JetBlue just introduced its new Mint (business class) seat, which will roll out on Airbus A321LRs that will begin flying to London this summer. Some A321neos will get the product, too, so it will eventually be available on certain domestic flights as well.
They’ve selected the Thompson Aero’s VantageSolo seat for their new business class Mint Suite. In addition there will be a row of two seats at the front of the plane they call the Mint Studio (reminiscent of Etihad’s Business Studio) featuring a larger screen, extra side table, and a guest seat so that passengers can dine together. JetBlue claims it will offer more space than any other US airline premium product, and the largest lie flat bed offered by a US airline.
JetBlue has offered ‘better seats’ within their business class cabin already, with 1×1 Mint suites already. US Airways used to offer a single lie flat row at the front of business class, while the rest of the cabin featured less premium seats, a remnant of when the carrier offered true international first class and management was too cheap to replace the seats when they stopped offering three-cabin service.
New Business Class Seat
JetBlue’s Mint Suite is lie flat direct aisle access with doors. Delivering that on a narrowbody alone is a win. The seat has a 17″ seat back screen, and they’re promising to extend free wifi to their international flying the way they offer it domestically.
The seat has wireless charging, seat power, and storage for a handbag and laptop – which tells me storage space will be limited. JetBlue is promoting privacy dividers, lamp shades, and faux-leather covering for seats and headrests.
New Mint ‘Studio’ Premium Business Seat
Airlines like Malaysia and Asiana have moved to offering ‘premium business’ – better seats with business class service, no longer called first class – so JetBlue is in good company here.
How JetBlue’s New Premium Product Compares
At the end of the day this is a narrowbody aircraft, that’s highly space-constrained. JetBlue appears to do a great job with their new business class offerings working in a difficult space, delivering lie flat direct aisle access with doors, and nice finishes and attention to detail.
I have a hard time imagining I’ll prefer JetBlue Mint over British Airways which took the American Airlines Super Diamond seat and added doors to it. A widebody jet is going to feel more spacious. However with 16 lie flats in a narrowbody, as a percentage of total seats JetBlue has gone premium yet doesn’t have to sell a lot of inventory for this to work.
JetBlue’s revenue-based program makes premium redemptions costly, and elites don’t currently have the option for complimentary upgrades. Hopefully as JetBlue builds on its partnership with American Airlines we’ll see improvements in the TrueBlue program commensurate with the premium product they’re offering on board.
By the way last week American Airlines Senior Vice President Vasu Raja told employees that they do not yet have any idea the configuration they’ll have for their A321XLRs, which are at least 3 years from delivery. American, like JetBlue, will operate narrowbodies on short transatlantic flights, and is expected to offer a lie flat seat of its own on the variant.