“You Above All”
I have never had a more enjoyable flight. I mean that with all sincerity. My recent flight on jetBlue in Mint Class from Boston to San Francisco was the best flight I have ever had. I am still in awe that I received such amazing service with such professional and welcoming flight attendants on a flight operated by a low-cost carrier. It is because of my most recent flights with jetBlue that I am committed to maintaining my Mosaic status I received from a status match. jetBlue’s slogan, “You Above All”, isn’t just a genius marketing campaign, it is what jetBlue’s 18,000+ team members actually believe. They put the passenger above all.
Flights like jetBlue 133 from Boston Logan to San Francisco are what make the insanely early mornings worth it. My morning began at 3:30 AM. From my hotel in Alexandria, VA I made my way to Washington-National. From Washington-National I flew an Embraer-190 to Boston Logan. From Boston Logan, I flew in jetBlue’s Mint Class in seat 2F, a suite. Finally, I wrapped up my marathon with a flight down to Los Angeles, had a fairly short layover and then a flight home. Over that 22 hour period, I ate some of the best airplane food I have ever had, relaxed in my own private suite and to round off the day, I (involuntarily) talked politics, religion, and social issues with a fellow passenger.
I used to say American Airlines had the best Transcontinental First Class product, however, that is no longer the case. jetBlue has won my business and my loyalty. They have also won best premium transcontinental product, at least in my eyes. Here’s why jetBlue should be your preferred transcon airline.
*Note: This post is unbelievably long. A more fitting description is a novella, not a blog post. To satisfy readers with the instant gratification they crave, I have outlined this report so you can better find your way around.
In order: Washington-DCA to Boston, Check-in, The Flight, jetBlue Mint; BOS-SFO, pre-flight, pre-departure, in-flight service, meal service, additional amenities, the seat, in-flight entertainment, the crew, Overall
Washington-DCA to Boston
After receiving an email from jetBlue the day before my flights to Boston and San Francisco informing me to expect TSA wait times exceeding one hour, I decided to give myself a few extra minutes in the morning. I woke up around 3:30 AM after a 7ish-hour rest. Surprisingly, I felt great. I felt so well rested, my anxiety kicked in. I questioned myself, “Why do I feel so awake, so refreshed?!” For some reason, my body had allowed me to drift off to sleep around 7:45 PM and sleep through the night. Well rested, I was ready to battle massive security lines.
I pulled up to Washington-DCA around 4:15 AM. The jetBlue ticket counter was fairly busy; however, I opted to use a kiosk. Once I printed out my paper boarding passes, I made my way to the security checkpoint.
Unfourtanely, my early arrival to DCA was in vein. There were a handful of other passengers at the checkpoint, none of whom had TSAPre. Needless to say, it took me roughly a minute to pass through security.
My flight to Boston departed on-time and arrived early. That is pretty much all I had hoped for that leg. I was not really expecting much other than a seat and a coffee as typically, east coast based crews are not the friendliest. I forgot I was flying jetBlue (not American or Delta) and when the purser greeted my onboard with a smile on her face, eager to assist passengers, I had to do a double-take.
*Note: jetBlue offered to upgrade me to Even More Space free of charge after I contacted jetBlue and let them know that Mint Class passengers had to pay the fee to select Even More Space seats on connecting flights. I interacted with jetBlue via Twitter. I have never experienced such fantastic customer service via Twitter. jetBlue handled everything via Twitter and did so very quick and professionally.
Additionally, I had the entire first row to myself and received superb in-flight service. jetBlue serves Dunkin’ Donuts coffee on all flights. Dunkin’ Donuts on jetBlue made whatever American serves (JavaCity?) taste like a puddle on the side of a city street.
jetBlue Mint Class; Boston to San Francisco
After a short layover (less than 40 minutes), it was finally time to board. Not to be cliche but, I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. I lined up adjacent to the boarding lane in order to get on board as quick as possible. Once the agent announced Mint Class boarding, I pretty much sprinted to the jetway. Before I made my way onboard I was surprised to hear the gate agent say, “Thanks, Mr. Prosperi, enjoy Mint Class this morning.” Even in First Class on American from New York to Los Angeles, I get excited when the gate agent simply acknowledges my presence. I was astounded to personally welcomed on board.
