Though business travel – the most lucrative segment for the airline industry – is still a long way from recovering, at least one U.S. airline is reinvesting in its already popular premium cabins in an attempt to win back the few road warriors still taking to the skies. JetBlue today announced that it is going to offer new amenities, meals and services in the front of its planes, turning its Mint
Once known for its all-coach egalitarian ethos, JetBlue launched Mint business class service on select routes back in 2014. Mint is only available on certain Airbus A321 jets that fly flagship routes, such as between New York JFK and both Los Angeles and San Francisco, and from both New York and Boston on several Caribbean routes, among others. The cabins contain just five rows with 16 seats total, arranged in alternating rows of 2 – 2 seats and 1 – 1 seats, all of them lie-flats. The single seats also feature closing doors for added privacy.
While the seats themselves remain the same, the airline unveiled a complete makeover of its onboard amenities and services. The changes will begin rolling out on routes progressively starting tomorrow and should be in place across the Mint route network within the next six weeks.
Newly Minted Meals
First, the food, a selling point for many passengers considering whether to pay the upsell for a higher class of service. The airline is retaining its small-dish format with a mix of hot and cold plates. However, it is now partnering with Delicious Hospitality Group – the folks behind Soho standouts like Charlie Bird, Pasquale Jones and Legacy Records – to create rotating selections of tapas and desserts. Even more unique, they will be compiling custom music playlists to go along with each meal, sort of like the background tunes you’d hear while dining out.
Among the delicacies passengers will find this November – January are faro salad with oven-roasted tomatoes, radish, pistachios, Parmigiano and lemon; cavatelli with sausage ragu and Pecorino Romano; and vanilla gelato with blackberries and almond crunch. The libations list will be curated by Delicious Hospitality Group’s drinks arm, including the wine shop, Parcelle, and cocktail lounge, Ada’s Place. Among the sips soon to be served are Michel Gonet Blanc de Blancs Champagne, Lieu Dit Sauvignon Blanc from California, Benanti Etna Rosso red from Sicily, and a black maple old fashioned and a signature drink called the Mint Condition with Bombay Sapphire, ginger, like, cucumber and mint.
As part of JetBlue’s evolving COVID hygiene protocols, the airline is attempting to streamline service and minimize interactions between crew and passengers. That means serving all dishes together on a single tray, each individually sealed, and drinks presented in single-use cups rather than refilling reusable ones. The airline has also suspended welcome and pre-departure beverage service, cut breakfast sides and fruit options as well as espresso drinks, hotel towel service, and self-serve snacks in the galley. Crew members will also wear masks at all times and gloves during service.
JetBlue is also going to offer all-new Wanderfuel amenity kits made from recycled materials. They will come in four varieties calibrated to flight times and destinations. Morning flights will feature “Awake” kits while those later in the day will be “Flow” kits. Overnight flights will feature “Sleep” kits, while Caribbean routes will hand out “Renewal” ones.
Awake kits, for instance, will include Kopari coconut wipes, The Neat organic matcha packets, mint breath spray, and Vital Proteins collagen creamer, among other goodies.
Mint customers will also find new bedding and “snooze kits” from Tuft & Needle, the company that made purchasing a bed-in-a-box cool. There will be lightweight blankets with built-in foot pockets that double as extra pillows, memory foam pillows, and kits with earplugs, eye masks, and toothbrushes.
The airline is also debuting a partnership with Master & Dynamic featuring custom-created MH40 noise-isolating headphones with which to enjoy the in-flight entertainment systems.
After dramatically paring back in-flight services during the first several months of the COVID pandemic, we have seen some airlines adding back certain elements such as drinks service and meals. Facing continued financial hardships, though, many carriers are sticking to a slimmed-down service model. That’s what makes JetBlue’s investment in Mint so unique. Since Mint was introduced, the airline has always emphasized innovation and personalized services and amenities in its premium cabin. The fact that it is doing so at a time when many airlines are just struggling to stay afloat and praying for passengers to return represents a welcome bit of good news for folks who still need to travel and can look forward to trying out new Mint amenities during these turbulent times.