Desk C5 is the dedicated check-in desk for those flying in Mint or passengers with Mosaic status — the top tier of JetBlue’s loyalty program, TrueBlue.
A woman was already being checked in when I got to the desk. It took a little while longer than I’d have expected, but I put that down to checking the extra necessary documents that were required at the time for flying to the U.S. This included proof of double vaccination and a document proving you were COVID negative, having had a PCR test or a rapid antigen test that was administered or supervised by a medical professional.
For those flying in economy, be prepared to use the kiosk to print out your boarding pass, even if you’ve already checked in online for your flight.
I started doing the same until I heard another Mint passenger being told to skip this part and head straight to the counter.
A little flustered, we made it through security and into the departures area at 12:54 p.m. — just 1 hour before our flight’s scheduled departure time.
I would have made it through security a little quicker had I been allowed to use the Fast Track security lane. I was rudely informed by a member of Heathrow staff that just because I’d bought a business class ticket didn’t mean I was eligible for fast track.
As per JetBlue’s website, Mint guests can “speed through with a dedicated Mint check-in queue and expedited security lane,” albeit with an “at select airports” caveat.
I reached out to a contact at JetBlue who replied with the following statement:
“We continue to evaluate lounges – as well as fast track lane access at our London airports – but remain primarily focused on competing in the air with our transatlantic service. We believe we currently offer a ground experience that serves our customers well.”
The departure board was already showing “Go to Gate” for our flight, so we made a quick stop at Pret A Manger for some breakfast and a coffee as neither of us had eaten yet.
The day’s departures from LHR Terminal 2.
As our flight was due to depart from B48, it would be around a 15-minute walk to the gate.
Departure board and time planner.
To get to the B gates you leave the main terminal building behind…
Directions to gates B31-49.
…and head down a long, long, long corridor underneath the apron to a satellite terminal.
Chelsea hurrying to the gate with her Pret in hand.
Once we made it back above ground, we headed left a couple of hundred more feet to the gate.
The duty free at LHR’s Terminal 2 satellite terminal.
Boarding at Heathrow Terminal 2
We arrived at the gate around 15 minutes after clearing security, around the exact time the flight was due to board.
Given we’d been to Pret, we can confirm that the advised 15-minute walking time is somewhat precautionary.
Gone were the signs for social distancing advising to leave a seat between passengers at the gate. Despite the fact the flight was supposed to be full, there didn’t seem to be all too many passengers at the gate waiting to board.
The seating area at B48.
And there she was. This was the first time I’d clapped eyes on a JetBlue A321LR and she was a beauty. I could not wait to get on board and into the air.
JetBlue’s N4058J registered Airbus A321LR with the nickname “Mint, Mint, Wink, Wink.”
As this was a press trip, we were able to board the aircraft early to get cabin shots while it was empty.
The AvGeek in me couldn’t resist asking if we could also pay a quick visit to the cockpit.
Being the lovely accommodating JetBlue crew they are, there were no qualms about letting Chelsea and I pop in to take a look.
2 of our pilots.
I even kicked the captain out of his seat so I could briefly live a childhood dream.
Captain Ross — it has a certain right to it, no?
Onboard JetBlue’s Airbus A321LR
The interior of this jet is nothing short of stunning.
I was booked into seat 2F, one of the 22 regular Mint seats onboard the aircraft.
Welcome to seat 2F.
From the sliding privacy door and the 17-inch IFE screen to the small storage compartment under the window, this wide-angle shot shows almost all the seat’s features.
Wide-angle of seat 2F.
Waiting at my seat was a pillow and blanket in a soft grey casing, as well as the smaller of the 2 amenity kits.
Seat 2F close-up.
At first glance, you could say the seat and its surrounding area appear quite narrow. However, once you’re seated, the space feels plenty roomy.
Inside the seating area.
A latched door could be pulled across, enhancing the already private and exclusive feeling of the seat.
The door, which has about a centimeter gap, can only be closed in the time after take-off and before landing.
More privacy than you could need.
I had more than enough storage for what I needed.
I mainly used this little triangle space underneath the window. Next to it was a wireless charging station that didn’t seem to work for me.
Under-the-window storage and wireless charging.
Directly below was a power outlet and a space for the bottle of water that was waiting for me when I boarded.
Power outlet and water bottle holder.
This was the first time I’d seen USC charging capability on an aircraft. While it might seem trivial, devices, including most Apple products, charge with USB-C cables rather than USB.
USB-C charging capability.
