What JetBlue Mint was like from JFK to LAX in 2016

What JetBlue Mint was like from JFK to LAX in 2016

Quick note: this is a review of the old JetBlue Mint product from 2016. You can read my full review of the newest JetBlue Mint seat to see what’s it’s like these days.

As strange as it may sound, this JetBlue flight from New York to Los Angeles was the flight I was looking forward to the most on this trip. Of course I had tons of fun being wined and dined in British Airways Club World and Virgin Atlantic Upper Class.

However, I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about JetBlue’s A321 Mint (premium transcon) service and I’ve been desperately trying to find excuses over the past several years to try it out for myself. So when I found myself with an itinerary that required getting from New York back to San Diego (in any way possible), I jumped at the chance to give this a try.

New York, NY (JFK) – Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Aircraft: A321-231
Registration: N934JB
Duration: 5 hours 41 minutes
Seat: 4F (Mint / business class)

jetBlue A321-321 side view
JetBlue A321 (N934JB) side view illustration by norebbo.com
JFK to LAX route map
Our route from JFK to LAX today as B6223.

The video

Before I begin with the written trip report, the following is a quick video that I put together which summarizes my experience. If you want to see more videos like this, be sure to visit my YouTube channel.

My arrival at John F. Kennedy Airport

The taxi ride from midtown Manhattan to JFK was super quick this morning, just as I had hoped. Writing these trip reports (and making videos) takes a lot of time and I always like to arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare in order to get all the content I need to make things interesting. So even though my flight wasn’t scheduled to depart until 8:40am, I found myself standing in the middle of the zoo that is the T5 departures hall at 6:20am.

I’m not even kidding when I say the place was a zoo – I really wasn’t expecting the airport to be that busy so early in the morning, so it was quite a shock to see wall-to-wall passengers and a massive queue (which snaked all around the terminal) for the security checkpoint.

JetBlue sign T5 JFK
Welcome to T5 at JFK. Home of jetBlue!
terminal 5 curbside JFK airport
Standing curbside at terminal 5 moments before walking in and joining the masses.
JetBlue check in JFK airport
JetBlue check in counters and baggage drop T5 JFK.

Luckily the security checkpoint line moved quickly, and it only took about 20 minutes to make it to the scanner. Not too bad at all, though I was a bit disgruntled when I reached the front of the line and I noticed that there was a separate (and much shorter) line for premium passengers such as myself. Grrr. Oh well.

Inside Terminal 5 at JFK

Despite the short delay getting through security, I still had quite a bit of time to kill before the flight was scheduled to board. That meant wandering the airport, walking up and down the terminal, checking things out, and making sure I had a lot of juicy content for this trip report.

I’m not sure I would go as far as to call these pics “juicy” (T5 at JFK isn’t THAT interesting) but I definitely had the time to get the pics I needed. Especially when they delayed the flight another 20 minutes just about 10 minutes before boarding was supposed to start.

JetBlue terminal 5 JFK airport
This was my first time inside T5 at JFK – the center section is nice, but the gate areas aren’t as interesting.
jetBlue engine T5 JFK airport
Now that’s my kind of sculpture! I guess I never realized how big those v2500 engines really are, but standing next to one here in the terminal really puts it into perspective.
Terminal 5 JFK airport
As you can see, T5 is relatively sterile (surprising considering how stylish of a brand JetBlue is).
JetBlue relaxation pods JFK airport
There were some “pockets” of cool scattered about though – these retro-looking relaxation pods seemed inviting.
SANspotter airport selfie JFK
Checking to make sure I got all the pics and video I needed for this trip report!
N934JB The Ultamint Experience
N934JB (“The Ultamint Experience”) pulling up to the gate – a bit late, but it was good to see it nonetheless.

While waiting in the gate area for the flight to board, I couldn’t help but to think that jetBlue is in desperate need of a proper lounge here at JFK. Even though I was holding a ticket for one of the best premium transcon seats in the market today, I had nowhere to go to escape the chaos of the main terminal.

Compare that with the really nice lounges that both Delta and American offer as part of their premium transcon experience, and JetBlue really comes up short here.

JetBlue gate 22 JFK T5
This is the ground experience for the JetBlue Mint product. No lounges means waiting at the gate!
JetBlue gate 22 JFK T5
Moments before they kicked off the boarding process.

