The Best Way to Fly Domestically? JetBlue Mint.

Low and behold the coveted throne seat.

Not only was I able to cross off tons of destinations on my bucket list this summer, but I also flew on business class for the first time in my life. It’s safe to say that it was a transformative experience. I flew on JetBlue Mint, arguably known as the “best business class in America,” by tons of airline critics and fanatics across the country. While I’ve never flown on anything but economy, and Delta’s Comfort+ if I was ever lucky to be upgraded, I instantly became certain that JetBlue Mint is the sweetest of deals out there. I was so hooked that I ended up flying Mint six times this summer! In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the Mint experience from start to finish.

JetBlue Mint route map. The Caribbean/Latin America routes are seasonal.

Before we jump right in, I wanted to give some context to the story behind Mint. Prior to 2014, JetBlue only offered its standard economy offerings, which speaks true to its humble roots of being a low-cost, high-amenities carrier. Although the airline had only been around for 15 years at this point, JetBlue shook up the industry by offering free, unlimited snacks and drinks, wifi, DIRECTV, and great legroom. By setting the bar so high, other carriers started to follow by offering some of the same amenities that JetBlue has always had. Then, CEO Dave Barger announced that he wanted to shake up the industry even more, by offering a premium flight experience on JetBlue’s longer flights, but at a fraction of the cost. For example, other major legacy carriers were charging thousands of dollars for its business class fares, but JetBlue was able to offer Mint for just $599 each way. Since then, Mint has been an extremely popular way to fly, especially from coast-to-coast.

Again, Mint is only offered on select routes, on its newer A321 aircraft. As an intern, it was difficult at first to land a coveted Mint seat. But after weeks of trying, I finally scored my first Mint seat, from New York (JFK) to San Diego (SAN). I was traveling with a couple of other intern friends, who all also landed Mint!

At the airport

Captured from my very first time flying Mint.

On the ground, having a Mint boarding pass allows you to have access to a couple of great perks. There is a separate, dedicated Mint counter, with a crewmember there to assist you with any of your needs. Additionally, this ticket automatically allows you to move through JetBlue’s “Even More Speed” line. This is a great way to start your trip, as you’ll be able to move quickly through security in busy airports such as JFK. And once the gate attendant calls for boarding, Mint and Mosaic customers always board first. There are only 16 Mint seats, so it’s pretty cool to board the plane when no one else is on it.

On the plane

The Mint cabin is at the front of the plane, where a friendly crewmember greets you and shows you to your seat. There are five rows of Mint seats total; in a 2-1-2-1-2 configuration. This means that if you’re in rows 2 or 4, you’ll have your own “throne” seat where there’s even your own door for more privacy. Out of all six times I flew on Mint, I only got the throne seat once. It doesn’t cost any more to select these seats, so if you have the chance to fly Mint, I would highly recommend picking the throne.

On each seat, there’s a plush comforter, pillow, and a welcome kit full of thoughtful goodies. My favorites include the JetBlue socks and the lip balm. The socks are so soft, and I wear them around my house all the time. The lip balm is also high-quality and is something that I carry around with me in my backpack.

As soon as you’re seated, the crewmember greets you and asks whether or not this is your first Mint experience. If this is your first time, he or she will demonstrate how to use the remote controls for the lie-flat seat, which extends to 6’8″. This was definitely one of my favorite parts of Mint, as I loved having the freedom to lay completely flat and sleep comfortably throughout the whole ride. Afterwards, the crewmember offers you a refreshing Mint cocktail, which you can get with or without vodka. All of these personal touches make for a great first impression onboard.

Another fantastic perk of JetBlue Mint is the in-flight entertainment. The screen is touch-screen and significantly larger than the screen in coach. It was the perfect size to catch up on JetBlue’s great offerings of movies and TV shows, as well as switching to the route map every so often to see how much longer in the flight was left. But let’s be honest—I never wanted the Mint experience to end.

Once in the air, the crewmember presents you with a menu, which has different offerings depending on what type of meal service is offered at that time. There are three menus: breakfast, lunch/dinner, and shut-eye (for overnight flights). I’ve had all three options, and you can’t go wrong with any of them. The lunch/dinner option was definitely more filling, in my opinion. You also have the option to choose from lots of beverages. In fact, I was able to fly my Mom on Mint four times this summer, and she raved about all of the coffee offerings, but especially the cappuccino and espresso. I, too, enjoyed their coffee, but also delved into the wide assortment of wines they had. They were all fantastic.

Each meal, however, starts with an appetizer, which could range from a croissant to a bowl of fruit. You are allowed to pick three of the entrees off the menu. Each entree is small, but just the right-size to have a few different options. And in reality, I’m sure you could pick a couple more than just three if you were really hungry. The end of the meal comes with a dessert, which ranges from a Milk Bar cookie or ice cream from a local creamery in the area you’re flying out of.

