These direct-aisle-access pods brought big improvements relative to the legacy product, including additional privacy thanks to sliding doors, upgraded entertainment systems and enhanced connectivity options. The business-class-plus product, Mint Studio, offers even more space and storage.
These new products debuted domestically June 1, 2021, aboard the airline’s new Airbus A321neo, or new engine option, of which the airline currently has two with the new Mint configuration.
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The airline also brought the new product to its transatlantic routes to London. In addition, it’ll fly its new Mint-equipped Airbus A321LR, or long-range, on the upcoming inaugurals to Paris and Amsterdam. (JetBlue has seven A321LRs in its fleet.)
The new products are still a massive improvement relative to the nearly 9-year-old pods that are still flying on the 35 legacy Airbus A321s. However, I’m not so sure that the rollout is going exactly as JetBlue had hoped.
Just last week, I flew a round-trip Mint flight from New York to Los Angeles. Both flights were operated by the A321neo registered N2105J, the exact same plane I flew on the Mint inaugural nearly two years ago.
While the seats were certainly comfy, I was surprised by all the wear and tear around the seat. Here’s what was wrong.
An inoperable buddy seat
On the outbound flight to Los Angeles, I paid $149 to upgrade my Mint ticket to the Mint Studio.
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I remember really enjoying my flight in this extra-spacious first-row seat two years ago, and I figured that the $149 buy-up would be worth it for all the extra room and space.
Well, one of the key selling points of the Mint Studio is that the suite is so big that it can fit two people. I had a friend traveling on the flight, so I would’ve loved to dine with them.
Unfortunately, however, I found that the buddy seat in the Mint Studio was inoperable. It was fixed into a partially reclined position, and it’s been that way for months, according to recent flyers who reached out to me on Instagram.
In fact, on my last Mint Studio flight in April 2022, I had the exact same issue — but the buddy seat had the words “inoperable” taped around it.
It isn’t clear exactly what the issue is, but I was certainly disappointed to see this new product continue to suffer from such a notable issue.
Damaged suite door
JetBlue’s new Mint is perhaps the most stylish cabin flying around the U.S.
From the embossed seat panels to the green accents throughout the cabin, JetBlue clearly paid attention to the details.
Though the cabin might look good in marketing pictures, what I experienced last week was quite different. It started with the damaged Mint Studio privacy door in the pod across from me. It was taped up around the sides and couldn’t be used as designed by my aisle mate.
Fortunately, my door worked as promised, but I’d be pretty disappointed if I changed my plans to fly the new Mint only to have a broken suite door.
Damaged seat placards
Throughout the cabin, JetBlue installed backlit numbers at the entrance to each pod.
These green- and blue-backlit signs give the cabin a nice pop of color, but looking more closely at them revealed a larger issue — they were all damaged.
I’m not sure if something was wrong with the material that JetBlue chose, or if the airline just has more clumsy passengers than its competitors, but this seems like something that the airline should fix sooner rather than later.
It certainly doesn’t give off a luxurious vibe, and it’s definitely not the way I’d want to be greeted when paying $1,000 or more for a one-way business-class ticket.
Peeling wireless charging pads
One of the big improvements in the new Mint cabin is the introduction of enhanced connectivity options. This includes two universal power outlets with USB-C charging ports, along with Qi wireless charging pads.
I travel with lots of tech gear, so I almost always put all the different power options to use.
On both of my Mint flights, however, I was disappointed to see that the protective plastic covering was peeling off both wireless charging pads.
I tried using them to power up my AirPods Pro, but unfortunately, I couldn’t get the wireless chargers to work. I’m not sure if that’s because of the peeling plastic or something else (my devices charged just fine once I got home), but it’s not a great look for such a new product.
Earlier this year, I visited one of the biggest aircraft seat factories in the entire world. During my visit, the factory’s managing director stressed the importance of making sure that the materials used on planes are built to withstand heavy use from hundreds of thousands of passengers.
Though JetBlue may not necessarily be to blame, the wear and tear on the seat footwell in the Mint Studio didn’t leave a positive impression.
The footwell covering was already peeling, and the gray-colored lining seemed to have already been stained. I’m not sure if this is a manufacturing defect with the materials or whether JetBlue just chose the wrong color (or a mix of the two), but I would’ve hoped that the product would look better after just two years of use.
Before writing this story, I detailed my experience to JetBlue’s communications team, and carrier spokesperson Emily Martin shared the following statement to explain that much of this wear and tear is to be expected with a new product.
After disrupting the airline industry with a premium travel experience for a fraction of the cost in 2014, Mint received a complete refresh in 2020, setting a new standard for premium flying. The Mint refresh features all-private suites with a sliding door for every Mint customer, a custom-designed seat cushion, and countless other innovative and thoughtful design touches for our customers.
Wear and tear is common on any aircraft interior, and because Mint’s bespoke design brought all-new innovations to the market, we expect that the first few years will help us learn how different elements of the product perform over time. This is the case with launch customers for almost any product. As we gain operational experience with the new Mint configuration, we have a team focused on the product’s performance standards and are working closely with the equipment manufacturers to find solutions where we have seen performance issues.
Customers are giving our refreshed Mint very high satisfaction scores and our low-fares, high-quality experience is making a positive impact both in transcon and trans-Atlantic markets. We’re focused on ensuring Mint continues to be a disruptive competitive force in the industry, just as it always has been, and it’s a high priority that we keep the product performing to customers’ satisfaction.
Above all else, I had two great flights in JetBlue’s new Mint product. I appreciated the delicious food and beverage options, enjoyed personalized service from multiple friendly flight attendants and even loved getting the opportunity to try the new seats once again.
That said, throughout my journey, I couldn’t help but notice some issues with the new cabin. From the inoperable buddy seat to the damaged suite numbers, the product already feels like it needs some TLC — which is somewhat surprising given that it was just introduced two years ago.
After the flight, I posted about my experience on my Instagram. Many followers reached out to share similar issues on recent Mint flights. Before reaching out to the airline’s communications team, I called JetBlue’s customer care department to explain what I saw.
The airline marked up all the issues and proactively sent me a $150 goodwill credit. Though I didn’t complain specifically to receive a credit, I am now looking forward to putting it to use on a future Mint flight, so I can hopefully see all the fixes and improvements that the airline makes to its new business-class cabin.