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After a fun four days in London, it was time to return to the United States. On the outbound I reviewed JetBlue’s Mint Suite, which is the standard business class seating on the transatlantic A321LR. For the return I flew in JetBlue’s Mint Studio, which is the name of the first row of seats in business class on these planes. Is the JetBlue Mint Studio worth the upgrade cost, though?
I’ll make this review slightly different, since my outbound review was quite detailed. This time around I’ll first talk specifically about my thoughts on the Mint Studio, and then I’ll briefly talk about how the flight as such went.
How much does JetBlue charge for the Mint Studio?
JetBlue’s Airbus A321LRs have a total of 24 business class seats — there are two Mint Studios (the first row of seats), and then 22 Mint Suites (the next 11 rows of business class seats).
Mint Studio isn’t a separate class of service, but rather it’s just a premium seating option. You can upgrade to a Mint Studio either during the booking process, or anytime up to departure, subject to availability.
Doing a “dummy” booking on JetBlue’s website right now, it seems that the current upgrade cost is $299 one-way.
However, I booked shortly after JetBlue’s transatlantic flights went on sale, and at the time the upgrade cost was only $129, which is much more reasonable. I’m not surprised to see that the price has increased in the meantime.
JetBlue Mint Studio review
As mentioned above, there are two Mint Studios on JetBlue A321LRs, and they’re the two seats in the first row. The logic for this seat is simple — JetBlue’s A321LRs have herringbone business class seats, so due to the angle of the seats, the first row is going to take up a bit more space. The airline decided to do something a bit special with it, and market it as a separate product.
I flew in 1A, the JetBlue Mint Studio in the first row on the left side. As you can see, the Mint Studio features quite a bit of extra space, as it almost has a couch next to the main part of the seat.
One slightly awkward aspect of the seat is that there’s not really a full armrest where you might typically rest your left arm. That wasn’t an issue, as there was an extra pillow that could be propped up to provide support, and I found it to be quite comfortable.
The Mint Studio feels significantly more spacious than the other seats, and there’s even a second seatbelt so that you can have a guest in the Mint Studio, should you want them to join you for drinks or a meal.
Much like the other Mint seats, the Mint Studio has a door — this door is a bit bigger, as the seating area is larger.
In addition to the standard tray table, there’s also a second tray table along the side of the seat, ideal if you’re dining with someone. Unfortunately it was inoperable for our flight (more on that in a bit).
The Mint Studio also has significantly more storage, which is awesome, since lack of storage is one downside to the new JetBlue business class seats. Along the bulkhead there’s an extra storage compartment.
Then along the back of the seat is another storage compartment.
Then there’s the same laptop compartment that you’ll find at all the other seats, underneath the personal television.
The ottoman, seat controls, and entertainment controller, were all identical to the Mint Suites.
In addition to the same power outlet that the other seats have, there’s also a second outlet, which is a nice touch.
And then there’s also the wireless charging device, which was a bit easier to use in the Mint Studio than in the Mint Suites, due to how it was positioned.
Much like in the Mint Suites, the personal television popped out from the far end of the seat, and was easy to use.
In bed mode, the Mint Studio feels significantly more spacious than the Mint Suite. Even though the surface isn’t totally even, it still feels pretty comfortable, thanks to how well padded the seat is. While the extra space was nice, I have to say that the Mint Suite was also quite spacious in bed mode, and I didn’t at all feel restrained.
I wouldn’t say there were really any huge surprises with the Mint Studio, it was exactly what I was expecting — the seat offers extra storage, an extra power outlet, an extra tray table, and more space.
Disappointing JetBlue Mint Studio issues
Here’s what disappointed me. As I mentioned, on the New York to London flight Ford flew in the Mint Studio, and I flew in the Mint Suite. Ford was in 1A, and had issues with his seat — the second tray table was inoperable, and on top of that the door wouldn’t shut properly.
The crew was incredibly apologetic. In addition to promising that they’d report the issue so that it could be fixed, they proactively issued him a $200 travel credit as compensation.
Fast forward five days to our return flight, which was operated by exactly the same plane… well, the same issue still applied. The tray table was still inoperable, and the door wouldn’t close properly. The crew was also apologetic about this, and also proactively issued me a $200 travel credit as compensation.
I suppose getting replacement parts can take a while, and presumably JetBlue still has some kinks to work out. That being said, it’s a bit disappointing when you fly a product like this shortly after it launches, and have the same problem in both directions.
At least the crew was proactive about offering compensation for this.
Is the JetBlue Mint Studio worth it?
Is it worth upgrading to the JetBlue Mint Studio? Obviously the answer is “it depends.” In my case I paid $129 to upgrade and got a $200 voucher for the issues, so I suppose in my case it was worth it. 😉
That being said, if everything is working as it should, is it worth paying $299 to upgrade to the JetBlue Mint Studio? The upsides of the Mint Studio are obvious (a lot more personal space, the opportunity to dine with someone else, etc.), but I did want to also share a few potential downsides:
- Being in the first row you deal with the most foot traffic, you’re closest to the galley (including the lights, and there’s no curtain), and you’re closest to the bathrooms; I have to give the crew huge credit for not chatting loudly in the galley, so I didn’t find that to be a huge issue
- One other consideration is that in both directions around 10 business class seats were taken, and almost everyone chose to crowd in the first five rows; the last several rows had a single passenger in both directions, so if a flight were that empty I’d choose to sit in the back of the cabin on my own
- There’s absolutely no difference in service between the Mint Studio and the Mint Suite; this is purely about the seat
So yeah, I’m not sure whether there’s an obviously good answer as to whether or not the JetBlue Mint Suite is worth it. At the $299 price tag I think I’d probably skip the Mint Studio next time, and would settle for a Mint Suite. Perhaps I’d be more inclined to book the Mint Studio if traveling with someone, so that we could dine together (assuming the tray table works).