To the right of my feet was a stowage area that housed a comfy pair of slippers with an accompanying sign stipulating the space was only to be used for shoe storage.
Dedicated shoe storage.
It was only towards the end of the flight that I noticed this dedicated laptop tray.
The tray table was released by pressing the “push” button to my left.
Tray table release.
The tray table was fixed in the bottom left corner, meaning movement was restricted to a 90-degree swivel.
The tray table pivot.
This meant that the tray table would be almost flush with my chest if my seat was slightly reclined while eating. To eat in a more comfortable position, I had to angle the table diagonally away from me, causing the tray to overhang the table slightly.
The awkward eating position of the tray table with the seat slightly reclined.
However, the tray table was the perfect size for working on my 13-inch laptop.
My office in the sky.
Towards the end of the flight, I reclined the seat into a more relaxed position to watch a movie, and it was a very cozy place to be.
The seat also reclines into a fully-flat bed. While I didn’t nap on this day flight, I would say this lie-flat bed would have provided more than enough comfort to sleep for the duration of a night flight from New York to London.
Fully-flat Mint seat.
The Tuft & Needle memory foam pillow and light blanket added to the coziness.
Fully-flat Mint seat from above.
The seat position could be adjusted by a little control panel by my left elbow which was under a small reading light.
Seat position control panel.
A couple of times throughout the flight my seat started moving by itself. I initially put this down to catching the control panel with my elbow…
The proximity of my arm to the seat controls.
…then I realized there was a second, smaller control panel lower down in the seat with only 2 settings that I kept catching with my knee. This area also housed a remote for the IFE, as well as the aircraft safety card and sick bag.
More seat controls, the IFE remote, as well as the safety card and sick bag.
The lighting could also be controlled at the main seat control panel.
The seat control panel.
The IFE screen could be pulled out to make for a better viewing angle while in flight.
Adjustable IFE screen.
While extended, it faced directly towards me.
IFE screen position.
And finally, one of my favorite things about the seat: the sliding privacy door. The small grey latch under the lamp released the catch…
The door’s release latch.
…then the door could be pulled across to almost fully shut.
Privacy level 9/10.
I remember saying “wow” out loud when I boarded the swanky new aircraft and saw the Mint Cabin for the first time.
The symmetry and sleekness of this cabin are stunning.
JetBlue Mint cabin on the A321LR.
The view was equally as pleasing to the eye from the rear of the Mint cabin.
The Mint cabin from the rear.
As the flight went on and the light outside faded slowly, the ceiling lighting made for a warm and inviting environment.
At the front of the aircraft are 2 seats called Mint Studio suites. These have even more space than the regular 22 Mint suites.
Seats 1A and 1F are Mint Studio suites.
These seats boast the largest TV of all U.S. airlines, at 22 inches, and there’s extra seating space for even more comfort.
Mint Studio suite 1F.
Both Mint Studios also have more storage than the regular Mint suites in a way that resembles a high school locker — it even has a mirror on the inside of the door.
Looking over into Mint Studio 1F from seat 2F.
Almost halfway down the aircraft, a JetBlue logo on a divider marks the start of the aircraft’s Core (economy) seating.
Welcome to JetBlue Core.
The cabin has 3 kinds of seating.
At the very front is 1 row of regular seats that come with extra legroom as they’re at the bulkhead, though these seats aren’t sold as Even More Space seats.
The front of JetBlue’s Core cabin.
If you’re considering selecting a front-row seat, bear in mind that stretching out of the legs is restricted due to the bulkhead.
More space but less stretch.
Following on are 4 rows of Even More Space seats.
Even More Space seat.
Along with 7 more inches of legroom, these seats come with earlier boarding.
The Core Cabin from the last row of Even More Space seats.
Beyond the Even More Space seats were the remaining Core cabin seats.
The view from the rear of the Core cabin.
Food and Beverage
Like all good business class services, a welcome drink was offered before take-off.
Cesar then brought my food and drink menu to me before take-off.
JetBlue’s international menu changes every 2 to 3 months and passengers can choose 3 out of a possible 5 dishes.
Cesar handing out menus.
My choices were:
- Radicchio baby gem salad (cold)
- Marinated cucumber salad (cold)
- Mushroom lasagna
- Chicken paillard
- Sausage mozzarella pasty
After my order of lasagna, chicken, and pasty had been taken, I was asked if I’d like to be woken around 2 hours before landing for the pre-landing meal. Naturally, I said yes.
Before the main meal was served, I was offered my first drink accompanied by a snack selection of olives, nuts, and (I think) artichokes.
