Review: JetBlue Mint A321 New York To Los Angeles

Filed Under: JetBlue

I’ve been wanting to try JetBlue’s Mint since it was introduced a couple of years ago, so I was thrilled to finally have the opportunity.

I could tell the Mint experience would be different even before we got on the plane. As the gate agent scanned our boarding passes he said “enjoy your Mint experience” to each passenger. While it sounds like a scripted line (and likely is), over the next six hours I experienced a level of hospitality that I forgot exists at US airlines.

JetBlue 1323
New York (JFK) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Tuesday, August 3
Depart: 9:45PM
Arrive: 12:44AM (+1 day)
Duration: 5hr59min
Aircraft: Airbus A321
Seat: 2A (Mint)

I boarded through door L1, where I was greeted by Agda, one of the Mint flight attendants. Since I managed to be the first passenger aboard, I took the opportunity to snap some quick pictures of the cabin.

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JetBlue Mint cabin

As you can see, JetBlue’s Mint cabin has a total of five rows. Three of those rows (one, three, and five) have four seats per row, while rows two and four have just two seats per row, which are known as the Mint suites.

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JetBlue Mint cabin

The 12 “standard” Mint seats looked great overall, and I appreciated the amount of privacy there was between the seats.

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JetBlue Mint standard seats

There was plenty of legroom, and also it seemed like the “cubby” for your feet when fully reclined looked quite large.

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JetBlue Mint standard seats

The four Mint suites are available on a first come first serve basis (which is a blessing for those looking for a good value, since those booking first are typically also getting the lowest fares). I managed to snag seat 2A, the Mint suite in the second row on the left.

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JetBlue Mint suite

These seats are the same general staggered configuration you’ll find on quite a few airlines, where the number of seats per row alternates.

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JetBlue Mint suite

The seat controls were located to the right of the seat, and were easy to use.

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JetBlue Mint seat controls

Above that and also to the right of the seat was a reading light, water bottle holder, power outlet (which could accommodate both USB and 110v), as well as a storage compartment that could be closed.

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JetBlue Mint seat features

The storage compartment was fairly large, and could easily fit headphones or just about anything else you’d want to take out for the flight.

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JetBlue Mint seat storage

Also on the right armrest were the entertainment controls, which I found a bit confusing to use.

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JetBlue Mint entertainment controls

The tray table also came out of the right armrest, and was easy enough to use. A lot of staggered seats in a similar configuration have complicated tray table setups, though that wasn’t the case here.

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JetBlue Mint tray table

On the left side of the seat was a large console, where you could easily leave a bag during the flight if you wanted (though everything has to be stored for takeoff and landing).

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JetBlue Mint seat console

Also on the left side of the seat were two more power outlets, which could accommodate both 110V and USB plugs. I loved the fact that the Mint seat had six power outlets — where else do you get that much power in one seat?!

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JetBlue Mint power outlets

The one major downside of the Mint suites is that when fully reclined, the “cubby” for your feet is really small. This isn’t an issue if you’re just lounging around, but if you’re fully reclined you’ll have a hard time moving your feet around. This is the same problem you’ll find on airlines like Austrian, Brussels, Delta, etc.

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JetBlue Mint suite legroom

Above the foot cubby was a magazine pocket.

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JetBlue Mint seatback storage compartment

Waiting at my seat on boarding was a fantastic pillow and blanket set, as well as eyeshades and a note signed by the two Mint flight attendants, Agda, and Raphy.

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JetBlue Mint pillow & blanket, eyeshades, and welcome note

The pillow and blanket were top notch — the pillow was large and plush, while the blanket was large and soft without being too warm.

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JetBlue Mint pillow & blanket

Once I settled in Agda came by my seat to formally introduce herself. When she learned that it was my first time in Mint, she gave me a fantastic intro to the seat. I don’t remember the last time I’ve flown a US carrier and been asked if I knew all the seat features. Agda really went above and beyond, as she spent a couple of minutes explaining all the seat’s features to me.

She also showed me how my suite door closed. There’s a button on the right side of the seat that can be pushed to close the door.

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JetBlue Mint button that controls closed door

This isn’t some gimmick, but rather there’s a legitimate door at the suite seats.

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JetBlue Mint suite door closed

Below is a picture of what the suite looks like from the outside when closed.

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JetBlue Mint suite door closed

Upon the completion of the seat explanation, she asked if I wanted JetBlue’s signature pre-departure cocktail, which is a honey infused limeade with fresh mint and vodka, along with a splash of club soda. It tasted every bit as delicious and refreshing as it sounds.

