JetBlue A321 Mint (business class) New York (JFK) to San Diego

01. Introduction: United Airlines Premium Transcon Business Class vs. JetBlue Mint (hahahaha!)
02. United Airlines 737-900/ER first class San Diego to Los Angeles
03. United Club, Terminal 7 LAX
04. United Airlines 757-200 Premium Business Class (P.S.) Los Angeles to Newark
05. Sheraton hotel, JFK Airport
06. JetBlue A321 Mint (business class) New York (JFK) to San Diego

I’d like to take a moment and kick this trip report off with a gigantic “THANK YOU” to JetBlue for coming to their senses and bringing their amazing Mint business class product to San Diego last year. Of all the route and service announcements that we had involving San Diego International Airport in 2017, this is the only one that caused me to unconsciously blurt out a hearty “hell yes!” as soon as I read the news. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I wasn’t in a staff meeting at the time, so I had to compose myself quickly by pretending to be in full agreement with what our division lead was saying about our quarterly numbers. But hey – playing it cool at work when travel is all I can think about is a specialty of mine, and I walked out of that meeting happier about Mint than I was about another successful quarter. Priorities, man. Priorities.

B6189
New York, NY (JFK) – San Diego, CA (SAN)
Friday, November 24, 2017
Aircraft: A321-231
Registration: N964JT
Duration: 5 hours 13 minutes
Seat: 4F (Mint / business class)

JetBlue a321 side view

JetBlue A321 (N964JT) side view illustration by norebbo.com.

JetBlue a321 transcon seat map

Seat map of this JetBlue A321 (courtesy of seatguru.com) showing my seat (4F) for this flight to SAN.

JFK-SAN flight map

Our route from JFK to SAN this morning: RBV J230 AIR J110 ZANDR J110 STL J19 FTI J18 ABQ J18 HOGGZ LUCKI1

My arm was still pretty sore as we pulled up to terminal 5 at JFK on the hotel shuttle bus, but overall I was in pretty good spirits. Hey – you try patting yourself on your back for making such a good hotel choice with such convenient access to the airport, and tell me that doesn’t hurt after a few seconds!

 JFK departures lane

“Back at the airport!” –  Casey Neistat fans will recognize this spot instantly, as he has started many a vlog from this exact location.

The last time I flew JetBlue out of JFK was nearly 2 years ago, and I remember very clearly not being able to find a dedicated priority line for security. I remember it because the regular line was obnoxiously long, and it took forever to get through. I wasn’t going to make that same mistake this time however, and I took my time to scout out the area for that priority lane which would hopefully get me through security as quickly as possible.

JetBlue check in JFK airport

It’s so nice to see a check in area that isn’t just a row of desks with agents standing behind it. Of course there is some of that along the back wall, but having the kiosks floating out in the main space like this really works (until the kiosk you are using refuses to cooperate and you can’t find anyone to help).

The good news is I found the priority lane. The bad news was that it didn’t seem to be going any faster than the regular lane, and I still ended up having to wait for quite a long time to make it all the way through. This lane was much shorter of course, but the problem was that they were letting flight crews use it and there were apparently a lot of flights going out that morning. I’m pretty sure that I could’ve stood in the regular line and made it through just as fast. I mean slow.

JFK airport security lines

Um…where’s the priority lane?

JFK airport departures board

Having this flight information display right in the middle of the security queue probably isn’t helping anybody who is feeling anxiety about missing their flight. Watching the time tick away minute by minute as you stand there motionless is a helpless feeling no doubt. On a brighter note, check out that Mint icon next to the San Diego flight. Woot! (Does anyone actually say “woot” anymore?)

Once the TSA deemed me not to be a threat, first priority was trying to find some breakfast. Hitting a really cool JetBlue lounge would have been the top priority for this morning, but since those don’t exist, I was relegated to finding a convenience store or cafe which had some semi-healthy breakfast items available. I found one near my gate, and after paying $12 for a banana, small cup of yogurt, and a bottle of water, I was on my way. Sheesh. I knew I was going to eat very well on the plane, so thinking back on it, I have no idea why I paid so much for so little. Travel can be expensive at times!

JFK airport JetBlue terminal interior

Come on JetBlue, there’s plenty of room for lounge in here, so why haven’t you built one yet?

SANspotter selfie JFK airport

Lounging economy-class style in the main gate area with my five dollar bottle of water. This is by far the biggest area where the JetBlue Mint experience falls short.

JetBlue A321 JFK airport

That’s my bird to San Diego!

Gate 25 JFK airport

Gate 25 looking as plain as a glass of whole milk.

JetBlue mobile boarding pass

Even the boarding passes are milky white. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why I had a sudden craving for chocolate chip cookies at that moment?

Normally I’m a good little trip reporter who takes thorough notes during my travels, but looking through my scribbles from this flight, I didn’t seem to mention anything about how accurate the boarding time was. I guess we boarded on time, because we actually arrived in San Diego a little bit early so I’m assuming that means there were no delays along the way.

Boarding JetBlue flight to San Diego

Nope, not smelling anything minty yet.

