Topic of the Week: Mint Goes to the Caribbean

JetBlue is taking its Mint product beyond just the New York-LA/SF routes. During the peak season, there will be weekly flights to Aruba and Barbados. What do you think about these additions? What do you think might come next?

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17 Responses to Topic of the Week: Mint Goes to the Caribbean

  1. Noah says:

    I think its great to see Mint Expanding. If people are willing to pay, then Jetblue should take it everywhere 4+ hours. It is a fantastic product on long flights and I would guess only aircraft deliveries are slowing its growth.

    The announcement of 1x weekly seems more like an experiment with aircraft that would be sitting anyway, so it’s a very tepid entry. Everyone says BOS flying is next, and I would assume we will eventually see many more transcons with the service at least on a couple of flights. I’d be curious about FLL routes to Columbia.

    I wonder how the product will evolve when its not done from JFK. Right now a lot of the food is inspired by NY restaurants (saxon+parole, brooklyn ice cream, etc.) – will there be different products in BOS? FLL? Or just have new caterers match.

    • PF says:

      Agree that it may just be utilization 1x / wk. The Mint Customer may want a premium product to fit their schedule, not that of the aircraft.

  2. Ben says:

    Agreed – its great that Mint is expanding. Personally I’d love to see it from BOS. Not sure how big the market is though. I do know that most of the transcon products from BOS suck.

    Oh and its COLOMBIA. The country is spelled with two Os. The college is spelled with a U.

  3. David SF eastbay says:

    To me still it just means they are going to put a (chocolate) MINT on your seat like hotels do on your pillow. I never have thought of the name as anything special, just weird.

  4. CraigTPA says:

    Caught me by surprise, I thought we’d see Mint on BOS-California routes first, but it looks like something they could do with existing fleet and it lets them see initial customer response. Still think new A321s equipped with Mint will be deployed on BOS-LA/SF before any widespread international rollout.

  5. Jamzz says:

    I can’t help but wonder if JetBlue is finding the lucrative JFK-LAX/SFO market isn’t so lucrative after all and has to find other opportunities. I think most of the airlines on those routes lose gobs of money on them, but can’t do anything about it because of corporate accounts, reputation, and egos.

    • CF says:

      Jamzz – From all accounts, JetBlue is doing very well with Mint service. (All these airlines are – the premium cabin demand is incredible.) This announcement says nothing about how the existing service is doing, however. These flights only will operate weekly down to the Caribbean on Saturdays. Every airline cuts back flying on Saturday in the transcon markets because the business travelers aren’t going that day. So this is aircraft downtime anyway. Now they can use it for something else.

  6. Cedarglen says:

    I’ve flown JB’s new Mint service a couple of times on the SFO/JFK/SFO loop in recent weeks. I’d like to see it expanded, but I’m still not quite sure what to call it. It is far better than enhanced Y service, more like a J service, but with the smiles and some of the perks that go with domestic F tickets. (It is decidedly not international F service and is not trying to be.) If one shops with extreme care and has a little flexibility, the trans-con Mint fares (from $599 up to more than double that on the same route) can be a bargain. Buyer Beware: Even a one day difference, or a flight two hours later can more than double the fare!
    My experience on the roughly ~6.5 hour flight was good, fun and comfortable. JB has obviously assigned some top tier FAs to these routes and it shows. The seats are (new) and better than most domestic F services. JB has also invested significant effort in their Mint-Cabin meals, but it still feels like a work-in-progress with a steep learning curve for the FAs and JB’s catering contractors. Some of the Small Dishes are truly excellent while others collect some demerits. I was surprised by the lack of consistency for a given dish, as served on different flights. (That is a catering issue, not a cabin crew or galley issue, IMO. Yes, JB needs to exert more, far stronger quality and presentation control over their caterers, especially those serving flights departing JFK.) I cannot fault the Mint Services cabin crew; they are good and perhaps too often working with limited resources. Did I mention Work-In-Progress?
    The market-based pricing for JB’s Mint service can be confusing, so shop both days and times with extreme care. This too will shake out in time. If anything, JB has already established tht it CAN provide seriously great trans-con services, at the pointy end of the airplane and a reasonable, buy up a little prices. (The others should take note, since JB is not going away!) In my never humble opinion, JB’s Mint (soft) product is worth the up-charge for flights over 4 hours and if one picks one’s days and times with extreme care. (Get the wrong day or time and the price will double and then some.) Even without FF status worth mentioning, I will fly JB’s Mint again, when I can find it and on the correct days. With a wrong day or time and 2x+ the net cost, Mint loses much of its appeal, so be careful what you buy. -CG

    • Oliver says:

      I am not a business traveler and yet I don’t have a lot of flexibility in my selection of flights. I gotta go when I have a weekend or vacation, and optimizing flight times/vacation time is usually more important than comfort. I wouldn’t fly Tuesday – Thursday just because Mint is cheap if I want to spend the weekend in NYC.

  7. Kilroy says:

    Never really thought or heard much about Mint, but I am not in a position to use the service, from a business or personal side. From the comments, though, it does sound like JetBlue has found a good niche.

    While LAX and SFO are roughly ~2500 statute miles from JFK, remember that Aruba and Barbados are at the far end of the Caribbean, off the coast of South America, and come in at ~2000 miles, about the same as JFK to SLC. Also, there are plenty of people in the NYC area who have a little extra money to spend for a nice flight down to a warm place.

    Cranky, are there are any other markets besides BOS, DC, and maybe SEA cross-country flights that could support a Mint style service? Would there be enough leisure demand for a Mint-style service on Jet Blue from, say, LGB to one of the airports in Hawaii?

    • CF says:

      Kilroy – The dropoff once you get past JFK-LA/SF is huge. Not many markets can support this kind of thing, it seems. But that doesn’t mean JetBlue won’t try.

      • Kilroy says:

        That is pretty much what I figured.

        Do you think it would be worth tryjng EWR – LAX / SFO, or would JetBlue just be cannibalizing its revenue on the flights from Idlewild?

  8. Jim says:

    First the baggage fees, and then this. Not a good sign. JetBlue is abandoning its legacy and becoming like the big network carriers. Pretty soon they will start charging for blue chips as well, unless you are sitting in “Mint” or have “status”.

    • 121 Pilot says:

      So JetBlue offers a new enhanced service to those who want to pay for it and that’s a bad sign? Have you noticed the improvements in the Core product like Bigger TV’s, free high speed wifi, and new more comfortable seats?

  9. Perks Peg says:

    When AA capitulated to Jet Blue on its BOS to SJU route, I tried Jet Blue. I paid for extra leg room seats only to have JB stick someone in the middle seat who had NOT paid extra for the seat at the last minute. (The middle seat person generally changes the channel on my arm rest throughout the flight.)

    So I fly business/first on AA now even though I have to make a connection to do so.

    If Jet Blue added Mint flights to San Juan more than once a week, I would be booking that flight all the time.

    • 121 Pilot says:

      Peg,

      Your upset because someone got a free upgrade or because the middle seat was taken?

      Regardless if your buying tickets in First/Buisness (as opposed to upgrading on status) your not really going to be a Coach customer regardless of the airline and the experience.

  10. Jason says:

    As others have mentioned, I think BOS-LAX/SFO would be a logic choice once they receive more aircraft. Some second tier choices might be JFK-SEA or JFK-LAS. SEA seems to be the west coast’s third most valued city, and most people are going to Vegas with the expectation of spending money. It would be interesting if they tried it on the BOS-DCA flights to compete with the first class products being offered by the “shuttles”, but most of those flights use the E190, so that seems like too big of an upgauge.

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