I wasn’t really complaining all that much though, as my spirits were high as I walked down that jet bridge to board the flight. Would the Mint product meet the high expectations that had been swimming around in my head for the last several years? Time to find out…

My first impressions of the JetBlue Mint seat

JetBlue single seat suite Mint
There she is. Seat 4F (a single-seat suite) and it’s all mine for the next 5 and half hours.
jetBlue mint seat
Greeting me at the seat was a hand-signed welcome card, eye shades, and a thick duvet.
JetBlue Mint greeting card
Hand-signed greeting card welcoming me to the JetBlue Mint experience. No Deborah didn’t sign her name twice – both FA’s shared the same name!
JetBlue Mint seat
These Mint seats are really nice, and stuffed to the gills with storage spaces and neat little features.
JetBlue Mint seat
The large storage bin (top right of this pic) is deep enough to swallow the thick duvet when not in use.
JetBlue Mint seat power
There are two side-by-side power outlets and USB ports in these single-seat-suites.
JetBlue Mint leg room
The footwell is nice and wide, and shouldn’t be a problem for tall passengers.
JetBlue Mint seat controls
This is the brain of the JetBlue Mint seat. That massage function was killer (in a good way).
jetBlue Mint seat features
Close up of all the nooks and crannies (and additional power port) of the Mint seat.
JetBlue Mint singe seat
These single seats are very private and spacious.
JetBlue A321 Mint cabin
JetBlue A321 Mint cabin.
JetBlue A321 Mint cabin
JetBlue A321 Mint cabin.
JetBlue Mint cabin privacy
The privacy of the Mint cabin is really hard to beat.

I was greeted by Deborah (the lead FA) within 30 seconds of boarding, and I appreciated her taking the time to show me around and explain the features of the seat. She also told me about the Mint service, and all that entails (meals, entertainment, service, etc).

Now that’s the kind of greeting I like! I didn’t get anywhere near that friendly of a greeting on my American and Delta premium transcon flights last year, so right away I was liking the Mint experience quite a bit. She offered me a drink before heading off to greet other passengers, and I started to get settled in for what I was sure would be a great flight.

Brunch menus and headsets (non noise-cancelling) were distributed by the other flight attendant who was working the Mint cabin today, who’s name also happened Deborah. How confusing is that?

Cover of the JetBlue Mint menu
Cover of the JetBlue Mint menu (“Nourish Mint” – very clever!).
JetBlue Mint menu
JetBlue Mint October 2016 menu.
JetBlue Mint drink menu
JetBlue Mint drink menu.
JetBlue Mint noise cancelling headphones
Grado Labs SR60e Prestige Series headphones here in JetBlue Mint.
JetBlue A321 fuel loading
Loading up the last bit of fuel before we push off the gate.

The departure sequence

We never did make up much time during the boarding process, so we did end up pushing off the gate about 25 minutes behind schedule. I didn’t mind so much since I had a long layover in LAX, but it was good that the taxi out to the runway was relatively short (by JFK standards) and we were off and on our way without much more delay.

It was a bumpy departure though – I had a heck of a time getting pics that didn’t turn out blurry because of it, and the cabin service was delayed slightly until things smoothed out.

JetBlue A321 T5 JFK airport
Off the gate and on our way!
JetBlue A321 JFK airport
Taxiing out to the departure runway.
NYC skyline visible from JFK airport
Nice view of the New York City skyline off in the distance as we made our way out to the runway.
JFK airport departure
Starting the takeoff roll…
JFK airport departure
JFK airport departure
These A321’s sure can climb. This was a very 757-esque takeoff.
JFK airport departure
So long New York – I’m not sure when I’ll be back but I’m hoping it won’t be long.

What was the cabin service like?

Once it was safe for the Deborah’s to move about the cabin, hot towels were distributed and brunch orders were taken. I passed some time getting my mess of cameras (two GoPro’s / Sony point and shoot / iPhone) and their charging cables in order, and I was really surprised how fast the in-seat USB ports charged them all.

I know absolutely nothing about electricity, but those seats must have been turbo-charged or something because I had fully-charged devices within 15 minutes.

JetBlue Mint hot towel
The infamous airline hot towel. Most of the time they are far too hot or barely warm, but this one was just about perfect.
jetBlue Mint amenity kit
This is the outside of the JetBlue amenity kit. It’s basically just a cardboard box with goodies inside, but I thought it was pretty cool that there are two versions of it (one for men, the other for women).
etBlue Mint men's amenity ki
Contents of the JetBlue Mint men’s amenity kit.
JetBlue A321 window view
It was fairly overcast for the first portion of the flight, so there were not many good opportunities for window pics until later in the flight.

JetBlue Mint video entertainment

I also thought it would be fun to play with the free WiFi, but just a few minutes of trying to get it to load a single web page on my iPhone made me realize that it was essentially worthless. When are the airlines ever going to get in-flight WiFi right?

The in-seat video programming was quite good though, as it always is on JetBlue. Live TV has always been one of their major selling points, and it’s kind of nice actually – there aren’t many other airlines who offer live TV these days. I do have two minor complaints about it though. First, it would be nice if there were some premium channel offerings.

There are a lot of good shows on HBO these days, but JetBlue doesn’t offer that service. All you get is network TV, so if that’s not your thing, there really isn’t that much to watch. Second, the advertisements plastered all over the main menu (and moving map screen) were highly annoying.

JetBlue moving map
On-screen advertisements on the personal video screens were slightly annoying.

The meal service (was excellent)

It didn’t take long for the meal service to begin, and Deborah (which Deborah I couldn’t tell you) came by with a really tasty chocolate granola dish and drinks. I’m not entirely sure what that stuff was, but it was good and I wish they made it available for purchase. I’d buy a big box of it to take home!