I cannot skim over how amazing the food was. I mean, really. If plane food could be this awesome, always, I would never complain again about the dry, tasteless offerings other airlines usually have. The Mint menus change every month and are curated by local chefs, so you’re really getting the real deal. The rest of the summer, some of my intern friends and I always joked around about how we could use our standby benefits to fly Mint and back somewhere, just to have a free place to sleep and eat. In reality, one of my friends and I did exactly that at the end of the summer. We flew to Seattle after work and hopped on the flight right back to New York, just because we could.

…and here’s me and my friend Reed flying Seattle and back. Just to get Mint.

Throughout the flight, the crewmembers are so friendly and helpful. I made some great personal connections with a few of them this summer. They are truly there to provide you the most elevated and luxurious service. And with so much going on, the flight feels much shorter than you want it to. You’ll wake up from your nap under your snuggly comforter never wanting to leave, thinking that maybe Mint IS the destination, after all.

Of course, I would never have been able to afford all of these flights without working for the airline and getting to experience Mint for free. However, if you’re in the mood to treat yourself and you have the option to fly Mint on your next vacation, there really is no better way to fly domestically.


All-Inclusive Cancun

JET Summer Interns forever!

The summer was coming to a close, and my intern friends and I wanted to pick one last destination to fly to. I spent my weekends spent all over the place—from Puerto Rico to San Diego, from New Mexico to St. Maarten. But as a final group trip, we really wanted to visit another tropical destination.

We chose Cancun as it was an easy, four-hour flight, and we wanted the all-inclusive experience, which I had never done before. It sounded more than ideal to pay an upfront cost and to have all meals, lodging, and amenities included. If you’re on a time crunch and on a budget, you can totally manage to enjoy the craze of Cancun in its entirety! Here is a breakdown of everything we did during our epic final adventure.

Itinerary at a glance

Saturday, August 10th

  • JFK – CUN 7:20AM-11:38AM
  • Day 1 Resort
  • Dinner at Porfirio’s

Sunday, August 11th

  • Day 2 Resort
  • CUN – JFK 1:00PM – 4:40PM

Picking an all-inclusive resort can be overwhelming, especially in a place such as Cancun that is known for its endless amenities. In fact, Cancun has (& what is formally known as) “The Hotel Zone,” which is the strip of land that spans for miles of hotels and resorts on end. Realistically, we were only going to be spending one night in a resort, so we wanted to make sure that this resort was safe and had all of the amenities we needed at a fair price. We settled on the Occidental Costa Cancun, a 4-star hotel located 30 minutes fom the airport. In the end, the rates were super fair. There were four of us on this trip, so we split a room with two double beds. Each of us paid $130, which felt extremely justified as it included unlimited meals and drinks, access to the beach and pools, entertainment, and more.

The hotel itself was very clean and had a fun, tropical vibe to it. There was a nice mix of families, couples, and young travelers, such as my group. While we opted for the cheapest room, there were definitely options to upgrade for a more luxury experience. We arrived at the Occidental a couple hours earlier than check-in, but the staff were very accommodating and allowed us to store our bags upfront until our room was ready. We visited the first bar, which was located next to the check-in counter, and celebrated with a delicious piña colada. As a general note, I would make sure to bring some sort of cash (can be USD) with you, as the employees are very friendly and deserve tips for providing excellent service!

Next, we changed into our bathing suits and spent the next couple of hours at the beach. There was a beachside bar, and plenty of chairs and towels available. The beach itself was relaxing and picturesque, with stretches of white sand and turquoise water. However, we did notice that there were patches of brown seaweed in the water. Apparently, this happens in Cancun during “sargassum season,” which runs from April to August. Depending on the type of day, the seaweed wasn’t too bothersome, as resort employees did attempt to clean it up periodically. This is just a heads up if you will be traveling to Cancun during these months! Again, I wasn’t too affected by it, but I did prefer being in the water in Puerto Rico and St. Maarten for this reason.

While our room was eventually ready, we wanted to spend as much time in the sun as possible. Once the sun started to set, we headed back to the room where we quickly showered and decided to make our next move. The dinner tonight at the resort was barbecue-style. However, one of my friends is vegetarian, and she asked if we would be willing to leave the resort and have dinner somewhere else instead. We were all down to explore more of Cancun than just the resort, so we took a very cheap Uber to the restaurant called Porfirio’s.

I assumed we were going to a no-frills Mexican restaurant with cheap eats, so my hair was still soaking wet from my shower, and I was wearing my college t-shirt and athletic shorts. When we got dropped off at the restaurant, I immediately knew that I made a mistake. The restaurant was gorgeous, with beautiful dimmed light fixtures and glass tables. We had a table outside looking over the water, which was even more stunning than the interior. There were about ten different waiters waiting to serve us. I wished that I had known how fancy the restaurant was going to be, or I wouldn’t have shown up in what I was wearing!

