JetBlue has long prided itself on its egalitarian approach to flying: assigned seating, free snacks for all, and, most importantly, no class divide. Some of that is going to change next year with the introduction of a new premium class that JetBlue is calling Mint.
Available only on flights between New York and San Francisco, and New York and Los Angeles, the new premium section will feature 16 lie-flat seats, which, at more than six feet long, are the longest lie-flat beds on transcontinental flights. The seats will have a massage function, air cushions with adjustable firmness, 15-inch flat TV screens, dual power outlets with two USB ports, even shoe storage space. Four of these seats will also feature doors that can be closed to create a private suite. Mint class will also offer a tapas-style menu and cocktails from New York City's Saxon + Parole restaurant, and customized amenity kits from e-commerce beauty and lifestyle company Birchbox -- one for men and one for women. In-flight coffee will be prepared in a custom cappucino machine.
The first flight with the new premium section will take off from New York’s JFK to Los Angeles on June 15, 2014. Seats for that flight (and for flights June 15 through June 18) went on sale for $499 each way at 2 p.m. Monday afternoon. Within three minutes, they were sold out. You'll get another chance to book a Mint seat on November 1, when JetBlue extends their booking schedule through summer, 2014. Prices will start at $599 each way.
In order to do a price comparison between this new service and other kinds of business class seats, we looked at one-way flights from JFK to LAX on June 24, 2014. We found business class seats on both United and American Airlines for $2,187, and on Delta for $2,240. That's a huge difference, compared to JetBlue's $599.
But what if you're looking for the cheapest price and are happy flying in the regular economy cabin? Well, JetBlue's core service on these flights is also being revamped. With the introduction in January of their new A321 aircrafts, seats will be slimmer and more comfortable (we tried them and approve), and will have 10.1-inch seat-back screens with 100 channels of DirecTV, more than 100 channels of SiriusXM radio, in-seat power outlets accessible to all customers, and a drink holder. The airline will also start rolling out WiFi (dubbed "Fly-Fi") for all customers on its new A321s, and will gradually install WiFi fleetwide, delivering as much broadband to a single seat as other airlines do to an entire plane. All passengers will also have access to a self-serve "marketplace," where they can grab snacks, sodas, and water as they wish. Economy seats for that same date in June are going for $179 on United Airlines, compared to $189 on JetBlue. That's only a $10 difference, but we'd say the added comfort, free checked bag, snacks, and WiFi makes JetBlue's new economy service the better deal.