Sometimes things stick – an airline hits all the right points and the public reacts resoundingly. Alot of the time airlines introduce new service and most of the time it’s really a crapshoot to see if they can pull it off or not. the
JetBlue seems to have hit the bullseye with their premium first class Mint product.
The airline felt the pressure of the introduction of the ‘premium’ service flights from the New York area (their home) to the west coast – they further felt the squeeze with the entry of Virgin America on these highly lucrative routes between New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco. They had to act.
And act they did.
JetBlue (B6) has formally announced that they will be operating new Mint service to San Diego, Las Vegas and St. Maarten from New York JFK and Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), two of their biggest (and oldest) hubs. The airline had previously hinted at Mint expansion into these markets, but has now formalized it.
Services will be phased in accordingly, and will look something like this, per a press release by the airline on USA Today:
New York JFK-Las Vegas: Service begins Nov. 6 on one of the carrier’s two daily round-trip flights. Mint seats come to the second flight on Nov. 10. Seats are now on sale.
Boston-San Diego: Service begins Dec. 10 on one of the carrier’s two daily round-trip flights. Mint seats come to the second flight on Dec. 20. Seats are now on sale.
New York JFK-San Diego: Service begins Aug. 15 on one of the carrier’s two daily round-trip flights. Mint seats come to the second flight on Oct. 10. Seats are now on sale.
As you can see, flights will be initially on a single daily basis before going full Mint service at a later time. New Mint Airbus A321 aircraft will be entering the fleet as the year progresses.
On top of these flights, St. Maarten will get Mint service from JetBlue on their once weekly (Saturdays only) flights from New York – it makes sense as it jives with cruise ship schedules for the summer. Premium services will always be open and in demand for the New York to Carribbean market during the busy summer period.
Seattle is next on the list apparently, according to the airline. Mint will be introduced on the New York and Boston markets come the end of the year once they have time to rationalize some operational realities.
JetBlue Mint offers 80 inches of pitch and 22 inches of width for the “suite” individual seats, whilst also offering the same 80 inches of legroom but with a reduced 20.5 inches of seat width for the “companion” pair of seats. Either way, it’s an impressive product for an American domestic carrier offering.
This is a great development for folks – and a definite cause of worry for the incumbents – i.e. the usual suspects, the big three (American, United and Delta). All three offer these sort of premium service New York to the SFO and LAX – but the fact that JetBlue is finding so much success with Mint to firstly expand to Boston (have you been on a UA First Class flight from BOS to LAX lately!??) then now onto even more ports is great for the consumer, very bad for the competitor. Let’s not even get into AA’s First Class catering of late.
JetBlue caters Mint from a famous New York restaurant, provides amenities from a popular hipster brand and doles out an industry leading hard product a third of which are private enclosed suites – and they’re supposedly a low cost carrier. With that in mind, their fares hover around $600 one way – compared to close to $2,000 on their competitors. It’s yet to be seen what fares will look like on these new and future planned routes but we’d bet that they will be extremely competitive.
Next time I fly from New York to Las Vegas, do I choose between a recliner seat on a 737 on Delta in First Class with 38 inches of legroom and a one tray meal service or an enclosed suite on a JetBlue A321 with 80 inches with three tapas dishes for most likely a cheaper price?
The choice is yours and I know it wouldn’t be Delta or any of the big fellas.
It’s remarkable that by December 2017, one in every 17 JetBlue flights will be a Mint service. For something that was debuted just about 3 years ago, that’s astounding. Especially in the supposed ‘race to the bottom’ perpetuated by actors like United and American and a competitive market such as the US airline market. JetBlue truly shines in this regard – they are also usually amongst the top of the bunch when it comes to consumer approval ratings and surveys.
We are desperately eager to try out our first Mint flights, whenever they might come. It’s just those damn MQM’s…they get ya everytime.
Have you flown JetBlue Mint? What’s your take on them? Would you go out of your way to fly on a Mint flight?
Featured image credit: jetBlue