Some flights really can be more than just a flight, they can be an experience in hospitality. This was one of them.
After years and years of flying business class on legacy airlines, that’s exactly what this was, and nothing less. The “Mint” seat is no longer new, but everything about JetBlue “Mint” business class is a breath of fresh air, and everything about it made me want more of it, in more places, and right now. Here’s a detailed review of the experience on board.
I had just come off a long transcontinental flight from New York to LA a day before on a legacy US airline and while there was nothing wrong, there wasn’t all that much right with the experience. By the time I got on board JetBlue, I was tired, a bit over my travels and ready for a breather. In the end, I got one.
Within seconds of boarding, I was proverbially touched by an angel. Sorry, had to slip that reference in. Before you click away with doubt in your mind, I’m talking about a cabin crew member named Angel, who was probably the greatest cabin crew member I’ve ever encountered, who set the tone for the experience.
For the 5 hour journey, I had a chance to imagine what flying must have been like in the supposed golden age of service. We’ll get back to her, and Carrie her fantastic partner in service shortly.
Everyone in business class has kinda already won in the grand scheme of things, at least for the duration of the flight, but there are levels within levels when it comes to JetBlue Mint. The ultimate win: a throne seat.
Every Mint seat reclines into a fully flat bed with over 6’1” of room when fully flat, but even numbered rows (2, 4) offer “throne” seats without a neighbour next to you, and no one to step over. This is an instant upgrade over most legacy airline business class setups, with the exception of some Delta One planes.
While some seats are style over function, this was anything but. A “throne” seat on JetBlue Mint features no fewer than 3 AC power outlets and 3 USB charging ports. Unlike many seating setups they are placed within easy reach, but away from any part of you which may brush them out of place and dislodge them while you rest.
There’s a remote to control the television screen, which is a bit antiquated but now that I’ve gotten that little tidbit out there, we’re already past the only downside to mint. Literally – the only thing that could be better would be a retrofit of faster and more modern entertainment screens. If they do that, the experience will jump ahead another light year.
Fine touches, like bedding and amenities didn’t disappoint either. The pillow and duvet were of an excellent standard and the amenity kit had everything I needed to freshen up ahead of a TV slot I was scheduled for less than 30 minutes after landing. Thanks to an early arrival, that wasn’t nearly as terrifying as it might have otherwise been.
The Food And Drinks
Airlines love to tote chef partnerships, but they rarely translate to much worth speaking about. This was a definite exception. JetBlue has partnered with New York restaurant staple ‘Saxon & Parole’ to create a diverse menu in their signature light bites style. Basically, you can pick any three menu items plus any extra snacks.
After days of airplane food, I was delighted to see light, healthy but also flavourful vegetarian options like the sweet potato salad, and the Asian pear alternative. The greens were fresh, the dressings were zippy and the ingredients were treated and plated with care. It was real, nourishing food and didn’t leave me feeling like I’d been in the air for five hours.
Of course, the Milk Bar cookie was very much appreciated too.
As far as drinks, there’s the signature “Mint” cocktail and also a nice selection of wine and beer. It’s nothing to go shouting to your friends about, but it’s all lovely and chosen with care. Contrary to popular belief, I hardly ever drink on planes unless it is something to shout to your friends about, so I abstained on this occasion.
On seat, the JetBlue Mint experience is on the podium for best US business class, teetering between first and second. On food and drinks, it’s probably somewhere around there too. But While I have had many great cabin crews on airlines operating flagship transcontinental services, none so much as hold a candle to Angel and Carrie.
It all starts with that signature hand signed note from both crew members working the forward cabin.
Angel was like something from the movies, like something out of Catch Me If You Can when flying looked so glamorous and fun. She was sharp, witty, personable but most importantly – obsessed with delivering a great service. She wanted to make sure I knew everything about the seat and always had what I needed. To start off, she offered to put my bag in the overheard compartment. Try doing that on American, I dare you.
Loyalists of other airlines will note that their unions allow them to not so politely decline, even if you ask. I didn’t ask, and my jaw nearly hit the floor as she insisted that I not be disturbed and stay in my seat.
It’s also probably a good time to note that Angel is apparently quite famous. I mentioned to someone during my Capital One Cafe talk in Washington DC that I had my best ever flight from a service side, and they said “did her name happen to be Angel?”.
Apparently, my views aren’t just my own.
Carrie and Angel worked together to ensure every passenger always had what they wanted, and really, that no one wanted for anything. It felt like going over to a close friends house, who happens to excel in hospitality, but with the distinction and respect of greetings by name and service with a smile.
I don’t think I’ve ever awarded a 100 for service, but I must today.
If JetBlue does indeed start chirping about transatlantic service to London in the second quarter of the year, I can only hope Angel and Carrie will help to shape the transatlantic service too. I might be lured away if those kind of standards became a baseline on any airline.
Mint, as cliche as it may be – is simply refreshing. It’s a unique take on dining, it’s a world class business class seat and the soft touches were exceptional. Replace the old entertainment screens with something newer and larger and you may run a few other airlines out of business.
One thing worth noting is the price point: JetBlue Mint doesn’t penalize one way bookings, so it’s easy to find it on sale beginning at $399 one way, or $798 round trip. Compared to legacy airlines which never breach the $1000 price point, for a product with lower marks in most service and seat aspects, it’s quite hard to argue with what JetBlue is bringing here. I loved it.