I flew American Airlines to Europe for the first time during the pandemic and found it’s back to normal with bad food, uncomfortable seats, and free alcohol

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

  • American Airlines is one of four US carriers flying overseas to Europe and has recently started increasing services as more countries open to American tourists.
  • Transatlantic flights are pretty much back to normal, besides having to wear a mask.
  • Hot meals and alcohol are once again served in all cabins including economy class.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
American Airlines is one of the leading US carriers flying between the US and Europe, especially from its international gateway in New York.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

The summer before the pandemic saw American fly to 23 European destinations from the US. Fast forward to the summer of 2021, however, and that number stood at 11 as American wasn’t as quick to rebuild in Europe following its reopening.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic.

Source: Cirium

But even still, American has maintained service to core cities like London; Madrid; and Rome, while opening new routes including New York-Athens.

Athens
Athens, Greece.

Read More: American and JetBlue just unveiled a new partnership with 33 new routes combined— here’s what it means for travelers

And American has proved to be an inexpensive option when crossing the pond, as I found when planning a recent work trip to Doha, Qatar with flights on American, British Airways, and Qatar Airways.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic.

Read More: Gulfstream just debuted its new $75 million ultra-long-range plane that’s also the world’s largest purpose-built private jet: Meet the G700

I flew American Airlines from New York to Madrid during the summer of vaccinated travel. Here’s what it was like.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

Read More: I booked a flight on American Airlines despite the airline canceling thousands of flights this summer – here’s how I’m preparing for the worst

After recent bad experiences on American, I was a bit nervous to fly the carrier overseas. I made sure to do extra research on backup options in case something went wrong, and even arrived at the airport four hours early.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

Read More: I was stranded in Bogotá airport for 10 hours and it taught me the true value of credit card perks and not taking no for an answer

But having flown American internationally earlier in the summer, I knew how to prepare. The first step was to download Verifly, American’s preferred health passport service that speeds along airport check-in and document verification.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

I submitted all my required documentation and got the green light. As a result, check-in at the airport was less painful than expected as I was able to use a self-serve kiosk to get my boarding pass.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

For those checking a bag, though, there was a bit of a line, as is usually the case in international terminals. I was glad to have only brought a carry-on.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

I was instantly relieved once I had my boarding pass and headed straight to the gate with only a minimal line at security. I felt silly having arrived four hours before departure but as the old saying goes, better safe than sorry.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

One benefit of flying out of American’s Terminal 8 at John F. Kennedy International Airport is that Bobby Van’s Steakhouse is open, and Priority Pass members through Chase can get a free meal. I had the burger and it was delicious.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

Read More: I used a credit perk to dine for nearly free at an airport restaurant and it’s my new favorite travel hack

The rest of the concourse was quiet as I arrived before the bulk of the evening overseas departures. Even still, there were shops and restaurants open for business in a good sign for the industry.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

I headed straight to the gate after lunch and got my first glimpse at the aircraft taking us to Spain, the mighty Boeing 777-200. American now only flies Boeing 777 aircraft between New York and Europe in a win for business class and first class customers that get to enjoy the airline’s best premium cabin products.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

Pandemic-era safety measures including social distancing floor placards and plexiglass portions at the gate counter were still on display.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

Boarding began around 45 minutes prior to departure in American’s standard group boarding procedure. Most US airlines have abandoned back-to-front boarding.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

American’s Boeing 777-200 aircraft seat 273 passengers across three cabins, with classes of service including business, premium economy, and economy.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

Source: SeatGuru

In economy, seats are arranged in a 10-abreast, 3-4-3 configuration that’s standard for most airlines flying the 777.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

Seat pitch in economy is between 31 and 32 inches, according to SeatGuru, while seat width is a standard 17 inches.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

Source: SeatGuru

I booked this flight quite late and there weren’t too many seats from which to choose that didn’t require paying an extra fee. American isn’t alone in the practice of charging for advance seat assignments on long-haul flights but I despise the practice as these tickets are expensive enough as it is.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

But to American’s credit, there were a good showing of complimentary aisle and window seats towards the back of the plane from which to select.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

And to my surprise, the most unique seats in economy were available for selection. The last three rows on this aircraft are arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration meaning there are six two-seat pairs.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

I thought I had lucked out by selecting one of them but my excitement was short-lived. Simply put, these seats were not the most comfortable for a larger traveler.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

The small width didn’t help and I felt like I was taking up part of the seat next to me.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

One thing that could’ve helped was if the armrest for the window seat was moveable, but it was fixed in place. I was so close to the seat in front of me that my tray table couldn’t even lay flat (a problem I didn’t have on the other carriers on which I flew during this trip).

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

My top concern was having enough room once my seat neighbor arrived. But I lucked out and had both seats to myself as nobody showed up to claim the other.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic.