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JetBlue Mint welcome drink

After that, Agda presented me with the menu for the flight, and explained their dining concept. They have several dishes you can choose from, and each Mint passenger can select up to three of them.

Can I just note how awesome it is that JetBlue has a full service on a flight around 10PM? That’s how it should be for all airlines, in my opinion, though American wouldn’t serve a full meal even in first class on a similarly timed flight.

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JetBlue Mint menu & welcome drink

Boarding was pretty efficient, and eventually every Mint seat was taken. Agda and Raphy took the same care in explaining the features of the seat and the menu concept to each passenger. I was just so impressed by how friendly, thorough, and enthusiastic they were.

At 9:55PM the cabin door was closed, a bit behind schedule due to an issue with servicing the lavatory, apparently.

Moments later we began our pushback, at which point Agda announced our flight time of 5hr5min, and followed that up with a manual safety demonstration.

Once we pushed back we stayed in our position for about 15 minutes, and then finally began our taxi at around 10:10PM.

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Pushing back at JFK Airport

As we waited for taxi clearance I had the airshow on.

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Airshow enroute to Los Angeles

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Airshow enroute to Los Angeles

We taxied out to our departure runway, 13R, which took about 20 minutes. At 10:35PM we were cleared for takeoff, behind a Qatar Airways 777 headed to Doha.

We had a smooth climb out, and during that time I browsed the entertainment selection. JetBlue’s inflight entertainment is a bit controversial, as some people love it, while others hate it. They offer DirecTV programming, meaning you have access to over 100 channels of live TV. However, beyond that, their actual on demand programming is very limited.

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JetBlue Mint entertainment selection

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JetBlue DirecTV selection

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JetBlue TV listing

I ended up first watching the Shahs of Sunset reunion on Bravo (that’s too much drama even for me), and then watched Family Feud. Not exactly the highest quality programming in the world, but…

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Watching Family Feud on JetBlue

Something else that makes JetBlue unique is their wifi offering, or as they call it, Fly-Fi. They offer free basic wifi to all passengers, which is fast enough for texting, basic social media, etc. If you want true high speed wifi, you can pay $9 per hour.

I love that they offer this. Their free wifi is almost as fast as what I’m used to on Gogo, while their $9 per hour wifi was legitimately fast. If I wanted to work, the premium wifi for $9 per hour would be a no brainer (on this flight I only used it briefly, since I was sleeping for much of the flight).

JetBlue inflight wifi options

It’s worth noting that while the on demand entertainment selection as such is limited, you can stream content quite easily through your portable device.

JetBlue inflight wifi

As we passed through 10,000 feet, Raphy proactively came around to each passenger and asked if there was anything he could get out of the overhead bin for us. That’s really exceptional service.

Around the same time, Agda distributed headphones, which were quite nice. I still used my Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones since they’re nicer, but these were decent quality as far as airplane headphones go.

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JetBlue Mint headphones

After that, Agda distributed Birchbox kits. They had separate kits for men and women.

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JetBlue Mint Birchbox amenities

This is a creative partnership, since Birchbox is a popular concept, though I’m not sure I totally get the logic of offering it on planes.

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JetBlue Mint Birchbox amenities

For example, my kit had lip balm, shampoo, sunscreen, a body bar, and shoe wipes. It’s a quirky way for them to cross promote, that’s for sure. For what it’s worth, the flight attendants can also provide more traditional airplane amenities, like a toothbrush and toothpaste, on demand.

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JetBlue Mint Birchbox amenities

About 45 minutes after takeoff hot towels were distributed.

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JetBlue Mint warm towel

At that point the meal service began.

The beverage list read as follows:

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The menu read as follows:

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Service began with drinks, along with the “welcome taste.” I ordered a gin & tonic, and the “welcome taste” consisted of a deviled egg.

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JetBlue Mint dinner — gin & tonic and deviled egg welcome taste

I didn’t think I’d like deviled eggs (I don’t ever remember voluntarily ordering one), but this was actually really good.

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JetBlue Mint dinner — deviled egg welcome taste

After that a tray liner was placed on the tray table.

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JetBlue Mint dinner — table setting

As you can see based on the above menu, you can choose three options from the “delish dishes.” I had a glass of rose to accompany the meal, and was proactively offered a piece of bread with a packet of olive oil.

