It’s been a month since JetBlue revealed the refresh of its Mint cabin to the world, set to debut on the A321neo. Less than a fortnight ago, the first A321neo arrived with the airline with the new product onboard. Simple Flying visited JetBlue’s home in New York to check it out for real and see just what’s coming to the transatlantic market later this year.
What’s onboard the A321neo?
The shiny new A321neos that are planned to serve London feature a premium-heavy cabin. Up front, the new Mint cabin has 24 suites, two of which are the gamechanging Mint Studios, offering the biggest lie flat bed and more personal space than any other premium cabin out of the USA.
But it’s not just the interior that’s getting a new look. The A321s will have new tailfin designs too. This particular neo is N2105J, which will actually be used for JetBlue’s domestic flights, and features a ‘ribbons’ tailfin design using simple shapes to create the illusion of movement.
As per JetBlue’s other neos, the A321 will be equipped with The Pantry – JetBlue’s inflight snack bar – as well as seatback IFE at every seat, and free WiFi for all. The neo engines deliver a 20% reduction in fuel burn, and quieter operation for a peaceful ride.
Taking a tour
Simple Flying took an exclusive peek inside the first A321neo to arrive with JetBlue. N2105J, named “NEO Mintality,” is configured for domestic operations, so has 16 premium seats as opposed to the 24 that will arrive on the transatlantic models. Nevertheless, it’s a great opportunity to experience first hand the work JetBlue has put into its new Mint product.
Boarding the aircraft, we straight away arrive in the premium cabin. The new Mint seats are arranged in an aisle-facing herringbone, with one seat on either side of the plane. Cloud gazers may lament the loss of a window view, but actually, with a small turn of the head, it’s possible to enjoy the vista, and much more conducive to sleep than having the head adjacent to the traffic in the aisle.
Row one is home to the fabulous Mint Studio. Just two Studios will be available on each A321, boasting additional space and upgraded luxuries over the Suites further back.
In seat-mode, the Studio offers an additional ottoman seating space to have a friend over for a visit. Down in bed mode, this becomes a part of the sleeping surface, making this the biggest bed in a premium cabin of any US airline.
As well as the bigger bed and room for a friend, Studio fliers get a bigger IFE screen. In the front row, this is 22 inches compared to 17 inches in the Suites. There’s also a closet for storing jackets and bags, complete with a vanity mirror for those last-minute touch-ups.
As with all the Mint seats, the Studio has a door that slides completely closed for a cozy, personal experience.
Behind the studios, we enter the main cabin of Suites. On this aircraft, 14 suites are installed – this will be 22 on the A321LR for transatlantic. The updates to these suites really raises the bar, and is a significant upgrade over the existing Mint product.
While they are certainly more compact than the Studio, the Suites are adequately spacious. JetBlue has gone out of its way to make these feel homely, with what it calls ‘residential touches’ such as lamps and soft fabrics.
The vegan leather upholstery is super soft, and not as cold and clammy as you might expect from a leather seat. Tuft&Needle worked hard on the cushioning for these seats, giving them outstanding comfort levels both in seat and in bed mode.
Throughout the cabin, thoughtful touches set Mint apart from its competitors. Little things like wireless charging, cable management devices, and generous storage make it easy to get comfortable for a long flight. We particularly like the slide-out drawer designed for laptop storage, and the shoe compartment adjacent to the seat, solving that all-too-frequent nightmare of finding a place for your footwear onboard.
Back in economy, the front row offers ‘Even More Space’ seats, with loads of legroom behind the bulkhead. All passengers have access to the fun snack bar, as well as JetBlue’s inflight entertainment system. Free WiFi comes as standard, and six-way headrests make it easier to get comfortable in the economy cabin.
How good is it really?
Frankly, having seen it in person, the new Mint cabin is superior to many other premium products out there. Our photographer said he would rather fly Mint than either Polaris or Delta One, which is high praise indeed. In fact, he drew comparisons between the front row ‘Mint Studio’ and Cathay’s first class product.
While the overall vibe remains very United States, we felt it incorporated elements from Middle East and European carriers that puts it in front of some other US premium products. We’d have no hesitation hopping into Mint for a long-haul flight, maybe even further into Europe than London.
If you’re not planning a trip to Europe anytime soon, you can still enjoy the all-new Mint on some domestic routes. JetBlue plans to fly the product in a 16-seat cabin configuration within the US. The launch route for the A321neo will be JFK to Los Angeles, which is slated to start as soon as June. As more neos arrive, expect to see the new Mint on more medium-haul routes out of the US, potentially down to the Caribbean and South America too.
Are you ready to get into the NEO Mentality? Let us know in the comments.