Review of JetBlue Airways flight San Diego Newark in Business

Airline JetBlue Airways
Flight B6 104
Class Business
Seat 4A
Aircraft Airbus A321
Flight time 05:35
Take-off 25 Jun 21, 12:05
Arrival at 25 Jun 21, 20:40
B6 44 reviews
KévinDC
By GOLD 1025
Published on 17th August 2021

Hello Flight-Reporters and welcome to a new series of pandemic-era flight reviews. After being grounded for almost 10 months in 2020, I've slowly-but-surely been getting back to more regular flying again. After moving the family back to the U.S. at the beginning of the year, we had a few uneventful domestic flights in the spring–which I may post at a later time–and now it was time to fly back across the pond to spend the summer with family in Southwestern France. 

This review is a bit out of the ordinary for me as it's not with a oneworld alliance carrier (gasp!) and was my first ever time testing out JetBlue's "Mint" Business class product. I'd been wanting to try Mint for the longest times, but it just never worked out, especially when I was living in Washington, DC as there just weren't any Mint services from the DC area. Now living in San Diego, there are more opportunities to fly JetBlue and the fact that American AAdvantage members can now earn miles flying B6-metal as part of the new AA-B6 alliance, gave me even more reason to try them out to catch a previously-booked transatlantic flight from NYC. 

Though our transatlantic Iberia flight was leaving from JFK, JetBlue had some really good Mint cabin fares to Newark EWR–a 40% savings over SAN-JFK flights for the same date. Flying in to EWR was not a problem as we had intended to spend one night in order to break up the trip to make it easier on our 2-year-old son. 

Welcome aboard my first ever Flight-Report on JetBlue!


routing


Flight reviews in this series:


Routing


photo route

booking


As mentioned above, JetBlue fly Mint-equipped A321s to both EWR and JFK from SAN. With EWR being a newer route for JetBlue, and in competition with more-established United and  Alaska, prices to EWR were on sale at a significant discount over the super-premium JFK route at about $400 one-way per person vs. $700 one-way–a fantastic price for transcon lie-flat Business class!

Though JetBlue recently introduced an amazing new all-Suites Business class product for select A321neo and A321LR services in the New York ⬌ London/LAX markets, our flight to Newark would be operated with a standard Mint cabin. The layout in the traditional Mint cabin is a staggered-altering 1-1/2-2 configuration vs 1-1 on the newer aircraft. This was actually preferable for us as we were flying as a family with a small child.


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pre-flight & check-in


The morning of the flight, we arrived at the airport a good 2 hours before departure as we had quite a few bags to check since we were going away for 2 months.


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JetBlue operate from the older Terminal 1 at San Diego, which has a decidedly sixties/mid-century look. 

Note the "June Gloom"–a morning marine layer cloudiness typical in southern California that usually occurs in late spring and early summer and generally burns off by mid-morning. 


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I was glad we'd arrived early as there was quite a crowd at the JetBlue ticket counters due to a delayed flight to JFK.


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Even the Mint (Business class) check-in was slow–we waited in the queue for about 30 minutes.


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I was glad that we were on the Newark flight as it turned out the JFK flight was running several hours late. Once we did get to the check-in counter, the agent was very friendly and efficient. 


boarding


By the time we got through security, boarding was just about to begin. Domestic travel within the US had been experiencing a boom in demand since the mass vaccination rollout earlier in the year resulting in crowded domestic terminals. 


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Despite the crowds, boarding was well-organised and went smoothly, beginning with the Mint cabin. Now that my son is 2-years old and can walk long distances with ease, I no longer ask to pre-board as we don't have to deal with packing up and checking a stroller at the gate. 


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The world has definitely learned about HEPA filters since the beginning of the pandemic.


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Great first impression–the Mint cabin is arguably the most luxurious on transcontinental business class–at least on narrow-body flights. 


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I was lucky to grab one of the solo "suite" seats, which is very spacious and private with a closing door!


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Good quality bedding, menus, and amenity kits were set on each seat in the Mint cabin.


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The bedding made a nice booster seat for my son as he explored all of the shiny buttons around his seat 😁


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The amenity kit is nature and wellness focused. 