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JetBlue Mint dinner — selection of three dishes

For the dishes I ordered the ricotta gnudi, chicken & dumplings, and grilled avocado salad.

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JetBlue Mint dinner — ricotta gnudi

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JetBlue Mint dinner — chicken & dumplings

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JetBlue Mint dinner — grilled avocado salad

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JetBlue Mint dinner — selection of three dishes

Meanwhile Ford had the Asian pear salad and bison meatloaf.

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JetBlue Mint dinner — Asian pear salad and bison meatloaf

Once those trays were cleared, I was offered dessert. Dessert consisted of fresh fruit, chocolate ice cream, and the choice of an espresso beverage.

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JetBlue Mint dessert — fresh fruit, ice cream, and cappuccino

The ice cream was fantastic quality, though if I had one critique it would be that I wish they had a choice of flavors.

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JetBlue Mint dessert — Blue Marble organic chocolate ice cream

The fruit salad was great as well.

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JetBlue Mint dessert — seasonal fruit salad

The cappuccino was phenomenal, easily one of the best I’ve ever had on a plane.

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JetBlue Mint dessert — cappuccino from Brooklyn Roasting Company

I can’t say enough good things about JetBlue’s Mint meal service. Their concept is so well executed. They’re not going for the most drawn out meal service, but rather are serving the meal in an unpretentious way with brilliant execution.

Agda and Raphy were great throughout the meal service. They were friendly and so attentive. I will say that the service felt a bit slow to me, as it was about two hours after takeoff before the meal was done. That’s not a huge deal, but it seems like it could have been carried out a bit more quickly.

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Airshow enroute to Los Angeles

After the meal I checked out the lavatory, located in front of the Mint cabin. It was pretty basic, not that I was expecting more from a narrowbody aircraft.

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JetBlue Mint lavatory

At this point I was so tired, and managed to sleep for about two hours, waking up a bit over an hour before our arrival in Los Angeles. While the foot cubby was a bit tight (as is standard in staggered seats), the privacy of having a door on a domestic flight more than made up for it. Then again, with how tired I was at this point, I could have probably slept in economy as well.

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Airshow enroute to Los Angeles

Agda came through the cabin with the typical JetBlue snack basket, also available in economy. Who doesn’t love JetBlue’s blue chips?!

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JetBlue Mint snacks

She also offered drinks, so in order to wake up I ordered another cappuccino, which was as delicious as the last one.

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JetBlue Mint cappuccino pre-landing

About 30 minutes before landing, Agda thanked us for flying Mint and gave us the “edible parting gift,” as they call it.

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JetBlue Mint edible parting gift

It consisted of cookies and a white brownie of sorts from Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery. I may have tried them the next day (just for research, of course), and they may have been very delicious.

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JetBlue Mint edible parting gift

Around the same time the cookies were distributed we began our descent, and about 15 minutes later the seatbelt sign was turned on. The views on approach to LA were gorgeous as usual.

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View approaching Los Angeles

At LAX you almost always takeoff and land into the west, though overnight they seem to take off and land into the east. So in our case we flew past the airport over the Pacific, and then turned east to land on runway 6L at 12:40AM. The landing was so smooth that I barely realized we had arrived. From there it was just a short five minute taxi to the gate.

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Airshow approaching Los Angeles

We bid farewell to Agda and Raphy, and I was so happy that this long journey was finally over (as much as I enjoyed it).

JetBlue Mint bottom line

If this flight is representative of what the Mint experience is usually like, then I’m blown away.

The service was the best I ever recall having on a domestic flight. I almost forgot what it was like to fly a US airline and have flight attendants who actually cared and made you feel like they wanted to be there. Agda and Raphy were fantastic. I don’t know how JetBlue does it, but they’re in a league of their own when it comes to the service in Mint.

The food was excellent as well. The meal service is relatively simple, with excellent execution. From the food to the cappuccinos, I enjoyed everything I consumed on this flight.

As far as the seats go, JetBlue does amazingly well there too. The Mint suites are innovative for a domestic service, and even the non-suites are at least as good as what you’ll get on the other carriers in the market.

Congrats, JetBlue. I had high expectations of Mint coming into this flight, but they were exceeded in just about every way. Talk about a fantastic ending to a crazy trip.

  1. Yeah! I’ve been lucky to have flown mint three times now, and each has been excellent. If JetBlue upgrades their IFE, it will be nearly perfect. (The screens in Mint seem great, but the source video is crappy, and isn’t on-demand.)

    I wish JetBlue had bought Virgin. Sigh.

