What is it like to fly on JetBlue’s Mint?
Airways had the chance to fly on the inaugural Mint flight in March 2017 from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Los Angeles (LAX), and then connect to JFK. That meant 10 hours in the air, testing the airline’s top product across the country, twice.
After obtaining a boarding pass for flight B6701 effortlessly on the mobile app the day before, I reached FLL’s Terminal 3 about an hour and a half before our 09:05 takeoff. The Mint counters were decorated with balloons and hosted by smiling JetBlue ladies.
The whole check-in process didn’t take more than three minutes. I went through an expedited security line and reached gate F1 a little over five minutes later, right on time to begin boarding, but not before grabbing a few celebratory Mint muffins that were placed for passengers to indulge on.
The friendly JetBlue agent in charge of scanning boarding passes diligently welcomed each and every passenger by their last name—a very nice touch for a job that can become exhaustingly repetitive.
The first row in the modern Mint cabin has four Thompson Aero seats in a 2-2 layout. The second row has two mini suites in a 1-1 setup, both with sliding doors and superbly private space. The following rows replicate the first two, all on a staggered design.
My seat, 1C, was fitted with a pillow and cover package, and a welcome note signed by Andrew and Katye, our Mint Flight Attendants.
As soon as I had settled in, Chief Flight Attendant Andrew welcomed me with a warm smile. He gave me a quick tour of the Mint cabin and explained all the functionalities of my seat, which came equipped with two charging outlets, USB ports, a 15.6” touchscreen, a remote control wired to the armrest, and two separate interfaces to control all seat functions.
He then handed out the menu for the day’s flight and offered the pre-departure signature RefreshMint cocktail: a honey and lemon infusion in sparkling water with a hint of mint and vodka. Given the early hour, I asked Andrew to bring it a little after takeoff.
Boarding completed, our brand-new Airbus A321 (N976JT • MSN 7529, delivered one month before this flight) pushed back six minutes ahead of schedule. The quick taxi to FLL’s newest southern runway enabled us to take off and begin our five-hour four-minute flight to Los Angeles.
As our young Airbus left Florida behind, the crew announced that complimentary Fly-Fi could be used on this hop across the country. I wasn’t honestly expecting to have free Internet connectivity, so this was one great surprise! I then learned that it is standard on all of JetBlue’s domestic flights.
Crossing the 10,000ft threshold, I tried logging in, but the system indicated it was “out of coverage”. This issue persisted for another 15 minutes until it stabilized and I was able to start surfing the net.
Soon enough, inflight service began. Andrew approached my seat with the promised Mint cocktail and asked whether I had chosen a brunch entrée. While I sipped the drink—refreshing and flavorful—I chose the light red wine poached pear on top of Tahitian vanilla yogurt and sesame granola.
“You can choose up to three entrées, sir,” Andrew replied.
I picked the citric medley of fresh fruit, but I could have picked more hearty options: sesame crusted shrimp, goat’s cheese, and tomato omelet, or chicken waffles, served with chicken sausage, herb butter, and spicy maple syrup. The last one surely sounded delicious but was a little too much for a light eater.
The entrées came on a beautifully presented tray with a warm piece of bread with butter and my beverage of choice. The yogurt was packed with vanilla flavor and the granola was crunchy and filling. The freshness of the citric fruits (strawberries, blueberries, oranges, and grapefruit) was truly invigorating. A lovely brunch overall.
The table cleared, I was able to recline my seat to see how relaxing this flight could be. The massage function slowly shifted from the lower back all the way up to the neck. The mood lighting soothed all the passengers as the Airbus crossed Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and, ultimately, Eastern California.
The IFE featured LiveTV, movies, TV shows, and a very basic moving map. The screen’s size was more than sufficient and its positioning was comfortable to the eye.
And here’s where the first, and only, flaw came in. The vintage-looking Grado headsets, which came neatly presented in a box, were everything but noise canceling. In fact, the other passengers’ headsets leaked the sound of what they were watching, creating a mix of white noise that became quite uncomfortable after a time. And the sound quality wasn’t the best.