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Let's have a look at the food & beverage menu, which is signed by the cabin crew–a lovely touch. 


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JetBlue Mint catering features a unique "small plates" tapas-style service, with some tasty looking options. I would later find that the small plates aren't actually small at all. 


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Also a very decent wine and alcoholic beverage selection for a domestic US flight.


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the solo mint suite


The single "Mint Suites" are SPACIOUS–there is a huge amount of room ahead of you as well as on both sides of the seat 


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And there are power sources galore…they're everywhere!


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No need to pick and choose which electronic device to charge first–charge them all, at the same time!


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There also tons of well-designed storage spaces.


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The seat controls are also conveniently located where you can't accidentally bump into them and inadvertently change seat positions. This happens to me a lot when controls are too close to the elbows or thighs.


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The in-flight entertainment is very good with tons of Live TV channels, a good selection of movies, TV shows, and music. The only thing I didn't care for was the lack of options in languages other than English and the interface itself was a bit clunky. Other than that, all of these options along with the free Wi-Fi make for a top notch entertainment experience. It's easy to see that JetBlue make an effort to offer more than the legacy carriers. 


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the flight


Despite a mostly full flight, boarding was completed early and doors were closed 5 minutes before scheduled departure time.


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The moving map looks kind of old school and it's interesting that it uses OpenStreetMap data instead of more traditional map programmes. 


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We pushed back under sunny blue skies–the morning June Gloom had mostly burned away. 


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Though SAN can get pretty busy with only one runway, operations usually run smoothly thanks to the fantastic stable weather we have year-round in San Diego. 


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Taxi time was short as we'd missed the busier early morning period. 


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The kid was asleep before we were even off the ground 😴


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And we're off for a 5-hour cross-country flight.


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Terminal 1


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The newer Terminal 2


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The marine layer was still clinging to the coast. 


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SAN Airport and its single runway, Coronado Beach, the Coronado Bridge, downtown San Diego and Balboa Park all easily visible 


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Once we levelled out, we were able to put the kid's seat in full flat position and he has a nice long nap.


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Cabin crew came through shortly after takeoff and closed the doors on the solo seats. Not only is the seat spacious, it's very private! 


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Though closed suites have become more popular in long-haul Business class in recent years, they are still a rare novelty and JetBlue, flying mostly domestic US sectors, were well ahead of their time when they introduced Mint back in 2014!

As we headed further inland into the desert, the marine layer could still be seen hugging the coast in the distance.


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While waiting for the lunch service to begin, I checked out the in-flight entertainment options again.

As mentioned earlier, the interface is surprisingly antiquated and the moving map isn't particularly "pretty" or detailed, but those are very minor things to me. The screens are of a decent size and there is a ton of content and features–"bells & whistles" that you don't often see all on the same aircraft like XM satellite radio, Live TV, FREE high-speed Wi-Fi, and tons of films, series, and music.


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I settled on Disney's Raya and the Last Dragon
As a Disney nerd with Southeast Asian roots, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. 


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Beautiful desert views


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Lake Havasu City, Arizona


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View of the Mint cabin in flight. 


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meal service


In-flight service began about a half-hour into the flight with drinks–orders had been taken on the ground, along with meal selections. 

I had the Crémant de Bourgogne, which was decent. Certainly better than the basic sparkling wines served by Legacy carriers on domestic flights, but not a real champagne of course. 

Pre-lunch drinks were served with roasted almonds.  


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I will say that the lunch service took quite a bit longer than what I'm used to on other US carriers. I don't mind waiting at all, especially as the quality of the meal turned out to be well above the competition and it obviously took more care and time to plate and put together for a full cabin.


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I appreciated that the flight attendants came through the cabin to offer refills as we waited for the meals.


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Luckily I always have emergency snack rations for the little one if he gets hungry–he was happy to munch on cookies in the meantime. 


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And all good things are worth the wait! I was very impressed with the quality, generous portion sizes, and presentation.


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JetBlue call these small plates, but there is nothing small about them!

