JetBlue has unveiled ‘Mint Suite,’ a new business class suite it will launch on its inaugural transatlantic flights later this year.
And, we have to say, it looks pretty impressive.
In 2019, JetBlue announced it would start flights to London. Whilst the timeline has slipped slightly, the airline is still hoping to launch during 2021 as planned, using brand new aircraft.
As part of the launch, JetBlue has redesigned its ‘Mint’ business class experience, which already has a cult following in the US.
JetBlue will use single-aisle A321LR aircraft for the route. It will be one of the first airlines to the aircraft on transatlantic flights. Aer Lingus has operated select routes to the US on its A321LRs since 2019 and is basing two more at a UK airport – probably Manchester.
Introducing JetBlue’s Mint Suite and Studio
Most lie-flat business class seats are optimised for wide body aircraft, which means that most existing seat designs would require significant modificaton.
JetBlue is the first airline to install the VantageSOLO seat by Thompson Aero, which has been designed specifically for narrow-body aircraft.
It will install 24 suites on its A321LRs to London in a 1-1 layout. Domestic US flights between LA and New York will have 16 seats.
Each seat features a fully closing door. Here is a walk through of the new Mint Suite cabin:
Mint Suite is not entirely dissimilar from the Upper Class seat you find on Virgin Atlantic’s 787s and A330s, albeit without the middle pairs. Each seat is angled towards the aisle in a ‘herringbone’ layout (click on any image to enlarge):
….. and features a foot rest inside a cubby hole, as is common these days.
Each seat has a 17″ screen that angles out from the seatback:
As well as wireless and conventional charging, Mint Suite features plenty of stowage options for your laptop, shoes and handbag.
In bed mode, the seat is allegedly the “largest lie-flat bed of any US carrier,” as measured by total surface area.
Two seats in the bulkhead row at the front of the aircraft benefit from an even larger footprint, and are called ‘Mint Studio’:
….. which also feature a guest seat.
Every Mint Suite seat is layered with Tuft & Needle’s proprietary foam mattress and a breathable cover, which sounds promising.
You’ll also get a “convertible blanket” with a built-in foot pocket, as well as a memory foam pillow and a “snooze kit” with eye mask and ear plugs.
Some thoughts on the Mint Suite
Mint Suite looks like an excellent business class product for a narrow-body aircraft.
Nevertheless, it is a shame that seats aren’t facing the windows. It will make them feel less private and a (literal) pain in the neck for anyone who wants to enjoy the view.
The A321LR still looks a little cramped, despite the developments in the past few years to get the narrow-body experience on par with widebodies. It will be interesting to see how the experience is in real life – coronavirus arrived before we were able to try the Aer Lingus A321LR in the flesh.
JetBlue has promised to bring a premium experience to transatlantic for “unpremium” pricing. It will be interesting to see whether it can follow through on its ambition and provide a bit of competition for the two joint ventures that currently dominate the market. We could do with more competition following Norwegian’s withdrawal from long haul.
As JetBlue is not in an airline alliance, buying a cash ticket is likely to be your only chance to give it a spin. It is a partner with Emirates Skywards but you can only book Economy seats – a one-way ticket from the US East Coast to London will be 32,000 Emirates Skywards miles plus (low) taxes.
Fingers crossed we will be able to get a sneak peak before the launch …..