Both Mint Class flight attendants welcomed me on board with smiling faces. I made my way to my Mint Suite, seat 2F. I found a welcome card signed by both flight attendants, a pillow, comforter and a bottle of water. Though it may be a very small gesture, that is likely a bit time consuming for the flight attendants, the welcome cards with information about the flight is such a fantastic feature. It really makes me feel like a guest rather than just a passenger.
Once most Mint Class passengers settled into their seats, Rob, and Victoria, the Mint Class flight attendants came through the aisles and personally welcomed each Mint Class passenger. Rob welcomed me onboard, offered me a signature Mint pre-departure beverage, offered to help me with my bags, and briefed me on today’s in-flight service. I have never had this happen on any Delta or American flight before. jetBlue team members a truly one of a kind.
Meal Service; Absolutely Stunning….
Shortly after we hit 10,000 feet the in-flight service commenced. Rob came around with a hot towel and took meal orders. jetBlue designed their meal service around the idea of tapas or small plates. The menu features five entrees, two of which are cold, the rest are hot. Passengers choose three of the five for their meal. In addition to the entrees, Rob presented me with an appetizer; a banana bread crostini. Though the appetizer was small, it was bursting with flavor and was just the right consistency and texture. Along with my appetizer, I had an espresso (brewed on board) and a glass of fresh orange juice.
Another pleasant surprise was the duration of the meal service. Even on premium routes, American Airlines is notorious for rushing meal service. Rob and Victoria, however, did not. The meal service was timed perfectly and took a little over an hour from meal delivery to meal pick-up. Over that hour or so, I do not think Rob or Victoria ever sat down; they were constantly refilling drinks and delivering meals.
One reason that this flight was the best flight I have ever taken was in part because of the amazing fare offered onboard. Each dish was presented perfectly, tasted absolutely phenomenal, and cooked to perfection. From the artisan pancakes to the traditional breakfast burrito, the perfect mix of sweet and savory was mind-blowing. Bear in mind, I am not some brunch-nut, I have never gotten this excited over brunch. I cannot stress enough how phenomenal the fare was on this flight.
Left is the menu from jetBlue flight 133.
I ordered the three hot (and least healthy) dishes. These dishes were the goat cheese and tomato omelet, breakfast burrito, and buttermilk pancakes. Again, all of which were fantastic.
Background: jetBlue Mint Class is truly a unique take on traditional transcontinental business class service. While jetBlue’s competitors were revamping their traditional airplane food, jetBlue partnered with Saxon+Parole, a Brooklyn-based restaurant. Through their partnership with Saxon+Parole, jetBlue has been able to create some of the unique, adventurous, and flavorful food in the sky. Additionally, jetBlue features Blue Marble Ice Cream and sweet treats from Mah-Ze-Dhar bakery–both of which are based in New York City.
#1 Goat cheese & sun-blushed tomato omelet; with chicken sausage and potatoes
I was surprised by how well the goat cheese tasted. Often times I am not able to tell a difference between cheddar cheese of American cheese at 35,000 feet, that is just a side-effect of the thin air. This was not the case with this omelet; the goat cheese was perfect. The egg was perfect. So was the sausage.
#2 Sweet potato and black bean burrito; with tomato compote
I was probably least excited about this burrito. I have had the airplane breakfast burrito before, and I know how unexciting and bland they are. When it arrived, I was surprised to see how colorful everything looked. I was even more surprised to find out that it tasted great. The compote was just fantastic, and the burrito was bursting with flavor.
#3 Buttermilk Pancakes; with poached pear, pomegranate seeds, and creme fraiche
Lately, I have been in a pancake kinda mood. I will take a short stack over waffles any day of the week. When I found out that pancakes were offered on my flight, I got pretty excited. The pancakes were cooked to perfection. They were not stale and more importantly, they were not soggy, The poached pear also paired well with the pancakes. My only complaint is that the Creme Fraiche was a wee overpowering.
Dessert was lite, which is nice for a change. I have become so accustomed to cheesecakes, sundaes, and brownies that I often turn them down during meal services. On the majority of jetBlue Mint Class flights, a sorbet and fresh fruit salad is offered. The sorbet was great and the fruit salad was fresh and juicy. All in all, I had a fantastic brunch.
jetBlue now offers fantastic locally sourced coffee from a shop in Brooklyn. All espresso based beverages are made using blends from Brooklyn Roasting Company. Dunkin’ Donuts is still offered onboard if you order a standard coffee.
