By Jonny Clark, TheDesignAir
October 2013 | In order to attract premium yields from business travelers, competition on transcontinental routes between New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco is fierce with all major national carriers on the route trying to find their point of difference and fight for the heavy traffic between the three hubs.
New York-based JetBlue is also joining this transcontinental ‘arms race’ with dedicated sub-fleet of 11 brand new A321s. After a sneak peek of the airline’s new A321 cabin a few weeks back when they launched a first video, the airline has shared more details of its new transcontinental premium product, called Mint.
Starting at a mind-bending USD499 one way, JetBlue has managed to surpass our expectations yet again with the fare being yet another reason to fly with the airline. Said JetBlue Chief Executive Dave Barger in a statement: “Mint is stylish service minus all of the stuffiness often associated with the traditional front-of-the-cabin experience. JetBlue is truly all about serving the underserved, the customer who wants to enjoy first-rate service at an exceptional and affordable fare.”
The Mint seat
JetBlue has invested in both Business and Economy, with the coach section featuring slim-line seats, larger touch-screen TVs, as well as an extra legroom section. The big showpiece though is the ‘Mint’ Business Class product, a first for what is fundamentally a low-cost carrier. The Mint cabin features 16 fully lie-flat beds up to 6′ 8″ (203cm) long with rows 1 and 3 featuring a 2 x 2 seating and rows 2 and 4 having a more private 1 x 1 seating configuration with closing doors.
The private sliding door idea is a nice little touch, especially on the single solitary seats as it makes the 2nd and 4th rows much more appealing and sort after as a solitary traveller, although we feel the sliding doors are more a sales gimmick that practical elements a traveller really actually requires on a 5-6 hour flight.
On the inflight catering front, Mint will feature a pre-departure drink, followed by a cocktail and amuse-bouche once airborne. JetBlue, has partnered with popular New York City-based restaurant Saxon + Parole to curate the onboard menu. Mint travelers will be able to customize their meal by choosing among five “comfort food with a twist” offerings, served tapas-style (similar in concept to Hawaiian and Virgin America), followed by dessert. Fresh cappuccino and espresso made from the first purposely built cappuccino machine for a U.S. airline will be available throughout the flight.
JetBlue also created what it calls “a marketplace” on its new A321s, a self-serve station full of snacks, sodas and water for passengers in both Economy and Business to enjoy at their convenience throughout the flight.
JetBlue will also be the only U.S. airline to offer customized men’s and women’s amenity kits from New York-based Birchbox, a so-called ‘monthly discovery service’ company known for providing its customers with a monthly ‘curated’ selection of sample-sized cosmetics and accessories. Like the subscription version, the JetBlue kits will be changed several times throughout the year to keep customers surprised.
JetBlue flight #223, departing New York’s JFK Airport to Los Angeles International (LAX) on June 15, 2014, will be JetBlue’s first flight featuring the Mint experience. By fourth quarter 2014, all seven daily flights between JFK and LAX will offer Mint. The Mint cabin will be introduced on flights between JFK and San Francisco in the fourth quarter of 2014, with all five JFK-SFO flights offering Mint by the end of first quarter 2015.