Review: JetBlue Mint A321 Boston To Los Angeles

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Review: JetBlue Mint A321 Boston To Los Angeles


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The last time I reviewed JetBlue Mint was in August 2016, so I figure it’s time for an update to see how the product is holding up.

After a long layover in Boston, I headed to gate C17 around 8PM, in time for the 8:10PM scheduled boarding time. Unfortunately there was no plane at the gate, and then soon enough the gate monitors were updated to indicate a 9:02PM departure.

As much as I love JetBlue, their on-time performance isn’t amazing, and they’re also not great about posting delays in advance, even when they know they’re happening. We ended up finally boarding at 8:50PM, and as my boarding pass was scanned I was told “enjoy your Mint experience.” And enjoy my Mint experience I did!

JetBlue 987
Boston (BOS) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Tuesday, August 21
Depart: 8:55PM
Arrive: 12:19AM (+1 day)
Duration: 6hr24min
Aircraft: Airbus A321
Seat: 2A (Mint)

Ah, JetBlue Mint, the best way to travel domestically! At the door I was greeted by the fabulous Grecia, who welcomed me onboard and pointed me towards my seat. The Mint cabin consists of a total of 16 seats. This includes three rows in a 2-2 configuration, and two rows in a 1-1 configuration.


JetBlue A321 Mint cabin

The single seats are available on a first come first served basis at the time of booking, and I managed to score one of these. What makes them so special is not only that you’re sitting alone, but that your seat also has a door. It’s pretty amazing that JetBlue was the first airline in the world to install doors in business class.

JetBlue Mint suite

If you don’t end up in one of the suites, you’ll still have a nice fully flat seat that’s on par with the transcon hard products offered by other airlines. On this particular flight only 11 of the 16 seats up front were taken, so several people even had empty seats next to them.


JetBlue Mint seats

I love how well designed the Mint suites are. To the left of my seat was a large counter with four power outlets (two 110v and two USB).


JetBlue Mint suite side console

There’s another counter to the right, which has yet another two power outlets (one 110v and one USB). This is also where the seat and entertainment controls are located.


JetBlue Mint suite side console

There’s also an enclosed storage compartment, so there’s no shortage of storage at these seats.


JetBlue Mint suite storage

The one downside to the suites is that they have footwells, and they’re on the small side. So if you have big feet you’ll feel pretty constrained when you recline your seat and try to move around. That’s a small price to pay for the privacy and personal space afforded by this seat, though.


JetBlue Mint suite legroom

Waiting at my seat upon boarding was a welcome card from Grecia and Kiayana, the two flight attendants working Mint. This is such a personal touch that I wish we saw on more airlines.


JetBlue Mint welcome card

Also waiting at my seat was a pillow and duvet. The pillow was nice and thick, and the duvet was comfortable without being too warm.


JetBlue Mint pillow & blanket

There was also a quirky amenity kit, with a toothbrush and toothpaste, earplugs, eyeshades, toiletries, socks, and more.


JetBlue Mint amenity kit

A moment after settling into my seat, Grecia came by to introduce herself and familiarize me with the seat. “Hi Mr. Ben, welcome aboard. Have you flown Mint before?”

“Thank you! Yes, I have.”

“Well great, welcome back. Let me just remind you of a couple of things about the seat…” She reminded me of where the do not disturb button was, and to not hesitate to let her know if there’s anything I needed. She also asked me what I wanted to drink before takeoff.

I ordered the signature pre-departure cocktail, which is a honey infused limeade with fresh mint and vodka, along with a splash of club soda. Yum!


JetBlue Mint pre-departure drink and menu

It impresses me so much how kind Mint flight attendants are. They go through the same spiel with every passenger. Since there were some open seats, they even proactively encouraged passengers to move around so they could have as much personal space as possible.

Boarding was pretty efficient, and as you’d expect, so many passengers commented in amazement at how nice the cabin looked while walking by. American doesn’t get the same reaction for their 737 MAX aircraft, that’s for sure. 😉

At 9:05PM the captain made an announcement apologizing for the late start. He said our flight time would be 5hr58min, and that we’d be cruising at 32,000 feet. Finally at 9:15PM the door closed, and moments later the safety demonstration was performed.

