Business Class Flights San Diego – Number 5 out of 80 airlines need at least 10 in the last two years to appear in the ranking. 54 opinions
Hello and welcome to a new series of pandemic flight reviews. After being grounded for almost 10 months in 2020, I am slowly but surely returning to regular flights. After moving my family back to the US earlier this year, we had a few uneventful domestic flights in the spring – which I may post about later – and now it’s time to head back across the lake to spend the summer with family in southwest France.
Business Class Flights San Diego
This review is a little unusual for me because it’s not with a oneworld alliance operator (sigh!) and it’s the first test of a JetBlue “Mint” business class product. I’ve wanted to try Menta for a long time, but never got around to it, especially since I live in Washington, because there is simply no Menta service from the DC area. Now that I live in San Diego, there are other options to fly JetBlue, and the fact that American AAdvantage members can now collect B6 metal miles as part of the new AA-B6 alliance gives me even more reason to try them. Catch a pre-booked transatlantic flight from New York.
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Although our transoceanic Iberia flight departs from JFK, JetBlue has excellent fares on the mint cabin for Newark EWR – a 40% savings on SAN-JFK flights for the same date. Flying to EWR is not a problem we were going to spend one night to break up the trip to make it easier on our 2 year old son.
As mentioned above, JetBlue flies Mint-equipped A321s to EWR and JFK from SAN. Because EWR is a new route for JetBlue and competes with the more established United and Alaska, EWR fares are priced at a significant discount to the super-premium route to JFK for about $400 one-way per person versus $700 one-way. . Fantastic price for transcon lie-flat business class!
Although JetBlue recently introduced a wonderful new Business Class product for select A321neo and A321LR services in the New York ⬌ London/LAX markets, our flight to Newark will be operated in the regular Mint cabin. The layout in the traditional Mint cabin is a 1-1/2-2 layout which changes from 1-1 in newer aircraft. We really enjoyed it more because we flew as a family with small children.
On the morning of the flight, we arrived at the airport a good two hours before departure because we had a lot of bags to check when we left for two months.
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See “June Gloom” – a typical southern California morning stratus cloud that usually occurs in late spring and early summer and is usually gone by morning.
I was very excited to arrive early because the JetBlue ticket counter was very busy due to the flight delay to JFK.
I was glad to be on the Newark flight because the JFK flight was delayed a few hours. When we got to the check-in desk, the agent was very friendly and efficient.
By the time we got through security, boarding had begun. Domestic travel in the US has seen a surge in demand since the mass rollout of vaccinations earlier this year, leading to overcrowded domestic terminals.
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Despite the crowd, boarding was organized and smooth, starting from the mint cabin. Now that my son is 2 years old and can walk long distances easily, I don’t ask to board earlier because we don’t have to deal with packing and checking the stroller at the gate.
A good first impression – the Mint cabin is perhaps the most luxurious in transcontinental business class – at least on narrow flights.
I was lucky enough to get one of the solo seats in the “suite”, which is very spacious and private with a closing door!
The bedding is a great booster seat for my son as he explores all the shiny buttons on his seat 😁
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Let’s take a look at the food and drink menu signed by the cabin crew – nice touch.
JetBlue Mint Catering offers a unique “small plate” style tapas service, with several delicious options. I will find out later that it is
“Mint Suites” units are spacious – there is a lot of space in front of you and to the sides of the seat.
No need to choose which electronics to charge first – charge them all at once!
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The seat controls are also conveniently located so that you don’t accidentally hit and change the position of the seat by mistake. This often happens to me when the control is too close to the elbows or hips.
The inflight entertainment is excellent with many live TV channels, a good selection of movies, TV shows and music. The only thing I wasn’t interested in was the lack of language options other than English, and the interface itself was a bit clunky. Moreover, all these options along with free Wi-Fi create the best entertainment experience. It’s easy to see that JetBlue is trying to offer more than the old carrier.
Although the flight was usually full, boarding was completed early and the doors closed 5 minutes before the scheduled departure.
The moving map looks old and interestingly uses OpenStreetMap data instead of more traditional mapping programs.
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Although SAN can get pretty busy with only one runway, operations tend to run smoothly thanks to the incredibly stable weather we have year-round in San Diego.
SAN Airport and its unique runway, Coronado Beach, Coronado Bridge, downtown San Diego and Balboa Park are all within easy reach.
Once we were aligned, we could put the child’s seat in a completely flat position and sleep long and comfortably.
The cabin crew entered shortly after takeoff and closed the door on the solo seat. Not only is the seat spacious, but it’s also very private!
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While enclosed suites have become more popular in long-haul business class in recent years, they’re still a rare innovation, and JetBlue, which flies primarily in the US domestic sector, got ahead of itself when it introduced Mint in 2014!
As we advanced into the desert, the sea layer could still be seen hugging the shore in the distance.
As mentioned, the interface is surprisingly dated and the moving map is not particularly “pretty” or detailed, but it is too small for me. The screen is a good size and has a lot of content and features – “bells and whistles” not often seen on the same plane like XM Satellite Radio, Live TV, free high-speed Wi-Fi, and tons of movies, shows and music.
In-flight service starts about half an hour into the flight with drinks – orders taken on the ground, along with meal options.
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I had a Carmen de Bourgogne, which was decent. Definitely better than the basic sparkling wine served by Heritage on domestic flights, but definitely not real champagne.
I will say that the lunch service takes quite a bit longer than I am used to at other companies in the US. I don’t mind waiting at all, what’s more, the quality of the meal was far above the competition and it clearly took more care and time to prepare and arrange a full cabin.
I appreciated that the flight attendant came through the booth and offered refills while we waited for our meal.
Luckily, I always have an emergency snack for a bit if he gets hungry – in the meantime he likes to munch on cookies.
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And all good things are worth waiting for! I was very impressed with the quality, the large portions and the presentation.
But apparently it’s too much food for people. Unfortunately, it is not possible to pre-order children’s meals at Menta.
We drove through the Midwest near the end of meal service, which gives you an idea of how long it takes.
Towards the end of the flight, the chief flight attendant arrived and thanked every passenger in the mint compartment for flying JetBlue and presented them with a card. This is a handwritten thank you card signed by the Mint staff and even addressed to a family named – wow, I was so impressed with this level of personal touch!
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I specifically chose a seat on the left side of the plane for the view of Manhattan upon landing and I was not disappointed!
We landed almost an hour before we were supposed to arrive! Flights in the New York area tend to have soft taxi times and long delays, so when there are no delays… land super early!
No wonder we had to wait at the door as we arrived so early, but luckily the wait was quite short.
I was impressed to see how big JetBlue’s Newark operation actually is given that they have a major hub right in JFK.
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While our luggage, all with mint green priority tags, quickly made their way to the regular carousel, strollers and car seats.
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