Warm tomato tart
Goat cheese, basil 


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Chopped Salad
Salami, provolone, roasted tomatoes, olives 


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Chicken Cacciatore
Tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, rosemary breadcrumbs


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Everything was delicious. Even the salt and its container were fancy!


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My son was impressed as well and exclaimed "Oh, joli !" (pretty) when presented with his meal. 


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It was obviously way too much food for him, though. Unfortunately, was no option to pre-order a child-meal in Mint.


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We were over the Midwest towards the end of the meal service, which gives an idea of how long it took.


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Dessert arrived more than halfway through the flight–it was also delicious and creative.

Vanilla Gelato
Roasted rhubarb, olive oil, cake crumble 


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Another crémant to enjoy with dessert, Cheers!


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For the rest of the flight I had just enough time to watch one more movie.


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Before we knew it, we were already making our descent. 


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Towards the end of the flight, the lead flight attendant came through and thanked each passenger in the Mint cabin for flying JetBlue and handed a card. It was a hand-written thank you card signed by the Mint crew and was even addressed to our family by name–wow, super impressed by this level of personal touch!


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The garden-y part of the "Garden State" 


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arrival


I'd specifically selected seats on the left side of the aircraft for views of Manhattan on landing and I was not disappointed!


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Gorgeous views of the city in the beautiful evening light.



We landed almost an hour before scheduled arrival time! NY area flights tend to have padded block times for long taxi times and volume delays so when there are no delays…you land super early!


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Unsurprisingly, we had to wait for our gate due to our very early arrival, but it was a relatively short wait luckily.


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And there was some nice scenery to enjoy.


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I was impressed to see how large the JetBlue operation actually was at Newark considering they have a major hub just down the road at JFK.



Final view of the lovely Mint cabin on disembarking.


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While our luggage, all with green Priority Mint tags, came our quickly on the regular carousel, the stroller and car seat took an eternity to be delivered. We enquired at the JetBlue baggage service office adjacent to the baggage carousel and were told that oversized items come out last. Having worked in ground operations management in the past, I understand the reasoning but it makes for some inconsistencies in the passenger experience when travelling in Mint class. 

Luckily, the terminal was mostly empty and my son could run around a bit after a long flight as we waited for the oversized items to come up.


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Once the car seat and stroller bags finally came up, we made our way to the AirTrain to get to the rental car centre and then head to our hotel for the night before our transatlantic flight the next day.


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Verdict

JetBlue Airways

9.2/10
Cabin9.5
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Meal/catering9.5

San Diego - SAN

8.8/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness9.0

Newark - EWR

7.2/10
Efficiency7.5
Access7.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness6.5

Conclusion

JetBlue Mint did not disappoint! From the beautiful and spacious cabin, to the super friendly and attentive cabin crew, to the top notch catering and free Wi-Fi, this was easily the best domestic US premium cabin flight in many years of regularly flying First and Business class within the US. I took away one small point for the IFE rating because of the older system and lack of options in languages other than English. With the free Wi-Fi, had there been a more modern IFE interface, it would have been a perfect 10 for Entertainment. The food was fantastic--definitely the best meal I'd every had on a domestic flight. Real Champagne would have brought the Meal rating to a perfect 10, though there was a perfectly good Crémant de Bourgogne.

The only thing missing with Mint is lounge access, though we have Priority Pass. There are no lounges at SAN Terminal 1 anyway, so it's a moot point for SAN departures, but it would make sense for JetBlue to open lounges in larger and premium stations and hubs like JFK, BOS, LAX, LHR.

The new American-Alaska-JetBlue partnership is a big positive for customers, who now have a greater choice of airlines and products to choose from, while earning mileage and status with their programme of choice. I will definitely continue taking advantage of the ability to fly both Alaska and JetBlue while earning AAdvantage miles.

Related

14 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 578243 by
    YGeorgeW SILVER 195 Comments

    Flying in to EWR was not a problem as we had intended to spend one night in order to break up the trip to make it easier on our 2-year-old son.

    Not going to lie, was hoping that you were going to say, "Flying in to EWR was not a problem because we booked a chopper transfer, report below."

