What to Know Before Flying JetBlue, According to Passenger Reviews
JetBlue disrupted the airline industry when it debuted in 1999 with an egalitarian model where all its planes only featured economy seats. Since then, JetBlue has grown into the seventh-largest airline in North America, carrying over 35 million passengers a year to around 100 cities on more than 900 daily flights.
Although JetBlue's routes are mostly in North America, this year, the carrier made news by launching its first transatlantic flights from New York to London. It's flying new Airbus A321LR jets on the route, complete with swanky, next-generation Mint business-class suites aboard. So if you haven't flown the airline in a while, now might just be the time to take another look at this upstart with heart.
JetBlue sells tickets in five main fare classes, ranging from barebones basic economy all the way up to full-service business class.
Frugal fliers can find significant savings booking JetBlue's first fare tier: Blue Basic. While you'll save money on the ticket itself, expect to pay extra for:
- Carry-on bags (personal items only)
- Checked bags
- Changes and cancellations
- Advance seat selection
You also board last and earn just a single TrueBlue point per dollar (as opposed to three on all other fares).
You might not miss the frills, though, according to Tripadvisor user islmty, who said, "I purchased the most basic and cheapest ticket – no check-in luggage, no extra leg space, meals, etc. Considering the price, I can say the service was excellent."
JetBlue's term for regular economy tickets, Blue fliers can bring a carry-on bag and personal item aboard for free, enjoy waived change and cancellation fees (except for same-day switches) on tickets, choose some seats in advance for free, and board in the general group. They still have to pay extra for checked bags, though, except for one suitcase on flights to London.
The main difference between this fare class and Blue is that you get a checked bag included.
Want a few more perks? Consider booking a Blue Extra ticket. In addition to the Blue benefits, you can standby or switch to another flight on the same day without paying a fee, choose from even more seats in advance, and board early. Believe it or not, you'll still have to pay for checked bags (except for one on flights to London). At select airports, Blue Plus customers might also be able to take advantage of the airline's Even More Speed priority check-in and security service.
The airline offers its flagship Mint business class seats and service on some of its longer routes, including transcontinental flights and some to the Caribbean. If you purchase one of these tickets, count on the perks listed above, plus a first shot at boarding and two checked bags for free.
As you can imagine, Mint fares are much more expensive than economy ones, but the upcharge is worth it, according to Tripadvisor commenter Lynn C, who calls it, "A top-rate experience….Service, food, and experience was similar to top-rated international carriers."
Even More Space
Not quite a fare class in and of itself, you can purchase an upgrade to this experience, which includes more legroom in coach and expedited check-in, security, and boarding.
The higher price is well worth it, according to Tripadvisor contributor Laura C, who paid $65 for an Even More Space place and summed up the experience this way: "Once you pay the additional fee, you get a bigger seat, priority boarding, and sit in the front of the plane."
Change and Cancellation Policies
Like many other airlines, JetBlue relaxed its change and cancellation policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of June 8, 2021, the airline has eliminated change and cancellation fees for most fares, except Blue Basic.
For routes in the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America, Blue Basic fliers will be charged a $100 change or cancellation fee, and $200 on other routes.
Those with Blue, Blue Extra, Blue Plus, or Mint tickets will not be charged to change or cancel their flights, but will have to pay any applicable fare difference. Instead of a refund, though, you will typically receive a credit toward a future trip, which might be harder to use than it sounds according to Tripadvisor contributor Joe K. "I recently had to cancel a trip…," he writes, "JetBlue said no charge for changes. I got a confirmation of cancellation. After no refund showing up on my credit card I noticed that my refund had gone to something called a Travel Bank. I've tried for several hours to open and then access my Travel Bank….They've made it exceedingly difficult in order to (my opinion) so they can hold onto my money longer."
If you want to standby or switch to another flight on the same day, you will be charged $75 unless you have Mosaic elite status, or you purchased a Blue Extra fare, though there will be no fare difference to pay.
Baggage Policies and Fees
If you're just carrying on, you can bring your bag for free with fares in Blue class and up. If you booked one of those Blue Basic fares, though, expect to pay $65 each for your first two bags and $180 for a third checked at the gate.
Of course, sometimes you need to bring along more than a small carry-on suitcase. Within the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean, Blue Basic, Blue, and Blue Extra passengers will be charged $35 for a first checked bag and $45 for a second. Purchase a Blue Plus fare and you get the first checked bag free, but pay $45 for the second. Mint passengers get two checked bags of up to 70 lbs each for free.
The airline's Mosaic elite customers and those with the JetBlue Plus credit card get a carry-on and checked bag free with all fares. So do travelers to and from London (except Blue Basic fliers unless they purchase an upgrade to an Even More Space seat).
While these fees are pretty standard nowadays, they still caught Tripadvisor user James L off balance. "$35 a bag is expensive," he writes. "That's $350 we paid just in baggage fees as a family of five for our round trip. Why not cap baggage charges for larger families?"
JetBlue was among the first airlines to return to a grouped, pre-pandemic boarding order. Here's how the process plays out.
- Pre-boarding for customers with disabilities
- Mosaic and Mint (business class) customers
- Even More Space customers (Group A)
- Active military and those flying with small children
- Group B (main cabin)
- Group C (main cabin)
- Group D (main cabin)
- Group E (except for the airline's smaller jets)
- All remaining passengers
If that sounds well regimented, Tripadvisor user Jason claims that on his recent JetBlue flights, "Boarding is always haphazard." So get in line early.
Seats and Legroom
Given its relatively limited route map (compared to the major legacy carriers like American Airlines and Delta, at least), JetBlue only flies nine different types of jets. It might seem like even fewer from the passenger experience perspective, though, since some of them are essentially the same aircraft but with different configurations. In general, you'll be flying an Airbus A220, A320, or A321, or an Embraer E190.