I was excited to hear that JetBlue offers proper espresso to its business class guests and had to try it.
Pre-meal snack and coffee.
I was asked what I’d like for my second drink as soon as Mike noticed that my coffee cup was empty. This time I went for a sparkling water — hydration is key when flying!
Dinner Small Plates
Meal service started around an hour after take-off.
All smiles behind the mask.
The chicken breast was so tender and moist — far better even than some of the chicken dishes I’ve been served in restaurants on the ground before. It was definitely the best chicken I’ve eaten in the sky, that’s for sure.
The accompanying arugula, parmesan, and sweet red tomatoes made for a taste sensation with every bite.
The perfect combo of ingredients.
While it was a rather heavy dish, the mushroom lasagna was delightfully flavorful.
As for the “pasty” — it was nothing like the pasties were used to eating in the U.K., but it was tasty nonetheless.
Mushroom lasagna (top left), sausage pasty (bottom left), and chicken paillard (bottom right).
After mains had been cleared away, Cesar wheeled a dessert trolley down the cabin. My options were either vanilla gelato or a cheese plate. I was so full that asked if it would be alright for me to grab a cheese plate a bit later in the flight.
The dessert trolley.
If I were to get peckish in between meals, I could have helped myself to cashews, chips, popcorn, or shortbread from the snack basket.
The snack basket.
Supper Small Plate
Flight attendants Bill and Mike started taking second meal orders with 1 hour 51 minutes to go before landing. Cesar also asked me if I’d like anything else to drink. With a sparkling wine and extra-strong martini already on the go, I passed. Then I realized I hadn’t had a gin and tonic yet so ordered 1 of those, too. Why not add a third to the collection?
This time I could pick 2 out of 3 dishes:
- Endive salad
- Carrot farro soup
- Chicken panini
I went for the warm options again and chose the carrot farro soup and the roasted chicken panini.
In all honesty, the soup was more of a splash than a bowlful; 1 mouthful and I could already see the bottom of the bowl. I instantly regretted mixing in the farro, too, as it seemed to soak up the small amount of soup that there was.
A scraping of soup.
The chicken panini, on the other hand, was just what I needed to curb the appetite I’d somehow managed to regain.
The chicken panini.
After touching the bread roll, I decided I’d give it a miss.
It’s tough to get bread right in the sky.
I’m not sure I’ll ever find a mile-high bread roll as warm, moist, and delicious as the one I had the absolute pleasure of encountering on a recent Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Newcastle.
The Dairy Milk was a nice added surprise for dessert.
Classic British choccy.
Like strong cocktails? Fly JetBlue.
I had the option of 4 cocktails: the Mint Condition (gin- or vodka-based), the Black Maple Old Fashioned, Al Pastor Margarita (both flight attendants Leanne and Mike warned me that this cocktail’s spice levels are not for novices), and a dirty martini.
I tried the dirty martini and it was so strong I could only do a couple of sips at a time.
The strongest dirty martini in the sky.
Sodas, waters, wines, and beer were also available.
I was already under the impression that gin and tonics aren’t as popular in the U.S. as the U.K., since every time I’ve ordered one in the U.S. in the past I’d often get a bemused look followed by a “Gin with soda?” So, I wasn’t surprised that there was no diet tonic, which comes as standard in most U.K. bars, restaurants, and even on flights.
Bombay was the only gin available — not my favorite gin, either. I’d prefer a Roku, Sipsmith, or my all-time favorite, Nordés, but I realize you can’t expect such things at 30-odd thousand feet.
It’s always gin o’clock.
Instead of Champagne, JetBlue serves a Spanish sparkling wine from the Penedes winery in Catalunya, Spain. It was just as good as Champagne for me!
Before I knew it there were just 51 minutes to landing and Mike asked me if I’d like another sparkling water. I said yes, and a second later a third glass of sparkling wine arrived at my seat. I blame the excellent noise-canceling headphones for the confusion.
This brings me nicely onto the next section…
I had an array of amenities at my disposal throughout the flight.
Waiting for me at my seat was a Tuft & Needle blanket and pillow and a small paper package with an eye mask and earplugs inside.
Everything you need for a good sleep in the sky.
There was a second larger amenity kit by Wanderfuel.
Amenity kit by Wanderfuel.
The recyclable paper kit was filled with a bunch of wholesome products from a selection of carefully selected brands.
There was a vegan hand cream, a large body wipe, miracle mist spray, a rehydration sachet, flight socks, a little sachet of moisturizer, and a sugar-free gummy.
JetBlue Mint amenities.