JetBlue A321 boarding door

Moments away from setting my rear end down in one of the best business class seats in the sky!

JetBlue A321 Mint cabin

JetBlue A321 Mint cabin.

JetBlue mint single seat suite

That’s not a seat. It’s a throne, and it’s mine for the five hour flight to San Diego this morning.

JetBlue A321 Mint seat

Super private, super spacious, and super comfy. These JetBlue single seat suites are incredible!

Once on board, it felt oddly like being home. I love JetBlue Mint, mostly because of how enthusiastic and happy the flight attendants are. The first thing greeting me on this flight was a card sitting on my seat which was hand-signed by both flight attendants. When’s the last time you got one of those flying American, Delta, or United? I tell you what, these little details make all the difference!

JetBlue business class amenities

On every seat was a plush duvet, an amenity kit, and a hand signed welcome note from the flight attendants.

Hand written JetBlue mint welcome note

Thanks Misch-ka and Edwin! Why yes, I will have one of those RefreshMints if it’s not too much trouble! On a side note, how cool is the name “Misch-ka”? Since I’m not planning on having any kids soon, I wonder if my cat will mind if I change her name to that?

30 seconds later I was greeted by a very cheery Misch-ka who asked me if this was my first time flying JetBlue Mint. The fact that I was taking pictures of everything probably gave her every reason to assume that I was a newbie flyer, and I sensed a look of disappointment on her face when I told her that this wasn’t my first rodeo, and no, it was not necessary to show me all the features of the seat. She seemed very eager to do it though, which again, is just another little detail which puts all the other US airlines to shame.

She also offered me the signature JetBlue Mint pre-departure drink, referred to as a “RefreshMint”. Basically it’s just a sugary minty-flavored alcoholic drink, which normally wouldn’t sound appealing to me at all, but she was so nice and it was kind of a special occasion, so what the hell. Sure, I’ll have one – on the rocks please.

JetBlue RefreshMint

The signature JetBlue RefreshMint – not my style of drink at all, but not to have one would’ve been completely inappropriate.

 Signature JetBlue predeparture drink

Ahhhhh! Minty!

JetBlue Mint single seat

Too bad there isn’t a joystick and more buttons to press in here. It feels like a cockpit!

JetBlue Mint leg room

I’m no pilot, but I’m guessing there is a lot more leg room here than you would find up front in any airplane.

JetBlue Mint suite door

Feeling a bit on the introverted side today with an overwhelming desire to shut the world out? Here in the single seat suites, there’s a solution for that…

JetBlue Mint suite door

Boom! Don’t bother me.

JetBlue Mint seat details

So many nooks and crannies in these seats. I was so nervous I was going to forget about anything I put in these storage bins, because, well…it’s happened before.

JetBlue Mint amenity kit

Hmm, this amenity kit is a nice upgrade from the one I got last time!

JetBlue Mint amenity kit gloves

I have no idea when I will ever wear these gloves again, but holy crap they’re cool.

JetBlue safety card front cover

Blue and green everywhere – even on the safety card front cover.

JetBlue A321 safety card

I don’t think this safety card is accurate. I mean, if there was an actual emergency, there would be RefreshMints spilled all over the place. I don’t even see a stray mint leaf depicted here!

JetBlue a321 JFK

Another Mint-equipped bird, headed to SFO if I remember correctly.

From that point forward, the pushback and departure was all eerily similar to the flight I took from JFK to LAX back in October 2015. The weather was exactly the same, and I was even sitting in the exact same seat. We even took off from the same runway so our entire taxi sequence was the same as well. That’s not a complaint by the way. Just sitting there, alone, in my JetBlue Mint private suite anticipating a great flight across the country in maximum comfort (and style) is a pretty darn good feeling.

Taxi to runway JFK

Unfortunately there was absolutely nothing interesting to see on our way out to the runway this morning.

Departing JFK JetBlue a321

Things got much more scenic once in the air though…

Flying over New York City

Seeing the city like that off in the distance made me feel really guilty about coming all this way and staying less than 12 hours (and overnighting at an airport hotel). Neither Frank Sinatra or Billy Joel would approve, I’m sure of it.

JetBlue Mint privacy

Is it too early to shut my door yet? I don’t want to come across as being TOO antisocial…

Hot towels were distributed as we were making our way to cruising altitude. Smoothies were poured as well.

JetBlue Mint smoothie

Pineapple and banana smoothies for all shortly after departure. Quite tasty, though having it served in something larger than a shot glass would have been nice.

The flight attendants also came around taking our brunch orders, and for some reason or another I just couldn’t seem to decide what I wanted to eat. If you’re not familiar with the JetBlue Mint menu, you are presented with five items and you are allowed to choose any three to make any combination you want. I think part of the problem for me this morning was the fact that I wasn’t really all that hungry and there just didn’t seem to be anything on the menu that stood out to me as a gotta-have item. That’s not to say that the choices were bad or anything – as a matter fact it all looked very fancy and delicious, but I was just kind of in a picky mood at that moment and I just didn’t see anything there that I wanted to shove into my belly as soon as humanly possible.

