TRIED AND TESTED FLIGHT

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JetBlue A321-200

Mint Class

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

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