Not only was this the first time I’d ever had slippers as an amenity on a transatlantic flight in business class, but they were also so comfy that I took them off the flight with me and have been wearing them in my hotels ever since. It’s a shame they were encased in plastic, though.
All business class flights need a pair of slippers.
It was also the first time I’d seen USB-C charging capability on a flight.
Power outlets keeping up with the times.
The 17-inch IFE screen was crystal clear.
I liked how Spanish was included on the start screen in reflection of the huge Spanish-speaking population in the U.S.
In addition to all of the usual films and TV shows, JetBlue also has a live TV option.
IFE home screen.
You’d have been hard pushed to not find something to suit you from the huge selection of films.
Too much choice, you could say!
I went for “Love, Simon” and I’m not ashamed to say I shed a tear or 2.
But the most important thing of all for an AvGeek is the moving 3D map, which I followed closely for most of the flight.
I also had the option of using my phone as a remote control.
“A less touch-y touchscreen experience.”
I did this initially but then resorted back to using the touch screen as I found this more practical.
The power of modern technology.
The Master & Dynamic noise-canceling headphones that were waiting for me at my seat were of excellent quality.
It’s an added bonus when airlines make an effort to invest in the best quality products and brands for their customers.
I liked that the headphone set had a dedicated hook to store them when they weren’t being used.
It’s the simple things.
Before landing, headphones were collected and replaced with in-ear buds so I could continue watching (and crying at) “Love, Simon.”
Out with the headphones, in with the buds.
Nothing untoward to report here — 10/10 for cleanliness.
Mint passengers had the use of 2 bathrooms at the front of the cabin. Those sitting in Core also had access to 2 bathrooms, though these were situated all the way at the rear galley.
A message over the PA just after take-off stipulated that by law, guests must use the restrooms that were assigned to their specific cabins and that under no circumstances were you allowed to use the other bathrooms.
Another first for me — the loo had automatic seats and flush. I had never seen this on a plane before, and it’s something I’d like to see all airlines adopting.
This picture was taken in the smaller of the 2 restrooms. Loos on smaller jets like the A321 tend to be a bit of a squeeze and this was no exception.
Standing room only.
Announcements were made frequently throughout the flight in regards to mask-wearing and included a reminder that “masks should be replaced between bites and sips” — something I haven’t heard announced on a flight in all my pandemic-era flying.
I’ll summarise briefly by saying that each of the 5 cabin crew members who worked this flight is a credit to JetBlue.
Down in Mint, I was looked after by Cesar (who was the purser), Mike, and Bill. In Core, Chelsea was looked after by Leanne and Ryan.
I spoke with each and every member of the flight and cabin crew and I want to say a personal thank you to each and every one of them for making my first long-haul flight with JetBlue an experience that I will never, ever forget.
The team was well-oiled and it was clear they worked incredibly well together as a team.
As this is the only international route that the airline operates, this crew is dedicated to operating from New York to London and gets to learn how each other works.
As we were close to landing, I thanked Cesar for everything and said that it was an honor to be served by a team who clearly love what they do and are meant to be in the skies.
A couple of minutes later, Leanne came around with a handwritten note for each passenger in Mint.
Thank you, Leanne.
By this point, I was a fair few drinks in and mile-high emotions were running high. Needless to say, this note brought a tear to my eye.
You just can’t beat personal touches like this.
It was quite a poignant moment seeing the American coastline for the first time again after leaving it behind for what would unknowingly be the last time in a long while back in 2019.
We were welcomed with the hottest of firey sunsets of the Long Island Sound.
Sunset over the Long Island Sound.
After 8 hours and 17 minutes in the air, we touched down at 6:13 p.m. — 26 minutes later than scheduled.
What then ensued was nothing short of magic. We breezed straight through passport control where there was no line whatsoever and our bags were already on the carousel waiting for us. We got from touching down at JFK to getting off the LIRR at Penn Station in just 1 hour and 9 minutes!
JetBlue Mint is my favorite business class product to fly across the Atlantic. There, I said it.
Flights like this make me feel even more grateful than ever to call this my job.
Thank you, JetBlue.
Hopefully, the Heathrow fast track issue will get fixed soon to make that part of the experience even more business-class-like.
It’s also a shame that for those of us living in the U.K., there’s no easy way for us to redeem points on JetBlue flights as none of our credit cards have JetBlue as a transfer partner.
If London and Europe continue to be a key market for JetBlue as the airline grows, then making points earning and spending a possibility for Europeans would be beneficial for both the airline and passengers alike.