I recently flew Mint on one of JetBlue’s new A321 aircraft from JFK to San Francisco. Mint class is JetBlue’s competitive solution to DL, AA, UA and Virgin’s premium offerings in the busy JFK-LAX/SFO market. The Mint cabin has 16 lie flat seats in the front of the aircraft, in which 4 of the seats are “suites” with a sliding door that offer more space and privacy. The “suites” are available at no extra charge and are free to select on the seat map at time of booking if available.
Boarding was easy with customers seated in Mint invited to board the aircraft first. As I boarded the A321, the new plane smell was the first thing that hit me…followed by the warm welcome from a member of the inflight crew. As I took to my seat, I was slightly star struck at the look and feel of the Mint cabin, I couldn’t believe this was JetBlue! The look was very sleek with the black leather seats and the blue accent lighting. When I took my “suite” seat I had a signed card welcoming me, along with a pillow and blanket kit, ear plugs, eye shades and a set of headphones. Within minutes I was greeted by a member of the cabin crew again welcoming me and asking if this was my first time in Mint. This being my first time in Mint, the crew member gave me an overview of the seats controls, storage areas, IFE operation, and explained the tapas style menu. She also offered me a welcome aboard cocktail – the Mint signature cocktail with or without vodka. I chose the signature drink with vodka and it was hands down the best cocktail I had ever been served on an airplane. It’s basically a mojito with a hint of honey and garnished with (you guessed it) fresh mint.
Shortly after takeoff the meal and beverage service began. You are offered a starter and can then select three small plates off the tapas style menu that was developed with the restaurant Saxon + Parole of New York City. I choose the corn custard and poached lobster, bison meatloaf, and roasted Atlantic cod. My Grey Goose and soda arrived with the starter (more like amuse-bouche) which was a spicy deviled egg. The egg was very good and a nice alternative to the usual nuts you might receive before lunch is served. My main courses all came served together with a piece of cold rosemary bread. The cod and meatloaf were both very good and full of flavor, but the corn custard and lobster was amazing! It really was one of the best things I had ever had been served on a US domestic flight. I enjoyed it so much that I used the cold bread to clean every bit off of the dish. When the flight attendant came to ask how I was enjoying my meal, I told her how much I had enjoyed the custard and she offered me a second portion. I politely declined and played it safe with a glass of sparkling wine. Dessert was a seasonal fresh fruit plate along with organic ice cream from Brooklyn’s Blue Marble organic ice cream shop. I declined the dessert offering (still summer for a few more weeks) and instead got my fruit portion from an Angry Orchard hard cider.
After lunch I settled into my seat, closed my sliding door, and started to get familiar with all of the seat functions. The seat was very comfortable in all positions and offered a back massage option along with controls for firmness and softness. It wasn’t until plugging in my iPhone that I noticed that I had 6 outlets along with more storage than my NYC apartment. Overall the seat was very comfortable and the length and width of the seat when fully flat was excellent for sleeping. The quality of the blanket and pillow were also very good and the sliding door offered privacy when in sleep mode.
The IFE consists of 100 channels of live satellite TV, satellite radio, and movies that play on loop. The IFE seems a little outdated when compared to other airlines in the premium market that offer content on demand, but with 100 channels of live TV, I had plenty to entertain myself. Wi-Fi is also available on JetBlue and you can put the credit card away because it’s free for all customers. Called Fly-Fi it’s advertised as the fastest Wi-Fi in the sky. You can upgrade to a faster bandwidth version of Fly-Fi for 10 dollars more, but the free version worked great. I was able to stream a couple of shows on my iPhone with no issue and upload pictures to Facebook. Programing is also available on “The Hub”, which is the landing page when you connect to Fly-Fi, they offer some fun educational how to videos and some content from the New York Times.
Some other uniquely JetBlue amenities onboard were the self-service snack bar, departing gift, and amenity kit. Don’t get excited, it’s nothing like the bar on Emirates, but it’s still a really nice touch (and nicer than Delta’s snack bar..basket). It is located between the Mint and main cabin and is stocked with a variety of snacks and beverages that are chilled in a refrigerator. It’s open to all customers, though snacks and beverages can still be ordered to your seat. The amenity kit is a Birchbox design for Mint customers that had a variety of samples in it. They offer two different boxes one for men and a different box for woman, the only thing I wish it had included were a toothbrush and maybe some mouthwash. Lastly they passed out a small box about an hour before landing, it contained a brownie and two chocolate chip cookies from Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery in NYC. Having skipped dessert, I opened my box and ordered a cappuccino (they have an espresso machine onboard). The brownie was so good that I immediately did a google search to find the nearest bakery location.
Overall the Mint experience was great! I felt like I was in business class on an international carrier to Europe, my only complaint was that the flight wasn’t longer.
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