JetBlue Mint London to New York review
How was the JetBlue Mint experience from London to New York? Gone with the wind fabulous, simply put. I’ll share some highlights, but again, check out my New York to London JetBlue Suite review for the most comprehensive look at JetBlue’s transatlantic soft product.
JetBlue departs from Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport. The check-in process was efficient, and we were through security in no time (which was a nice contrast to our immigration experience on arrival).
Much like in New York, JetBlue doesn’t have a lounge for business class passengers in London. Presumably the airline could partner with a lounge, but simply chooses not to. This wasn’t an issue for us — there’s a Plaza Premium Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 2, and we were able to access that with our Amex Platinum cards.
Our flight was departing from gate B46 at 2:05PM, with boarding scheduled to start at 1:20PM. We haded over the B Concourse at around 1PM, as it’s quite a hike.
Isn’t the JetBlue A321LR so cute-looking at Heathrow?!
Boarding started on-time at 1:20PM, and was orderly.
London (LHR) – New York (JFK)
Tuesday, August 24
Aircraft: Airbus A321LR
Seat: 1A (Mint Studio business class)
Taking care of the Mint business class cabin were Cesar, Valerie, and Michael, and much like on the outbound, they were superstars. They couldn’t have been more professional, kind, and personable. With just 10 passengers traveling in Mint, the crew to passenger ratio was excellent.
Waiting at each seat were menus and the typical amenities.
Our 7hr3min flight from London to New York departed on-time, and service began quickly after takeoff. The lunch menu read as follows:
The drink list read as follows:
The service flow was more or less identical to the outbound. I had a dirty martini and some sparkling water to drink. That was served with the tasting trio, which included olives, cashews, and artichokes.
For the main meal, I could once again choose three of the five items on the menu. I selected the following:
- Roasted carrots with yogurt, lemon vinaigrette, and sunflower seeds
- Shrimp curry with potatoes, onions, and crispy rice
- Chicken milanese with baby greens and mustard vinaigrette
That was served with a bread roll, as well as salt, olive oil, and chili oil.
The food was exceptionally good, just as on the outbound. I would have been delighted to be served any of those three dishes in a fancy restaurant. It’s not often you can say that when flying business class on a US airline.
After the main courses were cleared, the dessert trolley was rolled down the aisle, with the choice of vanilla gelato with blackberries and almond crunch, or a cheese plate with english cheddar, stilton, and accompaniments. I asked to try both, and the crew gladly obliged.
What a lovely inflight meal, from the food quality, to the pace, to the awesome service. After lunch I continued working, which was easy to do thanks to JetBlue’s complimentary high speed Wi-Fi. The crew constantly checked on passengers to see if anyone wanted anything.
I ordered an iced cappuccino at roughly the halfway point of the flight, and then a bit later ordered a cup of coffee, both of which were great.
There was also a snack basket, so the crew came through the cabin with that a couple of times to see if anyone wanted anything.
About 75 minutes before landing, the pre-arrival snack was served. The menu read as follows:
Service began with a warm, scented, packaged towel.
For the pre-arrival meal you could select two of three options. I had the panzanella with roasted tomatoes, pickled onions, and parmigiano, and the panini with roasted tomatoes, fontina, and cheddar. They were served with a side of pretzel bread.
The panzanella was tasty, while the panini seemed to me like an odd thing to serve. Don’t get me wrong, it was kind of delicious, but I feel like JetBlue can do something a bit more elevated than just bread with cheese, both in terms of health and flavor? All of the other dishes could have also easily been served in a nice restaurant, while I wouldn’t say that was the case for the panini.
All too soon we were already starting our approach to New York. About 30 minutes before landing the crew distributed thank you cards to all passengers — what a cute touch!
We ended up landing at JFK at 4:40PM, and then it took about 25 minutes for us to get a gate. While our taxi wasn’t long, we had to wait a while for our gate to open up. In the end we still arrived ahead of schedule. We had a checked bag, and unfortunately it ended up taking nearly an hour for that to arrive, so that was a not-great ending to an otherwise awesome transatlantic experience.
JetBlue’s transatlantic Mint experience is phenomenal, from the top notch flight attendants, to the great food & drinks, to the complimentary Wi-Fi and extensive entertainment, to the amenities.
Specific to this flight, I was happy I had the chance to experience the Mint Studio. Unfortunately I didn’t get the full experience, as the door didn’t fully close and the second tray table was broken, so Ford and I couldn’t dine together.
While there are some benefits to the Mint Studio, personally I’m not sure I’d pay to upgrade in the future, especially at the cost of $299. While the extra space is nice, there are also some mild downsides to being in the very front of the cabin.
What do you make of the JetBlue Mint Studio? Would you pay to upgrade to it?