  2. Aren’t Grado SR60e’s open-ear headphones? That seems like a very odd decision for an airplane, both from a noise-abatement perspective and from a neighbors-can-hear-what-you’re-listening-to perspective.

  3. Looks like a great product all around. I’m so tempted to fly this sometime as I see a couple dates for sub $600 from SFO to JFK. Ahh!

  4. Given the general standard of US airlines, this can’t have been hard to pull off. Clearly the other airlines just can’t be bothered.

  5. @Djibouti
    Yes, I believe those Grados are open-ear. But damn, Grados??!??! Wow!

    Perhaps Lucky should read up on the Grado line since he considers them “decent” compared to his over-marketed Bose cans.

  6. You clearly missed your toyboy dearly as you opted not to be seated next to the self-proclaimed Luxury Travel Guru.

  7. What did you think of the seat firmness adjustment? Apparently the seat has some sort of air cushion that can be inflated as much as you prefer?

  8. your toyboy

    I don’t think you can classify Ford as a toy boy as I think he and Lucky are almost the same age.

  9. Glad you got the Mar Ze Dahr treat — last time I flew red eye on Mint, I woke up prior to landing and found my neighbor liked them so much he ate mine as well as his!

  10. Lucky asks:
    If this flight is representative of what the Mint experience is usually like, ……

    Yes it is — based on my two flights in Mint last fall.

    PS Greg, the attendant on my first flight, cheerfully gave me when we landed an extra Mar ze Dahr treat to take to my hubby

  11. @VX_Flier
    Looks like someone at JetBlue knows a bit about audio. Still, open ear is a strange choice for an airplane.

  12. Great write-up, Ben! Got to try out the suite seat and standard seat last year at JetBlue’s Mint launch event in San Francisco—as you noted, the suite seat’s foot cubby is small and slightly cramped; Conversely, the standard seat’s foot cubby is more spacious and comfortable. Obviously, the standard seat gives you less privacy, but for people who (a) are traveling with another person and/or (b) prioritize sleep on their Mint flight, the standard seat would be a better selection. Hope that helps!

  13. You were traveling with Ford but still opted for suites rather than side by side seats?

    A question about the suites; obviously there’s a whole lot more storage space and a door, but is the actual seat any different? It doesn’t really look like it. I get the feeling that when you and other bloggers say that you can get suites for the same price people are picturing something like getting a Singapore Airlines Suite for the price of a Business Class seat when in reality it looks like the real estate for the seat is the exact same.

  14. Mr. Schlappig,

    Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for the great review!
    It was an absolute pleasure to have you on our flight. I do hope I’ll have the honor to serve you again.

    Cheers 🙂


  15. I have to give JetBlue major props for choosing Grado headphones. They are a family owned small business that designs and produces all their products in Brooklyn, NY (although some of the subassemblies, such has the plastic housings on the SR60 are manufactured elsewhere). I think it’s brilliant that JetBlue, a NY based company, is promoting local businesses and made in USA products. Good on them!

    I hope this strategy doesn’t backfire on them. While the headphones themselves are absolutely fantastic (and MASSIVELY better than Ben’s beloved “Blows”) they are completely the wrong choice for airline use, for the reasons many have already stated. I tried my Grados on an airplane once and failed. Not only do they emit as much sound out the back as out the front, but they let in just as much noise. Which means you have to turn up the volume. Which means you’re providing even more involuntary entertainment for those around you. After apologizing profusely to those around me I meekly put them away. Next flight I was rocking a pair of Etymotic in ear monitors…basically ear plugs that happen to play music. Much, MUCH better!

    I have a feeling Ben’s less than enthusiastic assessment of the Grados was heavily influenced by their complete lack of any ambient noise attenuation. Had he heard them in a quiet environment his opinion would likely have been much higher. However that’s all academic as the Grados, and other makes of similar open-backed design, are completely useless for Ben.

  16. Thanks to everyone who educated those of us (me) not in the know about Grado headphones. I’ve been a Bose groupie since 2003, but would happily try out a better product. To be honest, I don’t think I’d ever even *heard* of Grado untll until this post and comments.

  17. Ben –

    And now you know why I’ve ditched AA for JetBlue — the company actually gives a #[email protected] about its customers. And isn’t it nice to have FA’s that seem to like their jobs.
    Simply put – the airline is brilliantly managed and shows what a U.S. carrier can do when you recognize that the customer is ALL that matters.