After pushback we began our taxi to our departure runway, which was runway 9, and were airborne at 9:35PM.

As we climbed out I played around with the entertainment system a bit. Many people like the DirecTV offered by JetBlue. I ended up watching Family Feud and Cash Cab, which, like, I’d never watch on the ground, but on an airplane…

Personally I don’t have a strong preference for live TV vs. on-demand programming, I’m just happy that JetBlue has fast and free wifi.


JetBlue Mint personal television

My one criticism of their IFE, as an airplane geek, is that I wish their map was a bit more detailed. Instead they just have one position in which they show the map, and the plane always looks about as big as three states.


JetBlue Mint airshow

About 15 minutes after takeoff the crew came through the cabin and asked each Mint passenger if there was anything they could get out of the overhead bin for them. Again, this is a level of service you won’t find on any other US airline.

A few moments later they came around to explain the dinner service and take meal orders. This is another area where JetBlue wins. On American (even on their premium transcon routes), you only get a snack service on flights departing after 8PM (which is an awfully early cutoff). Meanwhile JetBlue offers a full dinner service.

The menu and drink list read as follows:

Service began with a warm towel.


JetBlue Mint warm towel

I ordered a glass of rose to drink, which was served with the “welcome taste.” In this case it was an Asian sesame dip with fried wontons. It was delicious and really spicy. Yes, those are all red pepper flakes on top of the dip.


JetBlue Mint rose & welcome taste

The way JetBlue’s Mint menu works is that there are five meal choices, and you can choose three of them, so that you can taste different things. I really like this concept, rather than a multi-course meal consisting of things that many people don’t want.

For my meal I chose the following three:

  • heirloom tomato and peach salad with sautéed corn, cucumbers, arugula, and chardonnay vinaigrette
  • mushroom cobbler with sautéed mushroom stew, tarragon cheddar scones, and chives
  • chicken ribolita, with cannellini beans, tuscan kale, butternut squash, and parmesan broth


JetBlue Mint dinner

All three dishes were very good. In particular I liked the heirloom tomato and peach salad and the mushroom cobbler.


JetBlue Mint dinner


JetBlue Mint dinner

My one slight critique is that I wish they had a bread selection in Mint. Instead they just have one kind of bread that they put directly on your tray.

Once the main course was complete Grecia offered me dessert. She asked if I wanted fruit and/or ice cream, and I selected both. I was also offered a coffee or cappuccino, though passed on that.


JetBlue Mint dessert

The entire meal service was done about 90 minutes after takeoff, and I have nothing but positive things to say about the service. Grecia was such a delight. She was attentive, efficient, and constantly smiling.

At this point in the flight I was super tired, given that I hadn’t slept on my previous transatlantic flight. So I closed the door to my suite and went straight to sleep.


JetBlue Mint suite closed door

I got about four hours of sleep, and I woke up after we started our descent. At this point I asked Grecia if I could have a cappuccino. On other airlines they’d likely say “we’re landing soon,” but not Grecia. She said “of course you can,” and moments later I had my cappuccino.


JetBlue Mint cappuccino 

As we got further into our descent, Grecia and Kiayana came through the cabin to distribute cookies.

“Mr. Ben, sorry to disturb you. I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for flying Mint today. It was a pleasure to have you onboard. Here’s a sweet treat you can enjoy now or later. I hope to see you again soon.”


JetBlue Mint cookie

On our descent we flew out over the Pacific and landed into the East (which is quite rare, and typically only happens in the middle of the night or very early morning) at 12:45AM.

From there it was a 10 minute taxi to our arrival gate, where we pulled in at 12:55AM. I bid farewell to Grecia, and was excited to get to a real bed for the rest of the night.

JetBlue Mint bottom line

JetBlue continues to impress me with their exceptional Mint pricing. Not only have they been great from a competitive standpoint in lowering fares and causing other airlines to improve their products, but they also still do the premium domestic experience better than any other airline.