After living in New York City all summer, I was nervous at how expensive dinner was going to be. The menu at Porfirio’s was extremely vast and was entirely in pesos. But after doing some calculations, the dishes were surprisingly inexpensive. I ordered a margarita and a squid dish, which were delicious AND under $20 total. For how classy and elegant the restaurant was, I was more than ecstatic that we were able to dine on a budget. It was a phenomenal experience as we watched the sun set, and we had about eight waiters tend to us the entire night.

During our car ride back to the resort, we passed by a ton of nightlife and shopping areas. Although we didn’t have time to experience anything else while we were in Cancun, I could tell that these were popular areas for tourists.

Day 2 was more like a half-day, as our flight was at 1PM. We wanted to take advantage of all the resort had to offer, so we spent an early morning at the beach, eating at the restaurant at the resort and having a bite to eat later at the snack bar. The food at the resort was decent, and there were lots of great options to choose from. And soon enough, it was time to pack up all our belongings and head back to the airport.

Although our vacation was extremely short-lived, I had a great time in Cancun. I would definitely visit again, as the all-inclusive resorts made for quite an affordable tropical vacation. Next time, I would love to spend more days at the actual resort, but we were definitely able to get a quick taste of the Cancun life.

Eight Hours in Nantucket

I flew to 12 different cities in 10 weeks…and in each trip I took this summer, I spent no longer than 48 hours in one place. Once, I flew from the East Coast to the West Coast, only to spend a grand total of 15 minutes in the airport, and then I just hopped on a plane right back home. Through these crazy experiences, I fell deeper in love with aviation and travel, quickly learning that this is absolutely the right career path for me. It’s all because I said yes to everything, living and appreciating every single moment.

While I didn’t blog this summer, I now want to use my blog as a platform to highlight each trip to show how you can maximize your travel experience in less than 48 hours.

The first trip I took to was a Sunday day trip to Nantucket. A quaint island off the coast of Massachusetts, its extremely short flight of just 40 minutes from JFK made it an extremely desirable day-trip option. Nantucket is a difficult island to get to, as it costs $400 to drive your car to the island. Alternatively, you can take a ferry from Boston that takes about four hours. However, JetBlue had just expanded their seasonal summer service from JFK to Nantucket, and since it was still the beginning of the summer, there were plenty of empty seats on both routes.

Sunday, June 9

The flight was scheduled to depart bright and early at 7:10A.M. Peter and I both lived in the city, so we split a Lyft to the airport. Since it was Sunday AND not even 6A.M., we got to the airport in just 25 minutes. The city felt like a ghost town at this hour.

The plane was relatively empty, so Peter and I were able to score two ‘Even More Space’ seats together in the front. The plane, an E190, was older, but was super comfortable and provided tons of legroom. Even on such a short flight, the inflight crewmembers provided full service with our famous unlimited snacks and drinks. If you ever fly JetBlue, please try the Popcorners. I unapologetically take at least three extra bags of them on each flight.

I blinked, and somehow we had already landed. The airport was the smallest airport I had ever been to—it felt like I was in a cute beach house instead of a terminal. Peter and I took an Uber (no Lyft here) to the downtown area, which took about 15 minutes. It was only 8A.M., so there really was nothing going on in the town. We each got an Americano and just started walking around. Eventually, we found our way to one of the famous lighthouses, Brant Point Lighthouse. Built in 1746, it was small and had that old-time charm to it. We saw many boats come in and out of the port. Since it was still very early in the morning, the weather was just barely above 60 degrees. However, it felt really nice; the sun was shining down, and it was the perfect weather for just a tank top, jeans, and sandals. The beach was also quaint and beautiful.

Afterwards, we walked through the close-by neighborhood and admired the different houses. We made our way back to downtown Nantucket, where we continued to explore the area. At around 11A.M., we got brunch at this restaurant with gorgeous outdoor patio called Or, the Whale. I opted for a classic—the lobster roll with a side salad. The meal was delicious. I couldn’t leave Nantucket without trying this Northern staple.

Since it was Sunday morning, Nantucket felt slow-paced, as people were gradually rolling out of church. But I enjoyed how peaceful it was compared to the hustle and bustle of New York City. We walked through more neighborhoods, got some ice cream at Jack + Charlie’s, and just as a whole appreciated the historic feel of the buildings.

We then took an Uber back to the airport and made it to our 4:40P.M. flight home. Since the airport was so small, we boarded the aircraft while being outside on the tarmac. I snapped this picture of myself with the plane, where I was happy that my first trip was a success. I started small with Nantucket my first weekend, and it gave me the confidence to keep on using my travel benefits to the fullest for the rest of the summer.