    Great first impression–the Mint cabin is arguably the most luxurious on transcontinental business class–at least on narrow-body flights.

    What about AA's A321 transcon F cabin?

    JetBlue Mint catering features a unique "small plates" tapas-style service

    I wish more airlines did something like this. Always feels very wasteful if you pick something you end up disliking. The food looked great for US domestic--though I've never flown a transcon and don't know what standard to evaluate it on. How was the actual taste of the food?

    Overall, seems like you had a great flight with JetBlue mint. I'd love to try them some day, but it's just never convenient for me and I never need to fly those particular routes they have Mint on. Thanks for the flight report and looking forward to the next leg.

    • Comment 578269 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 5606 Comments

      Hey George, thanks for your comments!

      Not going to lie, was hoping that you were going to say, "Flying in to EWR was not a problem because we booked a chopper transfer, report below."

      Hah, I wish! That would have been super fancy

      What about AA's A321 transcon F cabin?

      AA's 321T F is marketed as First class rather than Business like Mint so not totally comparable; however, from what I've seen if you get a solo suite in standard B6 Mint or the new B6 A321neo All-suites Mint, I would say B6 is about as good if not better than AA A321T First--the main difference being that AA offers Flagship First Dining access in Flagship lounges. As far as the actual Business cabins of the US3, they all have the same Collins Diamond seat model on their single-aisle premium transcon fleets, which have a 2-2 config in every row.

      I wish more airlines did something like this.

      I agree. Virgin America used to do this back in the day as well on Transcons.

      How was the actual taste of the food?

      Delicious Perfectly seasoned--I didn't even need to use the fancy sea salt.

      I'd love to try them some day, but it's just never convenient for me and I never need to fly those particular routes they have Mint on.

      That was exactly my situation. I always wanted to try Mint, but never really had any opportunities as I lived in DC. Now that I live on the West Coast, there will be more opportunities.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 578244 by
    Pilpintu SILVER 766 Comments

    I’m speechless! I never thought that so many wonderful things could happen inside an airplane! I seldom read reports other than Y, but I have read enough to say that JetBlue is really kicking some ass. The menu, the food presentation, the seats, the crew cordiality, so many details! Looks much like F to me. Well, anything better than a bag of crisps looks much like F to me! But I’m being serious here. XD And the aerials..., oh, those aerials. Beautiful views of Manhattan!

    Thanks a lot for sharing!

    • Comment 578270 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 5606 Comments

      Hey Nelson, thanks for your comments!

      I’m speechless! I never thought that so many wonderful things could happen inside an airplane!

      Exactly...truly feature-packed!

      I seldom read reports other than Y, but I have read enough to say that JetBlue is really kicking some ass.

      Haha, well now that you've flown LATAM W, you're a regular premium cabin flyer 😁

      JetBlue kick ass in both Economy and Business! They generally have 33-34" seat pitch in Y on most of their planes, which is Y+ levels for most carriers. The legacy US carriers have 30-31" pitch in Y for comparison...then there's the LCCs with 28" pitch ouch. JetBlue have always seemed to be able to make money while offering less-dense aircraft and MORE features! The major downside of B6 is their very limited route network compared to the majors, but now that I can earn AA miles on B6, I will try to fly B6 whenever I can.

      Looks much like F to me.

      When Mint was originally introduced, there were intentions to make the Suites seats a First class product, but the awkward placement between rows of 2-2 made that impractical. But it's certainly a First class experience in a Business class cabin.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 578280 by
    raiders SILVER 13 Comments

    Woooow what a awesome report, what a service!!!! My god I would wish to go by jetblue Buismness class one time, it's really really amazing, I am speechless , Thank for this excellent report :)

    • Comment 578304 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 5606 Comments

      Hi Raiders, thanks so much for your kind comments!

      it's really really amazing, I am speechless

      It really is. And the new Suites are even more amazing! At least they look amazing; I haven't tried yet.

      Thanks for your comments!

  • Comment 578338 by
    Esteban TEAM GOLD 14348 Comments

    Hi Kévin,

    Thank you very much for this report ! I was eager to see what JetBlue offers on Mint on transcon flights. It is so impressive!