JetBlue Mint flight attendants are consistently exceptional, and I love their meal concept. It’s tough to go back to flying American after experiencing this kind of a product on JetBlue…

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Comments

  1. It seems like JetBlue FAs actually want to work, as opposed to other US-based FAs who are there primarily “for your safety”…

  2. Lucky,

    While I agree the Mint single suite and Mint service is the best way to fly routes this long in the US, I do have a few issues now

    1. “JetBlue continues to impress me with their exceptional Mint pricing.”

    I simply haven’t seen this recently. Mint is often more expensive than Delta and especially American on the JFK to LAX/SFO routes (I am talking about paid business class). They do seem to bring prices down on new routes initially, but in NY, AA and Delta are very competitive on price

    2. Mileage earning – when you book through a corporate travel portal, JetBlue gives you half of the points. This is a big negative when it comes to business travel

    3. Elite earning – JetBlue elite status is pretty meaningless anyway, and their route network is not conducive to comprehensive travel within the US. On the other hand, American gives you double EQM if you buy business class on these routes, and Delta gives you a 50% bonus. If you buy business class, flying America and Delta on these routes is a great way to earn status

    4. Lounges – American provides Flagship lounge access, which is really useful at LAX (I don’t really care at JFK)

    Overall, while I will use Mint at certain times, I don’t think the product is really good enough to pay more for and get less redeemable / elite credit for on a consistent basis

  3. Me and my partner are booked to fly first class on the AA 16 from SFO-JFK next summer, the mint product seems really good. Only booked AA because of the miles and tier points for our BAEC accounts.

  4. Anthony

    Yeah, Mint pricing has been going up. A couple of years ago you could snag a one-way trans-con ticket for $600 or so. Every time I have looked recently it has been twice that. If Frank got a ticket for $500 he did well – maybe a Wednesday in February?

  5. The westbound “redeye” is often competitively priced, especially if booked well in advanced.

    I would agree that Mint is probably the best experience in the air. But on the ground, I do appreciate the lounges that allow for me to freshen up before/after the flight. And B6’s IRROPS recovery is still, in my opinion, subpar. So if I had a lot of flexibility and wanted the best in-air experience, I might book B6. But if I needed to be somewhere, I would book DL or AA.

  6. I scored a flight on Mint in Jan 2019 for $275 one way on the new jFK-Costa Rica route. There are deals to be had.

  7. Even outside of the premium NYC/Cali transcons, it seems that airlines price match Mint on these routes. For example, Mint is pretty consistently $549 one way from JFK to Seattle a few months out. So is Delta on their DeltaOne product, and their “regular” first class is often $400 or less. American’s one ill-timed JFK to SEA flight is also sub $500. United is in the $500-$600 range, and even Alaska has some sub $500 prices. Mint is obviously a reason that some of these fares are so low, but now that the other airlines are price matching, the value proposition falls.

  8. JetBlue just added a ton of frequency on the LAX-JFK route from January, and pricing on mint dropped like a stone again. Prices are consistently 700 bucks o/w.

  9. @Anthony price isn’t the only thing that sets Mint above the rest obviously. Would you rather have the meals and service of AA and United over Jetblue? I certainly wouldn’t. Overall the entire experience is just better even with the lack of a lounge network. Mint has become an innovator and has forced others to lower their prices to compete on a transcon level.

  10. I fly the JFK-SFO/SEA route a lot and Mint blows everything else out of the water.

    As for the ‘yeah but IRROPS’ crowd, B6’s frequencies have gotten to the point where they actually are pretty robust as both Boston and JFK are their hubs. I’ve had a couple screw-ups flying Mint, but haven’t had any service failures like I’ve had on Delta (felt like the worst) or Alaska/Virgin (probably the worst) on this route, and when they did happen B6 was extremely proactive, which I can’t say about Delta.

    Also “JetBlue Status is worthless” – I beg to differ. Mosaic lets you cancel/change/SDC for free (if you bought a nonrefundable ticket it goes into your travel bank) , which Delta/AA/UA doesn’t offer outside of award tickets on their Diamond/Platinum/etc level. I’d argue it’s my most valuable mid-tier status.

    While I do hope they add some premium ground experience, their terminal at JFK and BOS is significantly nicer than what DL/AA fly out of.