JetBlue is known for having some of the roomiest coach seats around. Depending on the type of plane you're on, your seat will be 17.8-18.4 inches wide, with 32-34 inches of pitch. On Airbus A320s and A321s, seats are laid out in a 3 – 3 pattern, while on Embraers, they're 2 – 2, and on Airbus A220's, they're 2 – 3.
According to Tripadvisor user and JetBlue enthusiast Micaelah B, "I fly all the time and have tried most basic economy airlines, and consistently JetBlue has been my favorite…always the most legroom and comfortable seats – by far!"
Even More Space
Located at the front of the economy cabin, Even More Space seats cost extra, but get you up to seven extra inches of legroom for around 35-41 inches of pitch, depending on the plane.
JetBlue recently introduced Mint Suite and Studio seats on its newest planes, but still flies the older version on most of the jets that feature this business-class installation.
The original Mint seats are laid out in alternating rows of 2 – 2 and 1 – 1, where the individual seats have sliding doors for privacy. Each is around 20.5 inches wide with 58 inches of pitch, and reclines to an 80-inch lie-flat bed.
JetBlue designed and installed all-new Mint Suites and Mint Studios aboard some of its next-generation Airbus A321neos and A321LRs, which it has just started taking delivery of and flying both transatlantic and transcontinentally.
The Studios are each fully-enclosed seats (with sliding doors) that are angled inward toward the aisle, and recline to full lie-flat beds. There are just two Suites aboard the planes that have them, comprising the first row of the cabin. These palatial fixtures even have an extra seating area if you want a guest to come visit during your flight. Both Mint Studios and Suites are laid out in a 1 – 1 pattern, so no neighbors to clamber over on your way to the lavatory.
Tripadvisor commenter alansdonahue claims, "JetBlue Mint is the most luxurious way to fly from JFK to LAX. The Mint sleeper seats are as comfortable and spacious as business class to Europe."
Food and Beverage
JetBlue is currently offering a "streamlined" selection of snacks and drinks, but is usually among the top customer picks for onboard eats thanks to complimentary nibbles.
Passengers in coach can enjoy a selection of free packaged snacks like Cheez-Its and PopCorners as well as complimentary drinks including sodas, juices, water, and Dunkin' coffees and teas. On a recent flight from Philadelphia to Orlando, Tripadvisor commenter Matthew G wrote, "I did appreciate that they were very generous with the snacks and were happy to offer multiple selections to each passenger."
Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase, as are the airline's themed EatUp boxes, including a Mediterranean-inspired one with hummus, olives, and crackers and another with cheese, crackers, and dried cherries. You can also buy fuller cheese plates, sandwiches, and salads. Reviews of the paid offerings are mixed, but recent passenger Heather R. wrote on Tripadvisor, "Got hungry on the way back home so purchased a turkey sandwich for $12.00. Price was high, but the quality was pretty good."
If you're flying Mint, you can expect a much higher-end meal and drinks service with a selection of small plates to choose from, courtesy of Delicious Hospitality Group. The offerings vary by route and schedule.
Cocktails might include the signature Mint Condition, with Bombay Sapphire gin or Tito's vodka, ginger, lime, cucumber, and mint, and they offer various wines curated by the folks at Parcelle. Recent dishes have included burrata with zucchini, pine nuts, basil, and mint or sea trout with cannellini bean puree, roasted tomatoes, and garlic breadcrumbs. Consult the airline's menus before your flight to plot your courses.
JetBlue flier Travis said on Tripadvisor, "The food service was great with many menu choices. You could pick three main entrees! I chose the chicken curry, beef filet, and truffle ravioli. All three were delicious!"
Amenities and Entertainment
Although it might not have the global reach of some of its competitors, JetBlue leaves them in the dust when it comes to in-flight connectivity and comfort.
First and foremost, the airline is a pioneer in in-flight Wi-Fi. JetBlue offers high-speed service for free "at every seat, on every plane," though you'll get the best service on its new and refurbished A320s and A321s.
JetBlue also offers seatback entertainment screens at every seat. Though they're just under seven inches wide on the Embraers, they're more like 10 inches on the A320s and A321s, and even larger in Mint (up to 22 inches in that Mint Suite). Passengers can watch live TV or a selection of television shows and movies, listen to music, play games, and more.
According to Tripadvisor reviewer Sarni, "The free high-speed internet was great. The entertainment on offer was amazing with Direct TV and so many choices!"
All the airline's Airbus planes should feature USB ports at each seat and power plugs at every seat, or two for every three. But be sure to check the specific arrangement on your aircraft when booking.
Finally, though coach passengers can't expect much in the way of pillows or blankets these days, if you're flying Mint, you'll be treated to Tuft & Needle bedding, Master & Dynamic noise-isolating headphones, and amenity kits curated by wellness brand Wanderfuel.
JetBlue Credit Cards
JetBlue fields a handful of co-branded credit cards. If you fly the airline a lot, it could be worth carrying one of them to earn even more points on your travels, and to enjoy special perks and discounts. Here are the details on the two personal cards.
The JetBlue Card is currently offering 10,000 bonus points after making $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days. Cardholders earn an extra three points per dollar on JetBlue purchases, and two points per dollar at restaurants and grocery stores, as well as getting a 50% discount on in-flight cocktail and food purchases. There's no annual fee.
Opt for the JetBlue Plus Card instead, and you could earn up to 60,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. The card earns six points per dollar on JetBlue purchases, and two points per dollar at restaurants and grocery stores. Cardholders get 50% off in-flight cocktails and food purchases and a 5,000-point anniversary bonus each year, among other benefits. The annual fee is $95.