    And yes – the company tries to support local businesses a la Grado 🙂

    On a somewhat tangential note, I just received my 13th “your flight has changed” email from AA — a noon flight departure switched to 5:15AM and a 3.5 hour layover instead of an hour. So I am 13 for 13 in changes to AA tickets I booked over the past 5 months. Every single flight I booked was changed — and AA expects me, a lowly EP customer, to remain loyal?? Adios Dougie — am done.

  18. @ Agda — OMG, just when I thought JetBlue couldn’t get any better! Hope to fly with you again as well — thanks for the great service!

  19. I have tried Mint I think 2 years (if not 3 years) ago when they launched and the experience really was excellent – the crew were really personable and it was so different. Did you get the passenger feedback email later? I thought some of the questions they asked were very interesting

  20. The food looks pretty disgusting. I’ll take the meals on AA (including the ice cream sundae) any day over chicken thighs. Gross.

  21. @Brian – I’ve flown this three times now, and the food was GREAT each time. (And more than I could finish, too.) You get to choose from five dishes, too.

  22. Funny my first thought was also “open-ear headphones on an airplane??” That’s absolutely idiotic. I made this mistake 20 years ago with my old Sennheiser 600’s. Totally useless, and never did it again. Did no one at Jet Blue EVER test these? They won’t work on a plane!

    Anyway, it seems like if you’re going to screw something up, they made a good choice. Everyone has their own headphones, and they nailed everything else. Good compromise.

  23. @Agda & @ Lucky: Okay!!! I’m sold on Jet Blue and will look forward to my first trip with this carrier in the hopeful near future.! Not only was I swayed by the review, but that the flight attendant left such a wonderful and gracious comment here. Kudos on Jet Blue and Agda for knowing and understanding what creates loyalty to a brand, and for Agda having the courtesy and outstanding professionalism to treat a passenger as a welcomed guest. With what I suspect was genuine warmth and a smile, Agda just massively shaded the national competitors with their put upon cattle car indifference. It’s about time a transportation service provider gets it, and more so, exceeds reasonable expectation!

  24. Thanks Ben for another in-depth review. Have just had to choose between Mint and AA Business transcon, and have opted for this – being able to snag a suite in both directions. Excited to try it out.

  25. As someone in the industry I can easily say the reason jet blue is so fantastic is that they pay so well. The legacy carriers pay their people what they can get away. Not so with blue.

  26. A bit late to the party, but I just flew Mint for the first time JFK to SFO, and I can confirm everything you said above. This level of service seems to be their standard, I don’t even remember when I last had such fantastic FAs on a domestic flight. They were genuinely kind, enthusiastic, concerned about our well being and always going the extra mile. I was so surprised that they also consistently addressed me by name, without having a cheat sheet (as far as I could tell).

    It’s just the little things sometimes, but as you noted they came around the cabin right after take off to ask if we needed anything from the overhead bins. I wasn’t expecting that at all! I thought the hand signed note is also a lovely attention.

    Food was wonderful (completely different menu) and both cappuccinos I had were excellent :).

    Since the time you wrote this review, the amenity kit changed and is no longer Birchbox, it is now catered by Hopper and comes in a nice thick fabric pouch. It doesn’t have nearly as many items as the one you had, though.
    Anyway, goodbye AA :)!

  27. Thank you for this thorough review. I’m a bit of a nervous flyer and am traveling from Boston to LA to see my son and his family in March. Your review helped me with my seat choice (2A both ways) and actually, I hope I have the same flight attendants as that personal touch is calming. I’ll touch base after the flight!

  28. I was on flew Mint on the second day of operation. I was so giddy to have the suite and after a long vacation, was looking forward to closing the door of my suite and going to sleep. However, behind me was an older Russian couple whose son paid for a last minute upgrade for them but he didn’t upgrade himself. He then spent the first 3 hours of the flight hovering over my suite talking to them in Russian with a booming voice. I gave up on sleeping and went over to the flight attendant and asked them to have the man return to his seat as he was keeping me awake. I asked for them to wait 5 minutes after I sat back down to tell him. They did and he did. After that 2 other passengers stopped by and thanked me for complaining. They too wanted to sleep on this flight and found the constant talking and the man standing in the aisle bothersome. Following the flight I received a customer survey and related my experience in the comment section. Two days later JetBlue issued me a $250.00 flight voucher for service failure. Since then I have flown Mint 3 more times and the service has been impeccable. My next mission, for all airlines is to have them teach their flight attendants not to stomp up and down the aisle on overnight flights.

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