JetBlue Mint granola snack
JetBlue Mint snack: a chocolate-granola mix which was phenomenal!

Brunch followed shortly thereafter and I’ve got to say that it was one of the best airline meals I’ve had in a while. Probably the best one since my first class Asiana flight from LAX to ICN two years ago.

he only bummer was that the turbulence was starting to get bad again right before they reached me, so I had to wait a few minutes longer before I could eat. I’m normally a patient guy, but being denied food (especially when it’s my turn to be served) is always a test of inner strength. Lol…

JetBlue Mint brunch service
JetBlue Mint brunch service. Each passenger got three choices from the menu, and I chose the smoked salmon and cream cheese, sausage and cheese quiche, and the roasted butternut squash salad. All three were delicious!
JetBlue Mint meal service
That’s me (SANspotter) digging in to one of the best airline meals I’ve had in a long time.
JetBlue Mint fruit plate
JetBlue Mint fruit plate.

How comfortable are the seats for long flights?

Once the brunch service was over, I took advantage of the massage functions in the seat and laid that thing flat to give it a proper test. Long story short: SANspotter approved! Magic happens when the seat is in the fully flat position and the massage function is turned up full blast. It was quite good, and it even started putting me to sleep even though I wasn’t tired at all.

The only complaint I have about it is that the footwell is incredibly narrow and it feels excessively cramped when the seat is in the lie-flat position. I don’t have big feet (US size 10), so I feel especially sorry for anyone with big feet in these seats. I’m not even sure how it would work actually.

JetBlue Mint LED mood lighting
Cabin lights were dimmed after the meal service, leaving the entire Mint cabin bathed in cool blue LED mood lighting.
JetBlue Mint LED mood lighting
There was even cool blue mood lighting in the footwell of the seats, which looked great.
JetBlue Mint flat bed
Trying out the flat bed for a while. It felt great!

The rest of the flight (and the arrival into LAX)

Most of the excitement occurred in the first half of this flight. Once the meal service was over, and I had sufficiently played with the seat enough to get a good sense of what it was like, there wasn’t much else to do.

JetBlue moving map screen
The entire middle section of the country was a blur to me. I slept through most of it!
Omaha nebraska from the air
I was awake enough, however, to get a decent pic of Omaha, Nebraska as we passed overhead.
JetBlue Mint bathroom
JetBlue Mint lavatory. I’m not even sure why I take these pics – most of these airplane bathrooms are the same!
flying over western US desert
When the terrain starts looking like this, you know you’re way out west!
JetBlue moving map
Only 45 minutes to go, and I was kind of bummed that my Mint experience was nearing the end.
approaching LAX
Starting the descent over the desert on our way into southern California.
approaching LAX
Slowly the desert landscape starts turning green the closer we get to LA.
mountains surrounding los angeles
The mountains surrounding the LA basin are beautiful from above, and stunning from the ground. It’s been a while since I’ve driven through here and I think I need to do something about that…
Los Angeles from the air
Starting to look like LA now.

Hot towels were distributed with 45 minutes of flying time remaining, and I was really surprised when the Deborah’s came through the cabin one last time handing out boxes of fancy cookies as we were descending into LAX. Wow! Now that’s the kind of little detail which makes for a great passenger experience IMHO.

Keep in mind I am not a fan of sweets and I don’t eat cookies at all, but the gesture is what I liked. I’ve never yet seen anything like that on other airlines, which surprises me considering how cheap a little perk like this is. The bang for the buck with this sort of thing is huge and I’m really surprised more airlines aren’t doing it.

JetBlue Mint cookies
An end-of-flight gift from JetBlue. Cookies!
flying over downtown Los Angeles
Downtown LA looming in the distance.
24L arrival LAX airport
Moments before touchdown on 24L at LAX.
24L arrival LAX airport
Welcome to Los Angeles!
24L arrival LAX airport
It was right about now that I wished that I could stay on this flight for another 5 hours. It was good to be home, but the JetBlue Mint product is really good!
terminal 3 LAX
Pulling up to the gate here in terminal 3.
LAX terminal 3
Inside the old but history-rich terminal 3 at LAX. The last time I was in here was 1999!
LAX terminal 3
Terminal 3 is one of the oldest here at LAX, and will soon be completely renovated. It’ll be sad to see it go, but at the same time, an update is badly needed.

Final thoughts about my first ever JetBlue Mint experience

And that wraps up my first ever experience in JetBlue Mint. It was definitely everything I hoped it would be (and more!) and I’m proud to proclaim it as my new favorite premium transcon service. I should note that having one of the really private single suites is what made this experience so good. Would I have enjoyed the Mint experience as much if I was sitting in one of the shared seats? Honestly, probably not.

And while I’m being realistic, I’d like to point out that the ground experience for JetBlue Mint is abysmal. There are no lounges on either end (JFK and LAX/SFO) so you’ll have to fight masses immediately before and after the flight. But once onboard…wow. The onboard service more than makes up for the lack of lounges, enough to make me a really big fan.

Comments (2)

  1. RK Aviation

    October 23, 2022
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      October 24, 2022

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