JetBlue’s Mint business-class seat launched in 2014, and the product is definitely showing its age.
From heavy wear and tear to an outdated inflight entertainment system, the original Mint product isn’t nearly as competitive as it was when it first launched.
Thankfully, however, JetBlue is addressing perhaps the biggest issue with the original seat by installing new Tuft & Needle-branded seat cushions on its legacy Mint-equipped Airbus A321 jets.
These new seat covers offer a built-in mattress pad that first debuted on the airline’s Airbus A321neo, or new engine option, jets. These planes feature the next-generation Mint product, which offers direct access aisle from each seat in a 1-1 configuration.
In my experience, these new seat cushions are quite comfortable. Also, the built-in adaptive mattress foam is designed to offer a “consistent sleep experience, regardless of aircraft configuration,” according to a JetBlue spokesperson.
While JetBlue may be touting the benefits of the new seat cushion, the real improvement for frequent flyers will be the elimination of the inflatable airbag-style cushioning system, which has been prone to deflating as it ages.
When you sit in a deflated Mint seat, it feels like you’re sitting on an incredibly uncomfortable park bench. It’s significantly more unpleasant than the economy seats in the last row of the plane.
I’ve experienced the deflated-seat issue on multiple occasions on recent Mint flights, and each time, the crew tried resetting the system to no avail. Finally, they brought out a replacement seat cover to help make the seat more comfortable.
In fact, the issue got so bad that JetBlue began stocking replacement seat covers on most Mint flights — a costly move considering the additional weight and space that these large items occupy.
Fortunately, JetBlue is finally addressing this issue by eliminating the airbag system entirely. While the airline will no longer dole out $200 credits for deflated seats, frequent JetBlue flyers will undoubtedly appreciate that the seats will be consistently more comfortable.
To date, the airline has retrofitted five out of 35 Mint-equipped Airbus A321s, with plans to complete the project by the end of February, a spokesperson confirmed to TPG.
Although JetBlue is addressing perhaps the biggest issue with the classic Mint seat, the product could still use some TLC.
To start, the aging inflight entertainment system is one of the buggiest and most outdated systems in the domestic skies. There are limited on-demand options, and the interface feels straight out of the early 2000s.
Additionally, as airlines go all-in on direct aisle access in business class, the alternating 2-2 and 1-1 configuration in the legacy Mint product isn’t as competitive as it once was.
Other issues include significant wear and tear on the seats and loose power ports.
It’d be great if JetBlue decided to simply retrofit its existing aircraft with the impressive new Mint product, but that’s a costly endeavor that the airline likely isn’t ready to undergo, especially considering the Spirit takeover that’s due to close in the coming months.
While JetBlue may not yet be ready to share the long-term strategy for its legacy Mint product, at least it’s taking a big step in the right direction with the replacement of the seat covers.