A few weeks back we told you JetBlue would be rolling out new U.S. transcontinental premium passage beginning next summer. Let’s flesh out the amenities the low-fare/high-frills carrier will be offering up front, in the pointy end of its new A321s as of June 2014.
The effort is dubbed Mint, and the seat is the center of it all – the sine qua non around which the effort revolves. It’s a fully lie-flat 6′ 8″ affair, one that JetBlue claims is “the longest in the U.S. domestic business class market.” At 22.3″ wide, the carrier also contends it’s the widest in that category. The seat is fitted with adjustable air cushions, has a massage function, comes with dual 110 volt power outlets and a pair of USB ports and is fronted by a 15-inch flat screen monitor delivering 100 channels of DirecTV.
Then there’s the food, glorious food. Prep for the airborne repast with a pre-departure drink. If you’re in the mood, follow it up with a cocktail and amuse-bouche once aloft. Then comes the main course, one curated by Saxon + Parole, a popular New York City eatery. No mere chicken, beef or fish triad here. JetBlue wants you to “customize” your meal by choosing from among five “comfort food with a twist” offerings. They’re served tapas-style. Desert follows, along with a cappuccino or espresso.
The most mouth-watering part of the whole equation is the airfare. It starts at $599, one-way. JetBlue’s premium pitch is that your wallet too will arrive on the other end of the continent in comparatively Mint condition.
JetBlue’s betting that rate is going to help it rake in a larger share of the hugely competitive U.S. transcon premium market, a market heretofore in which it’s competed with six-abreast A320s configured, in part, to offer more leg-room. The arrival of Mint to the market signals JetBlue means business. It will be fascinating to see how the move affects the competition.