JetBlue Mint menu

The JetBlue Mint menu. Felt pretty good to be holding one of these in my hand again!

JetBlue Mint menu

Decisions, decisions. Picking just three items isn’t easy, so give me a moment, will ya?

JetBlue Mint drink menu

Uh oh…I’m not seeing water listed here.

In the end, I decided to go with the salmon, French toast, and polenta.

JetBlue Mint brunch

Brunch! This is the quinoa crusted salmon, banana bread French toast, and Parmesan polenta.

SANspotter selfie JetBlue Mint

Dining solitude at 37,000ft.

JetBlue Mint dessert

Blue Marble sorbet for dessert. To be honest, I didn’t really care for this. There was certainly nothing wrong with it, but it just wasn’t my kind of flavor. Chocolate chip cookies would have really hit the spot.

The meal ended up being very good, and I was sufficiently stuffed afterwards and in desperate need of putting the seat into a lie flat position and getting some rest. Because hey – what’s more healthy than gorging yourself on bucket loads of rich delicious food and then laying down to take a nap for four hours? Not to sound like a party pooper, but I think if I traveled any more than I do now, I’d probably skip many of these fancy meals and eat something more healthy in between flights.

JetBlue Mint blue mood lighting

JetBlue wins the award for the deepest blue mood lighting on any flight anywhere in the world. As they should, with “blue” being half their name.

JetBlue Mint interior

If I was wearing blue, you probably wouldn’t be able to see me at all!

JetBlue Mint lavatory

Sooo disappointed that there’s no blue mood lighting in the lavatory. Come to think of it, wouldn’t it be cool if they did green in here? JetBlue, I’m available for hire if you need any more good ideas…

JetBlue inflight map

A brief check of the map on the way back from the lav. Still a ways to go yet. But check out that unfortunate chop of the word “woman” in the lower right –  Kelly Clarkson isn’t as much woman as she thought she was apparently…

I succeeded admirably in being a lazy bum for our entire journey across the country today and I didn’t even put the seat back fully upright until we were on our descent into San Diego. By that time the flight attendants were coming around with the signature JetBlue pre-landing snack, which today happened to be a pair of delicious-looking sugar cookies. I didn’t eat them at the time considering how fat and ashamed I felt after eating so much earlier, but I did devour them about three weeks later and they were still fresh and pretty darn delicious.

Pre landing snack JetBlue Mint

Cookies from the flight attendants as we were on the approach into SAN. I could have used some more of that pineapple banana smoothie actually…

Flying over Salton Sea

If that’s the Salton Sea, we must be almost home. (Yes, that is the Salton Sea, and we are almost home).

Approaching San Diego

No caption. Just take a moment to observe the beauty of east county San Diego…

JetBlue Mint ambiance

This may be my last JetBlue Mint flight for awhile, so I need to suck up as much of this ambiance as I can before we land.

SANspotter selfie JetBlue Mint

I can’t resist looking out the window though. I just can’t.

Flying into San Diego

Nearly there. It’s a good thing the rainy season starts soon, because look how dry it is out there!

Landing at San Diego international airport

The landing sequence. Welcome to San Diego!

JetBlue Mint arrival San Diego

Apparently SAN is 24ft above sea level. I never knew that.

JetBlue arrival San Diego

Chances are good that the DL 737 is headed to JFK. Or SLC. Or DTW. Or SEA. Or ATL. Or MSP. Ok, well, I guess there’s only a 1 in 6 chance. Close enough.

JetBlue gate San Diego airport

Thanks for another amazing Mint experience, JetBlue!

Arriving into San Diego in a premium business class product was slightly on the mind-blowing side of things for me. I’ve never arrived home in such style (and comfort) and I’ve got to say that it was quite a neat feeling flying all the way across the country from New York like this. A comfy seat with great service makes all the difference in the world in terms of feeling fresh and chipper as I step off the plane, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt more energetic after arriving into San Diego after a five hour flight.

JetBlue Mint arrival

Do I really have to get off? I’m perfectly content to spend 5 more hours right here in 4F, thank you very much.

JetBlue Mint cabin pic

Looks like the guy in 1F is thinking the same thing.

San Diego airport jet bridge

Well, that was fun. I seem to recall trying to scheme a plan for my next Mint experience as I was walking up this jet bridge.

JetBlue a321 San Diego airport

Have a good flight back to JFK!

San Diego international airport

So good to see you again, San Diego. I’ve only been gone 30 hours, but God I missed you.

Thanks again to JetBlue for bringing Mint to San Diego! Not only because it’s the best business class seat in the US right now, but because it’s making American, Delta, and United squirm uncomfortably as they realize they are losing market share on transcontinental routes in and out of San Diego. The good news is that at the time of this writing, both Delta and United have dedicated at least one daily flight to New York from SAN with proper lie-flat business class equipped aircraft. We’re still waiting to see whether or not American Airlines wants to jump in and partake in any of this action. Considering how much of a presence they have here in San Diego and how important New York City is to them, I think it’s only a matter of time before we see some A321T’s here in America’s Finest City.

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