TRIED AND TESTED FLIGHT
New York JFK – Los Angeles LAX
BACKGROUND Jet Blue has been flying its premium Mint cabin on its transcontinental services (along with some seasonal Caribbean routes) since 2014. The product features large in-flight entertainment screens and lie-flat seats, including Jet Blue’s mini-suites (single throne seats with sliding doors for privacy).
CHECK-IN Upon a somewhat late arrival at JFK, I was relieved that the Jet Blue ticket counter staff was understanding and eager to speed my check-in process. Jet Blue also has a premium passenger security line, which helped me bypass the masses, always a good thing.
Hustling to the gate, I boarded immediately, avoiding long lines since everyone else had boarded. Given my late arrival, I missed cocktails, but the cabin crew welcomed me graciously and I was happy to finally settle into my own Mint space.
THESE AT The cabin layout was interesting, as row 1 had two adjacent seats on each side, while row 2 had one single throne seat on each side. These so-called mini-suites had sliding doors for privacy. The brilliance of this seating layout allows two colleagues to travel together or, going solo, you have your ‘suite’ to yourself.
The seat was roomy and quite comfortable. Extended to its full lie-flat position, the seat stretched 6 feet 8 inches, more than ample length for my six-foot frame, and the generous width made it easy to roll from side to side. The 15-inch display offered an abundance of movies and entertainment, and was on for the entire trip from gate-to-gate.
THE FLIGHT The Jet Blue inflight bites reflect the airline’s commitment to small businesses and local favorites. The menu was inspired by New York City’s Saxon + Parole, a restaurant that focuses on domestic meat and seafood, as well as seasonal produce. It featured a wide variety of choices, including grilled ahi tuna, asparagus and artichoke risotto and herb-crusted chicken.
Inspired by Jon Bonné, award-winning wine columnist for PUNCH and author of The New Wine Rules, the wine list was selected exclusively for the Mint experience.
My late arrival at the airport meant that I also had no lunch, so I was delighted that the flight attendant was more than generous with the available “seconds” from the menu. I found the Jet Blue staff both on the ground and in the air unfailingly pleasant and eager to help.
With a happy belly, and some big-screen entertainment and XM Radio, it was finally time for a nap. Fully-flat and room to move, I settled in for a sweet ride to LA.
ARRIVAL Our flight landed at LAX reasonably on time, and thanks to the relaxing six-plus hours in the air, I arrived in Mint condition (pun intended) and ready to do business in the City of Angels.
VERDICT Jet Blue has definitely made a point of rethinking the entire flying experience from gate to-gate, and it shows in their premiere Mint product. But what makes it really work is how the people execute on the equation.
NEW YORK JFK – LOS ANGELES LAX