JetBlue this week detailed its new premium-class service -- lie-back beds, private suites and tapas-style meals topped off with an espresso or cappuccino -- that will begin on coast-to-coast flights June 15. But there's more good news too. Along with the premium service, called Mint, coach seats get a makeover too.
Mint will account for 16 seats, four of them private suites with closing doors, on the airline's new fleet of Airbus A321s, according to an airline statement. The seats have a massage function, power and USB outlets, and 15-inch flat screens for radio and TV programming. It's a far cry from the one-class-fits-all seating the airline started with 13 years ago.
And the airline plans to keep prices low. Fares start at $499 each way from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport during the rollout from June 15 to 18. Summer fares will start at $599 each way, the statement says.
"Mint is JetBlue's refreshing take on a premium class product," JetBlue President and CEO Dave Barger said in the statement. "... JetBlue is truly all about serving the under-served, the customer who wants to enjoy first-rate service at an exceptional and affordable fare."
But, as Conde Nast Traveler points out, the 143 coach seats on each plane might be the real story. They'll have bigger 10-inch personal screens, in-seat power outlets and drink holders, self-serve snack stations and free Wi-Fi and entertainment services too.
"It's all a bid to maintain (or widen) the gap between the JetBlue coach product and the cattle cars of its major airline competition," Barbara Peterson writes in Conde Nast Traveler.