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Why JetBlue Mint Is More Than Just Lie-Flat Seats

The airline recently added Mint service to three more routes. Could it be a harbinger of bigger things to come?

When it comes to lie-flat luxury on planes, transatlantic long-haul airlines like Emirates, Qatar, and Virgin Atlantic dominate the market. But now JetBlue is upping its flatbed seat count on short-haul flights, raising the question: Could the airline be readying for its own transatlantic routes?

JetBlue’s premium Mint lie-flat seats launched in 2014, and this month were added to three more of its longest direct routes—New York to St. Lucia, New York to St. Maarten, and Boston to Aruba—none of which take more than about four and a half hours.

The expansion came just days after JetBlue announced a new partnership with Portuguese carrier TAP for a direct TAP route to Lisbon—a gateway to Europe. Although JetBlue has partnerships with dozens of international carriers, the airline is best known for heavy domestic focus (with the exception of some Caribbean and South American destinations), making it the only primarily-domestic airline to offer short-haul lie-flat seats.

The lavish upgrade is great for JetBlue’s cross-country and Caribbean flights if you want three meals in a matter of four to six hours. But how perfect would they be for a long-haul international journey? The longest Mint route currently in service seems to be Boston to San Francisco—about a six and a half hour jaunt.

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Mint seats would certainly suit long-haul journeys to Europe and beyond. The premium-class seats are the longest fully lie-flat seat currently available in the U.S. domestic market, and include added massage functionality, 15-inch personal televisions, power outlets, Wi-Fi, food and wine menus curated by Saxon + Parole‘s Michelin star-awarded chef, a customized Birchbox amenities kit for each passenger, and added bonus features like a “Wake me for service” button and adjustable lumbar support. Each Mint flight is an Airbus A321 aircraft that offers 16 of the premium seats, four of which are private, single-person suites with a closing door.

So the question seems to be—is JetBlue investing in future transatlantic travel with its latest lie-flats? Or is the lavish option merely intended to set the airline apart on short flight times?

From here, it only seems a matter of time before Americans can fly with JetBlue Mint across the Atlantic.

You tell us: Would you fly JetBlue Mint domestically? To Europe? Comment below.

More from SmarterTravel:

Shannon McMahon attended JetBlue’s Boston Logan Mint launch to try out Mint seats firsthand. Follow her on Twitter for more travel trends coverage @shanmcmahon_.

(Photos: JetBlue)

By Shannon McMahon

Editor Shannon McMahon is always planning her next trip and often writing in her travel journal. Follow her on Twitter @shanmcmahon_ and on Instagram @shanmcmahon.

Shannon joined SmarterTravel in 2015. A former news reporter, she's lived in the south of Spain, spotted elephants in Sri Lanka, gone spelunking in the Caribbean, hiked Jordan's Petra Basin, interviewed Sao Paulo's Michelin-Star chefs, and explored China via bullet train. Travel trends, news oddities, and her visits to up-and-coming destinations are some of her favorite things to write about.

Her stories have also appeared online on USA Today, The Sun, Huffington Post, Business Insider, blog.TripAdvisor.com, Boston.com, and more. Her educational background is in journalism, art history, gender studies, Spanish, and film. She's been quoted as an expert travel source by CNBC, People.com, MarketWatch, The Washington Post, USA Today, and more.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Plenty of extra thick hair elastics. They tame my frizzy curls and come in handy in a surprising number of packing and hotel dilemmas."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Climbing (yes, climbing, it's steep!) the Great Wall of China before it's gone."

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Email Shannon at smcmahon@smartertravel.com.