6 things JetBlue should change about Mint business class
JetBlue offers one of the best business-class products in the U.S., but it’s not flawless.
When the Mint product was unveiled nearly nine years ago, the New York-based carrier shook up the domestic premium-cabin market. Since then, the airline has won a plethora of awards for its top-notch product, which has also scored rave reviews from flyers and TPG reporters alike.
JetBlue took things up a notch last year when it unveiled its next-generation Mint product, which is now flying on select domestic frequencies and on the airline’s new transatlantic service to London. Along with a brand-new seat, the airline brought a revamped inflight service experience to all of its Mint-equipped Airbus A321 jets.
But, for all the praise that JetBlue deserves for both the new and old Mint experience, the original product is starting to show its age. As the product comes up on its 9-year anniversary, it’s time for JetBlue to consider making some long-term adjustments to the original Mint experience.
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An outdated inflight entertainment system
The original Mint product is still sporting the same inflight entertainment system that it launched with in 2014.
The 15-inch screens offer nearly 100 channels of DirecTV programming and over 100 channels of SiriusXM radio, along with a handful of on-demand movies and TV shows.
While that might sound like plenty, the entertainment system could definitely use an upgrade.
In terms of the hardware, the screen itself has a glossy finish that’s highly reflective, making it especially hard to focus on the content when there’s lots of ambient light. Additionally, the screen doesn’t tilt or swivel, which isn’t ideal for those who enjoy watching movies when lying down.
The remote is also showing its age. It only has a few physical buttons, but many of them are worn out from overuse, and you won’t feel any physical feedback when pressing them down.
Finally, the content itself could use an update. The live TV and satellite radio don’t work on Caribbean routes and the on-demand movies and TV shows can get repetitive for frequent flyers.
Seat padding (or lack thereof)
The seats in the original Mint product are cushioned with padding that can be adjusted to your preferred firmness. The cushions fill up with air as you increase the firmness.
Unfortunately, this air-based cushioning hasn’t aged well. On three recent Mint flights, I’ve arrived at my seat only to have it feel like I’m sitting on or against a steel wall.
In all three cases, there was no air in the cushioning system, and I was sitting against the bones of the seat. I asked the flight attendant to reset the system on all three cases, but it only fixed the problem on two of the three flights.
On my most recent flight, the flight attendant profusely apologized that she couldn’t fix the padding issue. Fortunately, the airline had stocked a replacement seat cushion on the flight (due to this being a common issue), so she installed that instead.
Allergens on inflight menus
The food and drinks offered in Mint are some of the best you’ll find in the sky.
I love that JetBlue publishes its inflight menus before your flight, so I can decide whether to pre-order a special meal or stick with the standard offering.
If JetBlue wanted to take its menus to the next level, it should consider adding symbols for allergens and dietary restrictions. This way, those with special diets could better determine if the food offering suits their aversions and preferences.
Choice of bread
JetBlue offers a tapas-style service in Mint, giving you a choice of three out of five appetizer-size portions to build your own meal.
However, one thing you can’t choose is your bread selection. Unlike the legacy carriers that offer flyers a pick from a bread basket, JetBlue gives each Mint flyer the same type of dinner roll.
Of course, this is minor in the grand scheme of things, but those who are used to business-class service on JetBlue’s competitors might miss a pick from the bread basket (especially if it includes a pretzel roll).
Configuration isn’t ideal
JetBlue’s original Mint product is arranged in an alternating 1-1 and 2-2 configuration, spread across five rows. There are four total single suites, along with 12 couple seats in rows one, three and five.
If you’re traveling alone, you might not love JetBlue’s original Mint configuration. Sure, the “thrones” are great, but they represent just 25% of the cabin’s footprint. If you’re booking at the last minute, or if there are lots of solo travelers on your flight, odds are that you’ll be stuck in one of the couple seats, which offer minimal privacy and much less storage.
Of course, the only way for JetBlue to improve the configuration is to retrofit its existing jets. Hopefully, that’s something the airline is considering as its charting the future of the Mint experience.
Collecting headphones so early
Before JetBlue refreshed the Mint experience in late 2020, the airline used to give passengers a pair of subpar Grado SR80e Prestige Series Headphones to use throughout the flight.
Along with the new Mint came a new model of headphones for all premium-cabin flyers: Master and Dynamic MH40 over-ear headphones. These offer much better sound and significantly improved noise reduction compared to the legacy model.
The Master and Dynamic headphones retail for $299, and JetBlue is serious about them staying on the plane. Flight attendants pass through the cabin handing them out during boarding, and they’re collected and tallied before the initial descent, roughly 45 minutes before landing.
While flight attendants offer flimsy earbuds for the remainder of the flight, it’d be great if JetBlue could figure out a system that allowed flyers to use the premium headphones until the plane is parked at the gate.
This one isn’t only a JetBlue issue. The airline’s new partner, American Airlines, also hands out premium headphones (Bang and Olufsen), and they’re also collected and tallied well before landing.
Perhaps, both American and JetBlue could copy Lufthansa, which bolts a pair of Bose QuietComfort 35 into the headphone jack, so flyers can use the top-notch earphones from takeoff to touchdown without worrying about them becoming a gift.
There’s lots to love about the JetBlue Mint business-class experience.
Even on the carrier’s oldest jets, the New York-based airline offers a top-notch product, especially in the single seats, along with delicious food, trendy amenity kits and personalized service for all.
That said, the original Mint product is quickly approaching its 9-year anniversary, and some elements of the experience are starting to show their age.
If JetBlue wants to keep winning awards, the airline ought to start planning for the future of the original Mint product.
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy