamp to coincide with the carrier’s big lie-flat launch: JetBlue’s now serving food from a DHG staple, Pasquale Jones. Previously, the menu features highlights from Charlie Bird, another DHG restaurant.

Menus were waiting at the seat during boarding, and flight attendants came through the aisles once we crossed 10,000 feet to take our orders.

The Mint fare is served tapas-style, with a choice of three out of five small plates. On this flight, I selected the burrata, warm tomato tart and sea trout.

Though I raved about my food on the inaugural, this was even better.

The burrata was served with a delectable basil and mint accompaniment, and it was topped with charred zucchini and a generous topping of pine nuts.

While JetBlue's serving one of the most expensive nuts in the air — seriously, Costco sells a bag of pine nuts for over $30 — its competitors are only now starting to ramp up meal service once again with far less appetizing or expensive choices.

The tomato tart was also incredible — the flavor contrast between the warm cherry tomatoes and the melted goat cheese was a hit with my taste buds.

Though the fish was cooked just a tad too much for my liking, the bean puree and tomato accompaniment blended together perfectly to give the dish a savory kick.

Dessert, in the form of a satisfying vanilla bean gelato with rhubarb and cake crumble, was served on the same tray with dinner.

It wasn’t just the restaurant-quality taste or presentation that wins JetBlue a perfect score. The carrier’s drink offerings continue to impress as well.

I tried both signature cocktails on this flight — the mint condition and the black maple old-fashioned — and enjoyed them both throughout my meal.

Fives wines, picked by the sommeliers at Parcelle, were available as well, but I stuck to soft drinks and cocktails for the ride back home.

In addition to refreshing cocktails, JetBlue’s non-alcoholic choices are quite impressive. Mint flyers can sip on espressos from Brooklyn Roasting, coffee from Dunkin’ and an assortment of teas from Teapigs, in addition to Pepsi-branded soft drinks.

Plus, the carrier stocks oat milk for those looking for a trendy non-dairy milk alternative.

JetBlue’s A321LD features a walk-up self-serve pantry with drinks and snacks for both Mint and coach flyers, but it’s currently closed for added safety due to the pandemic.

[flight_stats ticket-class="first" review-stat-section="Service" tpg-rating="14" tpg-rating-max="15" live-tv="0" tailcam="0" headphones="0" comp-alcohol="0" extra-pillows="No" turndown-service="No" /]

The service on this flight couldn’t have been better.

As I walked onto the plane, I recognized James and Tara — the same flight attendants who served the Mint cabin on the inaugural the day before.

James remembered my food preferences (no meat) and was happy to bring me a second serving of fish when I remarked that it was one of the best seafood dishes I’ve had in the air. (The other one that comes to mind is the Balik salmon I was served in Swiss first class.)

By selecting the last row, I had a birds-eye view of the service flow. Both flight attendants worked together seamlessly, with Tara plating the dishes in the galley and James doing the serving.

While service on the inaugural felt disjointed, this was the exact opposite — the crew hustled, and the meal was delivered roughly an hour after takeoff, despite me being the last one in the cabin to receive my food.

It seems like it won’t take long for crews to learn the new cabin and service flow.

I’m continually impressed by the first-class touches that JetBlue incorporates into the Mint experience, like cocktails that are shaken and poured at your seat and a hand-written thank you card at the end of the flight.

Though the crew’s service was flawless on this sector, JetBlue could consider implementing two service-related adjustments as Mint evolves.

The first is prioritizing meal orders by elite status. By sitting in the last row, I had the last pick at the remaining small plates. Fortunately, the galley was well stocked and I received my preference, but the carrier could consider taking orders from Mosaic elites before going around to the rest of the cabin — a practice common at some of the legacy carriers.

The second is installing a cabin divider between Mint and core. Though the carrier has shied away from installing a curtain between cabins — JetBlue’s mission is to “bring humanity to air travel” — the crew kept asking coach passengers to avoid standing in the Mint cabin while waiting for the lavatory.

Some premium-cabin passengers might find those disturbances to be annoying, especially during red-eye flights.

Bottom line

JetBlue's new Mint business class is a big improvement compared to the original product.

Thanks to its 1-1 configuration, every pod is an individual suite, with added privacy from a sliding door. The suite is decked out with a host of high-tech touches, like wireless charging pads, large high-definition screens, two power outlets and more.

Plus, the airline's refreshed food and beverage service shines in the new cabin.

The one notable downside to the new cabin is that the seat can feel claustrophobic due to the herringbone configuration.

If that's a deal-breaker for you, then I'd consider upgrading to the Mint studio. If not, you'll have a great flight living your best suite life.

All photos by Zach Griff/The Points Guy. Screenshots courtesy of JetBlue.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023