    Really love it and can't wait to try it once we, Europeans are allowed to be back :)

    A bientôt !

    • Comment 578353 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 5606 Comments

      Thanks for your comments 😊

      I was eager to see what JetBlue offers on Mint on transcon flights. It is so impressive!

      Very impressive indeed! For those who are lucky enough to get the new A321neo Suites, it's even more impressive!

      can't wait to try it once we, Europeans are allowed to be back :)

      Yeah don't get me started--the travel ban needs to be lifted for fully vaccinated Europeans like the EU has done with Americans! It's so ridiculous that it still hasn't happened. I feel really bad for all the Europeans on visas in the US who are stuck there unable to go see family in the EU and unable to have their families visit them in the US for the past year and a half. I'm lucky to have dual-citizenship and the ability to travel freely between the EU and US.
      Fingers crossed that the rumours of the travel ban being lifted soon come true!

      Thanks for stopping by

  • Comment 578357 by
    757Fan 610 Comments

    Thanks, Kevin for an awesome report - JetBlue Mint is something I have to try. It looks amazing, and definitely the best premium cabin in the skies today domestically.

    Looking forward to the rest of your trip. Thanks so much!

    • Comment 578405 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 5606 Comments

      Hi Matthew, thanks for your comments!

      It looks amazing, and definitely the best premium cabin in the skies today domestically.

      Indeed! Glad we have JetBlue flying this cabin from San Diego!

      Thanks :)

  • Comment 578411 by
    NewYorker GOLD 169 Comments

    Hi Kevin, thanks for sharing another awesome report with us! The service that JetBlue offers is undoubtedly super impressive.

    Great first impression–the Mint cabin is arguably the most luxurious on transcontinental business class–at least on narrow-body flights.

    What a beautiful cabin! Definitely the best narrowbody seat in the US (well, after the new Mint, of course).
    The moving map looks kind of old school and it's interesting that it uses OpenStreetMap data instead of more traditional map programmes.

    The one downside of an otherwise near flawless seat - a pity! The whole entertainment system seems pretty outdated.
    And all good things are worth the wait! I was very impressed with the quality, generous portion sizes, and presentation.

    Wow, that meal looked stunning! Definitely unrivaled in the US. It seems that they've also changed their plating, as I was used to the setup with rectangular plates.
    I'd specifically selected seats on the left side of the aircraft for views of Manhattan on landing and I was not disappointed!

    Thanks for that! On my recent flight to EWR I was on the right side, which means that my views were limited to the not-so-garden-y part of the Garden State 😜
    Looking forward to seeing how the series continues! Kind regards.

    • Comment 578418 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 5606 Comments

      Hey NewYorker, thanks for your thoughtful comments!

      What a beautiful cabin! Definitely the best narrowbody seat in the US (well, after the new Mint, of course).

      JetBlue Mint: Only outdone by NEW JetBlue Mint! hah

      It seems that they've also changed their plating, as I was used to the setup with rectangular plates.

      Yup, they recently upgraded the experience with better china, bedding, amenity kits, etc

      which means that my views were limited to the not-so-garden-y part of the Garden State 😜

      Ah yes, the beautiful industrial-wasteland side ^^

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 578551 by
    CounterSurprise 80 Comments

    Hi Kévin,

    Sweet FR! That Mint cabin looks, well, mint! Fantastic review and quite a surprise for me. As you may know, I fly a lot on SkyTeam metal which means Delta for domestic flights in de US and I've never seen a First Class cabin as nice as this one on Delta. You know the product they sell probably better than I do.

    Great experience, thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 578743 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 5606 Comments

      Hi CounterSurprise, thanks so much for your comments!

      As you may know, I fly a lot on SkyTeam metal which means Delta for domestic flights in de US and I've never seen a First Class cabin as nice as this one on Delta.

      Much like you, I've been very loyal to AA/oneworld and have rarely had the opportunity to stray beyond the alliance for fear of missing out on miles/status so I'm glad AA and B6/AS have a new partnership allowing me to fly more airlines while earning miles/status at similar levels as flying AA metal.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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