Other Mint Amenities
jetBlue has done a great job of diversifying their in-flight amenities. Most amenities are through partnerships with hip and local companies all of which are based within the United States. For example, jetBlue has partnered with Grado Labs and Birchbox. These partnerships have allowed jetBlue to offer amenities other US carriers can only dream of.
Grado Labs; Headphones
Grado Labs is one of the most trusted headphone manufacturers in the country. Though they do not have the popularity of Beats or Bose, they easily surpass both companies in value and quality. The sound is phenomenal, however, the headphones are not noise canceling.
Birchbox; Amenity Kits
Birchbox is a start-up that sends monthly packages filled with cosmetics hand picked by employees. Birchbox allows customers to try out new products without paying for an entire thing of hair gel or bottle of moisturizer. jetBlue saw an opportunity to provide this service on its flights, so, they partnered with Birchbox. The Birchbox amenity kit is by far the best amenity kit offered by any US airline.
In addition to Grado Labs’ headphones and Birchbox amenity kits, Main Cabin and Mint Class passengers have access to a walk-up snack bar. This snack bar is loaded with sweet and salty treats as well as soft drinks, juices, and bottled water. jetBlue is the only US carrier to offer a self-serve bar for main cabin passengers.
These amenities made this six-hour flight seem to go by in half the time. jetBlue has done a terrific job finding terrific partners to work with to provide unique and luxurious amenities.
The Mint Suite
Perhaps the most anticipated part of this report is the Mint Class Suite, jetBlue’s unique lie-flat product. The Suite boasts a retractable door, three power outlets, ample storage, wide seat which reclines into a fully lie-flat bed. jetBlue is the only US carrier with such a seat. No other US carrier offers a seat with a retractable door. Non-suite seats lack the privacy of a retractable door; however, they do feature one or two power outlets, ample storage and a seat which reclines into a fully lie-flat bed.
Seat Comfort, Functionality
Mint Class seats are not padded with cushion but rather feature air bags with some cushioning around the air pockets. This allows the lumbar to be adjusted and allows for a massage feature. Though I love the comfort of an air+cushioned seat, my particular seat had a partially deflated air bag. Luckily, I did not plan on sleeping as the deflated air bag created a pretty uncomfortable and uneven surface, I cannot really blame jetBlue though. The first time I flew jetBlue Mint I thought to myself how easily these seats could pop or break. Even with the lump in the seat, I found the seat to be just as comfortable as rivals’ seats.
Again, though I did not take advantage of the bed being as it was a morning flight, the seat reclines into one of the longest and widest lie-flat beds in the sky.
Another great feature is the ample amount of storage found around the suite. Everywhere you look in the Mint Suite, you will find another pouch or pocket for storage.
The Mint Class Suite is probably my favorite seat in the sky. The suite’s unique and bold design coupled with the retractable door makes it one of the most luxurious and comfortable seats in the sky.
Though I am not a big fan of jetBlue’s in-flight entertainment system, mostly because it lacks on-demand video, jetBlue’s wireless internet service, Fly-Fi, is absolutely fantastic. I did watch some CNN and listen to some SiriusXM radio but most of the flight, I was streaming Seinfeld via Hulu. I never dreamed of being able to stream my own content at 35,000 feet. How much is this service? For now, jetBlue does not charge a cent for Fly-Fi; however, you can upgrade to Fly-Fi premium of a few bucks.
The in-flight entertainment system may leave a little bit to be desired, but the Fly-Fi is stunning.
I am still in awe over the level of professionalism and degree of hospitality provided by the crew during my journey. I have never had a crew this thorough, friendly, and attentive to detail. The entire crew really made me feel at home. They came around and offered seconds, never let a drink go empty, made small talk with passengers, and made the trip as enjoyable as possible.
I think this crew spoiled me. I doubt I will ever have as good of an in-flight crew as I did from Boston to San Francisco.
I think my overuse of the words, fantastic, phenomenal and perfect speak for themselves. My Mint Class flight from Boston to San Francisco was absolutely amazing–the best flight experience I have ever had. Not only did the service and amenities influence my decision to go for jetBlue Mosaic, but so did the team members at jetBlue. The entire team from the Twitter reps to the in-flight crew are just fantastic.
If you are ever flying on a route with jetBlue Mint Class, book it. Don’t think about it, don’t talk yourself out of it. Please, just book it. Mint Class starts at $599 during peak travel and can go down to as low as $499 during off-peak travel. jetBlue has done a terrific job designing their first ever premium class product. If you ever get a chance, book it, upgrade—do whatever you can to get in Mint Class.