Airlines like American and Lufthansa offer Bose headsets. The former noise canceling and the latter noise reducing. But, for the five- to six-hour flights this airline operates, perhaps JetBlue believes the Grado to be more than sufficient. I would disagree. They are uncomfortable and unable to retain their own sound.
As our flight closed in on California, the cabin began to be prepared for our arrival. A basket full of snacks was distributed about the Mint cabin and, too soon, we began our descent into Los Angeles.
Our approach was smooth. Soon enough, we touched down and parked at the gate with plenty of time to spare. The Fly-Fy connection stayed on until we were in the final stages of our approach into LAX.
The first Mint experience of the day was officially over, and Andrew was kind enough to bid me farewell by remembering my full name as I left the aircraft.
Both the hard and soft product on this first flight were, to say the least, astonishing.
Flight 2: LAX-JFK
My second leg of the day, to New York and scheduled to depart at 15:25, promised a lot after the incredible experience I had just had on the incoming flight from FLL.
I purposely asked to be booked on this route because I wanted to make sure that an inaugural Mint flight wasn’t exceptionally much nicer than what passengers can ordinarily expect.
Boarding for flight B6624 was equally effective and, as I walked into my second Mint cabin, smiling FAs escorted me to my private suite (4A).
It was a modern, private, and secluded seat, and I immediately felt even more relaxed thanks to the fact that I had a space just for myself.
I was offered my second RefreshMint of the day. I skipped this one, and asked instead for a glass of sparkling water with a slice of lemon, a request quickly fulfilled by a young and energetic Heatherly.
Once again ahead of schedule, our 2015-delivered Airbus A321 (N946JL • MSN 6425) pushed back from the gate and we began taxiing to LAX’s northernmost runway. The Captain announced a total flying time of four hours 36 minutes from takeoff to touchdown and, soon, we departed towards the Pacific Ocean before turning northwest toward southern Nevada, central Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania on our way to New York.
About 20 minutes after departing Los Angeles, Heatherly’s colleague, Bryan, came by to take my order for dinner. They both said that it was Mint’s best menu to date.
Out of a choice of a kale and sweet potato salad, a wheat berry and smoked almond couscous, a buttermilk fried chicken, a spicy zucchini arancino, or a butter poached lobster, I decided on the latter, along with the sweet potato salad and the smoked almond couscous.
For my drink, I kept on going with my favorite sparkling water with plenty of ice.
An even better-looking tray than that of the previous flight arrived at my private suite. The lobster, potato salad, and couscous were neatly presented one next to the other, beside a bread plate and an olive oil packet.
The flavor coming out of the couscous salad was splendid. The texture of the lobster was surprisingly moist. But the quality of the sweet potato salad was the cherry on top of both Mint flights I took.
Once I had finished my delightful meal, feeling tired, I reclined my seat into a fully flat bed and, all of a sudden, I felt as if I was traveling on my own private jet. The private feeling offered by the four suites on every Mint flight is more than a luxury.
An hour after relaxing, I felt the urgent need to try the coffee Bryan had insisted upon so much. The cappuccino was as good as a café would make, with thick foam and a hint of cocoa.
The remaining minutes of this spectacular flight were rapidly consuming themselves and, soon, we began our descent into New York. This time, I decided not to use the Grado headset but my own Bose noise canceling one, and my flight was 100% flawless.
The Fly-Fy connectivity worked well during the entire flight. I was able to surf the net, instant message, and even upload some heavy documents, all at no additional cost—another feature that makes Mint unique and enjoyable.
On this second flight, the fantastic crew also remembered my name and were constantly circling back to make sure I was comfortable. The comfort provided by the Thomson Aero seats and the closed-door suite was second to none.
The freshness of the Mint product—no pun intended—is legit. It’s so different, in fact, that it could be considered as the ‘bright side of the moon’, leaving the competition well in the dark.
JetBlue, you have something very nice of which to be proud. Let’s see whether you can remain as consistent and surprising as you were on these two flights.