With much fanfare, New York based airline JetBlue unveiled its new transatlantic Mint business class seating on 1 February. The media and bloggers slobbered with excitement over the new product, which is a little uncalled for. I guess it has been a slow news year.
Flyers have always generally disliked herringbone seats which face the aisle. The VantageSolo seat from Thompson Aero mitigates this somewhat by having the seat entry parallel to the aisle, but good luck if you want to see out a window.
There are two types of seat, the Mint Suite and the Mint Studio, which is located at row one and has more space and a bigger entertainment screen. There is nothing game changing here, the seat converts to a bed, has a shelf for devices, features a 17″ screen, and has laptop, shoe and handbag storage. I would expect that, really.
Those in the Mint Studio get a guest seat for a buddy to sit pretty much on top of you, and “an extra side table for added productivity”. Can’t see that being a big enhancer of work, but okay. Otherwise there’s a whole bunch of special Tuft and Needle fabrics and what not to help you sleep, plus some “design touches” and of course the JetBlue service. All pretty standard variations on a theme we’ve seen forever.
Here’s What The Game Changer Will Be
JetBlue’s original Mint business class, used on transcontinental flights in the USA, reduced fares markedly when compared to the existing airlines. In fact, I’ve been sorely tempted on more than one occasion to give them a whirl as the prices are so good. The only thing that stopped me was the lack of frequent flyer benefits, so I always went with American Airlines instead.
The New York airline opening transatlantic flights should result in disruptive pricing. You never get flights from London to the USA and back in business class for under £1,000 for example. You would be very hard pressed to get returns from Dublin to the USA and back for under €1,800 with Aer Lingus, who charge an arm and a leg for their (admittedly, very good) business class.
The best pricing I have ever seen with a legacy carrier across the Atlantic from Europe is something in the region of €900. I paid this once in business class for a ticket from Prague to Washington DC via London Heathrow and back with British Airways. There was also a sale fare pre-pandemic, for perhaps €800 from Dublin to Boston (I think!) return with Icelandair in business class.
I would be a price taker (and screw my frequent flyer points, status and alliance) at anything under €800 return. That is good value for transatlantic business class. Luckily JetBlue’s service is also highly rated, so booking with them at prices like that would be a no brainer.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very pleased that JetBlue will be contesting the transatlantic market. From what I hear, the airline hits the mark when it comes to service and quality at an affordable price. While I don’t think the seat is a game changer, it certainly is a modern design, spacious and will do the job admirably.
As I’ve mentioned, it’s all about that price point. People will flock to JetBlue if the price is right. Everything else already is right, such as the airlines brand positioning and reputation, on board service, and so on. The price will likely be right, so that makes this a very exciting thing to watch as time progresses.
What do you think of the new JetBlue transatlantic Mint product? Will you be flying them across the pond? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.