  11. Last week, I bought 3 Mint tickets BOS-LAX for next Saturday morning, 6:45 am slot at $600 each for my handicapped brother and two caregivers. Now it’s showing $1,100.

    There are definitely better prices out of BOS. Last Summer I was able to score some BOS-SFO/LAX flights for $400 and $500 respectively. SEA had some good deals too. You have to be flexible and hunt for them. The western red eye is often a good choice.

    Keep in mind, the competition is cheaper BECAUSE of JetBlue. Before Mint, prices were way higher. BOS didn’t even have any lie-flat transcons in recent years until JetBlue. DL, AA and UA have been using single aisle domestic first class consistently.

  12. @Alvin, I think is Personal preferences, I also have this preference, I prefer to be side on the left-hand side you get to deplane first in a widebody, so even in a narrowbody, I prefer LHS.

  13. Alonzo – I said in my first post that Mint was a better experience. However, it often costs more, and you forgo meaningful elite qualification miles, which is the biggest downside. Meals and service are important, but must be weighed against other aspects

    Alpha – Jet Blue basically flies up and down the east coast (primarily to Florida) and to a few destinations out west. Their route network isn’t nearly robust enough for a business traveler

    Basically, Jet Blue can’t realistically meet a majority of my travel needs. Given that, why would I give up elite qualification miles (5,000+ on AA, 3,800+ on Delta) to fly Mint in most cases? Not denying it can’t work for others…

  14. I always prefer the left side because when you look forward yout sight line is the galley, not the toilet.

  15. I flew this route and loved it.

    But I fly to Florida monthly and never seem to see low LAX-FLL prices. Always seems to be above $2200 RT.

  16. Still have yet to try Jetblue, whenever I reposition to New York its always on CX. How do the two compare?

  17. The only bargain prices I see out of, and in to SAN for Mint are on red eyes. Otherwise $1100 each way. Although extremely nice at $600, not worth $1100 IMO.

  18. Flying the 8:38 PM BOS-LAX next Thursday, was able to get two seats for me and my husband for 404 dollars a piece. Same pricing is showing for select flights BOS-SFO next May, along with 599 flights.

    Great review – also enjoyed your review of Jerry Remy’s. Looks like we will be having some pre-security Macallan v. trying to get to the Air France lounge before our trip this time!

  19. There are occasionally phenomenal Mint prices — I have flown $399 PSP – JFK and $449 LAX – FLL. Mosaic status really pays off when a price for a ticket drops more than 5 days after purchase, since they’ll honor it and put the difference in your Travel Bank. (Of course you have to request it. They’re not going to proactively notify you.) If you don’t have Mosaic, they’ll still honor the drop for a $75 fee if it is more than 5 days since purchase.

    I second the commenter who said that Mosaic’s flexibility with cancellations makes it quite valuable.

    JetBlue sometimes lowers prices on a flight for very brief periods of time. If I’m booking in advance, I like to set a Google Flights alert so I can try to get it when it’s cheap. I have been watching a particular LAX – JFK date and have seen Mint periodically appear on various flights for $559 and (more frequently) $659. However,
    I have *not* seen them drop fares close to departure date, as I have seen some airlines do — the seats just go out empty.

    Incidentally, while Mint is certainly the best there is domestically, I also like United’s transcon routes well enough. I’d like AA transcon First more if I ever had flight attendants who didn’t seem so indifferent to my existence. But breakfast in Flagship First dining at JFK after a red-rye isn’t a bad way to start the day.

  20. Garuda First Class is now confined to one route on two aircraft. Too bad, as the flight attendants are the best in the world. Well, B6 Mint has the second-best. A phenomenal product bettered only by the Qsuite.

  21. Since JetBlue doesn’t think people in Oregon can afford or want MINT we are not given the option for PDX-JFK or PDX-BOS.
    Until they wish to treat us with the same respect they show SEA or SFO, and offer something better than an all coach red-eye, I will continue to fly any other option.
    A shame since there are 100s of daily international flights from JFK I would consider if they was a comfortable (aka LIE FLAT) way from PDX to JFK.

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