JetBlue’s premium lie-flat Mint service is killing it. Which, according to the law of the marketplace, means there’ll be more of it, at higher prices.
In 2014, when JetBlue launched Mint, its premium lie-flat service, between New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco, it was mostly seen as a limited response to the premium services offered by the full-service carriers on those especially competitive routes.
But then JetBlue added Mint service between Boston and Seattle. And Boston and Barbados. And New York and Aruba. And New York and Barbados.
And there’s more Mint service in the pipeline, with flights now on sale for upcoming Mint flights between New York and both Las Vegas and San Diego, and between Boston and both San Diego and St. Maarten. In addition, more Mint flights will be brought online in several existing markets.
By year-end, JetBlue will offer Mint cabins on one in every 14 flights, amounting to around 70 flights per day.
Conspicuously missing from JetBlue’s news release regarding the latest Mint flights was any mention of the price. That’s a significant change from the initial marketing of the service, which loudly and proudly trumpeted Mint fares “as low as $399.” A quick test booking for flights between New York and Los Angeles showed Mint fares ranging between $809 and $1,604 each way, hardly the bargain they were initially.
Although JetBlue didn’t disclose Mint load factors, the fact that the service is being expanded and prices are being raised is a sure indicator that sales are strong. Which means the days of $399 tickets are likely long gone, if not forgotten. But still, viewed either as a premium over the price of coach or compared to comparable-service prices on other airlines, Mint airfares remain a relative bargain.
Reader Reality Check
How much are you willing to spend to fly in JetBlue’s Mint class?
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.