Back in June I think JetBlue surprised all of us by announcing that they’d be adding a competitive business class product to their transcontinental flights between New York and Los Angeles/San Francisco. In August they shared a video of the new business class, which looked quite nice given the staggered configuration and that seats in every other row had doors.

Anyway, today they unveiled a bit more information about the product and also began selling it for flights starting June 15, 2014. First of all it’s interesting to note that the product will be called “Mint,” which sure is… unique.

Here’s an updated video about the product:

Most interesting is the pricing, which starts at $499 each way for Mint class for the first four days of service, and will apparently start at $599 each way after that ($999 each way for refundable fares).

JetBlue_Mint_Pricing1

JetBlue_Mint_Pricing2

In terms of the seatmap, it looks like JetBlue is in fact charging the same for the seats with doors as they do for the rest of the seats, so seat selection seems to be on a first come first serve basis. That could always change in the future, though.

JetBlue_Mint_Seatmap

Their pricing is substantially below the industry average, and I think it’s safe to assume that even $599 is introductory pricing. The 16 Mint class seats will take up all the space between doors one and two, an area in which you could otherwise fit at least seven rows of coach. So they’re choosing to have 16 Mint seats in place of at least 42 coach seats, so selling them at $599 each way just doesn’t make sense for them.

In terms of the service it’s interesting to note that wifi will be free for all passengers on these routes. I’m sorry but this isn’t good news. Inflight wifi is slow enough when people are required to pay for it, so I can only imagine how slow it will be if it’s free for everyone… especially given that JetBlue’s A321s will have substantially more seats than United’s 757s or American’s A321s. While I’m usually all for airlines eliminating fees, this is a case where I think it’s bad news. On the plus side, it seems the service itself will be quite good, as they’ll have amenity kits, and will also be the first airline to have an espresso and cappuccino machine on domestic flights. The seats will also convert into 6’8″ beds, which are huge.

Anyway, on the whole kudos to JetBlue. I’m sure the product will do well, though I do expect they’ll raise fares in the market pretty quickly.

Update: Looks like I was wrong about wifi and that JetBlue’s will actually be substantially faster than that of other airlines. If they can offer it for free and it’s still faster than the competition than kudos!

  1. September 30th, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Zach Honig said,

    The WiFi will be provided by ViaSat’s ka-band satellite, so even if everyone is surfing the web, the experience should be far better than anything we have today.

    More here: http://www.engadget.com/2013/09/24/inside-jetblue-fly-fi/

  2. September 30th, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Zach — Whoops, good to know. Thanks for the heads up.

  3. September 30th, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Rami said,

    You meant to say they are selling for flights starting June 15, 2014 and not 2013
    I agree that the price will most likely be much higher after they grab some of the premium market share.

  4. September 30th, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Rami — It’s 2013 already? Shoot! :D

  5. September 30th, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Michael said,

    Jetblue rocks. I wish they had a decent FF program and were in an alliance. If it were so I would be flying them exclusively in the US.

  6. September 30th, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Mike C. said,

    “So they’re choosing to have 16 Mint seats in place of at least 42 coach seats, so selling them at $599 each way just doesn’t make sense for them.”

    I’m not so sure this is that straightforward. At the $599 pricing, JetBlue would need to charge $228 for the equivalent fraction of economy seats to reach the same revenue. And given your picture, JetBlue is already charging less than that for economy.

    Things get even more murky if you think about load factors. But, I’m going to guess that there isn’t the demand for 42 more seats at the same revenue rates.

  7. September 30th, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Alex S. said,

    Michael, you can credit to AA.

  8. September 30th, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    Ivan Y said,

    Like Mike C. pointed out above, 16 seats @ $599/e. is an equivalent to 42 seats @ $228 which is in line with JB one-way fare prices shown above, so theoretically JB can break even assuming full capacity.

    Now, there are obviously all sorts of different considerations that went into making decisions about Mint than straight-up 42 Economy vs 16 Mint revenue comparison.

  9. September 30th, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Michael said,

    @ Alex
    True you can but only on a very limited selection of flights.
    http://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/earnMiles/travel/airlines/jetBlue.jsp?anchorLocation=DirectURL&title=jetblue

  10. September 30th, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    chasgoose said,

    Here’s hoping that the mileage requirements will at least be reasonable to the competition as well.

  11. September 30th, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    Eric FD said,

    as a Bostonian, i wanna see more of these mint flights come to BOS-LAX and BOS-SFO flights. NY-Cal market has all the fun equipment… :(

  12. September 30th, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    michael said,

    so 29,100 jetblue points per way. hmmmm interesting

  13. October 1st, 2013 at 6:31 am

    Peter said,

    Cool! So now we get a pillow on our Mint. ;-)

  14. October 1st, 2013 at 8:04 am

    Joey said,

    Thanks for sharing, Lucky! I had around $200 JetBlue travelcredits I needed to use by May 2014 and thus bought a Mint seat this morning (am I crazy?) Most of the dates have all 4 solo suite seats taken already, unfortunately.
    All the flights during the promo are dayflights versus red-eyes which I thought was interesting.

  15. October 1st, 2013 at 8:04 am

    Bgriff said,

    And actually, not only is JetBlue’s wifi faster, but they also have a lot fewer seats on this plane than UA or AA do on their normal (non-premium-transcon) 757s:

    http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/JetBlue_Airways/Jetblue_Airways_Airbus_A321_transcon.php
    http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/American_Airlines/American_Airlines_Boeing_757-200_MCE_new.php
    http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/United_Airlines/United_Airlines_Boeing_757-200_A_After09JUN11.php

    JetBlue gives a LOT more legroom in coach than the majors do…

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