JetBlue Introduces New Business Class, And Seats Above Business You Aren’t Supposed To Call First Class

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 jetblue mint cabin
Credit: JetBlue

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 jetblue mint suite bed
Credit: JetBlue

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.

new jetblue mint
Credit: JetBlue

new jetblue minute bed
Credit: JetBlue

new jetblue mint studio
Credit: JetBlue

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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Pingbacks

Comments

  1. Interesting where you say “and management was too cheap to replace the seats”. Was That the Parker/Kirby crew?

  2. “ JetBlue’s revenue-based program makes premium redemptions costly”

    As opposed to paying a lot of miles and cash surcharges on a British Airways flight? That is who you are comparing to, right?

    So it looks like Jet Blue redeems for cash value at about a penny a point. So basically SkyPesos… is burning AA/BA miles + forking a few hundred in cash going to really put you ahead? Or is Mosaic terrible on both earn and burn side? (Note that you have an AMEX transfer option for both BA and B6 so there’s some direct comparisons you can make.)

  3. @Gary – Do we have any idea what AA redemptions on B6 will be available/cost? I would consider this for flights in the JetBlue route map, including transatlantic flying they pick up.

    Thanks for an informative story, Gary!

  4. Yeah, I think a single-aisle intercontinental service is a hard sell. Personally, I’d rather fly in Premium Economy in a spacious and smooth-ride BA A380 (or equivalent) than this. Add to that if you’re going to/from the west coast, flying SFO-LHR vs. detouring SFO-JFK-LHR, for example, just pushes the desirability of the B6 option further down the list.

    I just think that the application of narrow-body for transatlantic is a niche market for very time- or frequency-sensitive o/d passengers only.

  5. This probably isn’t worth detouring for, particularly since a TATL flight out of JFK/BOS isn’t great for sleep anyway, but isn’t a bad product when you have to connect either way, or are flying nonstop.

    Doubly so if cash prices are competitive like they are on domestic Mint.

    With that said, I live in the wrong part of the country to ever take advantage of this; if I’m connecting across JFK it’s on DL, at which point the second half of the trip is on a reasonably comfy 767.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.