There was a gap between the seat and the cabin wall which offered some additional legroom and a place to store the pillow and blanket kit left on the seat.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

American is quite generous with seat features on its wide-body aircraft. Each seat has an 8.9-inch in-flight entertainment screen with a variety of movies, television shows, games, and music.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

The moving map proved handy during the flight to keep track of our location.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

A tethered remote is also available to control the system and act as a game controller or keyboard for the seat-to-seat chat function. It also comes in handy when scrolling through content since the touch functionality is quite poor in that regard.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

In-flight WiFi is also available on the aircraft for a price. And for those using devices during the flight, in-seat power is offered through USB charging ports and 110v C power outlets at seats.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

The rest of the aircraft was quite full, which surprised me as it was quite late in the season for transatlantic travel. Some passengers were visiting family and friends while others were starting their study abroad term.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

Bad weather in New York wreaked a bit of havoc on the airport but we weren’t overly affected. I was quite relieved that our departure was pretty close to on time as I had a connection to make in Madrid.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

The storm did, however, make for some great views as we blasted out of New York.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

Madrid is quite a short flight from New York and while I wanted to go straight to sleep, I did want to see what the meal service was like. This was the first time I’d had a hot meal on American during the pandemic.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

As I waited for the service to begin, I had a look at what was on offer in the movie department. American had quite a good selection in all categories, and I ultimately picked “The Vault.”

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

First attendants started the drink service first with a selection of soft drinks, juices, wine, and beer. Alcohol isn’t currently served in economy on American’s domestic flights but it flows freely on transatlantic hops.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

I ordered a club soda along with some red wine to help ease my sleep after the meal.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

Next came the meal service as flight attendants quickly passed out the trays. I felt like I was being served in a cafeteria as one flight attendant curtly asked, “chicken or pasta?”

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

I unwrapped the entree to find that not much has changed at all when it comes to American’s economy catering. The chicken dish was accompanied by a side salad, cheese and crackers, and a cinnamon dessert bar.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

I couldn’t describe the chicken beyond that it was served in a tomato-based sauce. I enjoyed the sides more than the main and was glad I had the burger at Bobby Van’s before the flight. Next time, I think I’ll head straight to sleep.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

Flight attendants were very quick to complete the meal service, though, and got it done in under an hour and a half. The flight to Madrid is only six hours and 30 minutes so every second counts.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

Ready for bed with a full stomach, I used the pillow and blanket that American had left on the seat and did my best to get comfortable.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

Another downside of the two-seat row is that there’s a gap between the seat and window, making propping a pillow up against the cabin wall near-impossible.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

But even then, it wasn’t too difficult to get to sleep and I woke just before breakfast was served.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

Flight attendants once more came around to serve drinks first, followed by a pre-packaged cold breakfast.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

On offer for the optimistic morning meal included Chobani strawberry yogurt, a raspberry fig bar, and coconut cashew granola. All in all, it was quite standard but still enjoyable.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

The flight to Madrid was nearing its end and I can’t say I was upset to see it go. American did a great job of getting me to Spain on time but the in-flight experience was exactly what I expected it to be.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

I did appreciate the modernity of the aircraft and the efficiency of the crew but there wasn’t anything memorable about this flight.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

Besides having to wear a mask, though, I’d say that American is back to normal on these flights, for better or worse.

Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic - American Airlines New York-Madrid Flight 2021
Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic.

Read the original article on Business Insider

JetBlue just began flying between New York and London with the smallest plane of any airline on the route – here’s why I’m eager to book it again

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

  • JetBlue Airways just began flying between New York and London with one of Airbus’ newest jets.
  • The Airbus A321neoLR is the next-generation variant of the popular A321 and is capable of flying transatlantic flights.
  • JetBlue has packed the aircraft full of customer-friendly features that take away from the fact that the aircraft is smaller than what competitors use.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
JetBlue Airways began flying between New York and London in August, bringing its low fares to Europe for the first time.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Read More: I flew on JetBlue’s historic first trip to London and saw how low fares and great service will give competitors a run for their money

Introductory fares on the route started at $599 round-trip for economy class and $1,979 for Mint business class.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

One way the airline is keeping prices low is by flying smaller aircraft across the pond.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

JetBlue chose the Airbus A321neoLR for its European flights and is currently the only airline to fly a single-aisle aircraft between New York and London.

JetBlue Airways taking delivery of its first Airbus A321neoLR
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neoLR.

The trend is becoming more common as airlines try to lower costs on lucrative transatlantic flights, and manufacturers like Airbus are accommodating by making the planes fly further than ever before.

Airbus A321neo

Read More: Double-decker planes are going extinct as Airbus and Boeing discontinue their largest models. Here’s why airlines are abandoning 4-engine jets.

Some frequent flyers, including myself, dread the idea of having to fly on a single-aisle plane across an ocean. But after two flights on the aircraft, I was more than happy with the experience and enjoyed flying on it more than some larger aircraft.

A JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Here’s why I’d book another flight on a JetBlue Airbus A321neoLR when flying transatlantic.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Insider paid a media rate to fly from New York to London and back

As a New Yorker, I’ve taken countless JetBlue flights in my flying career and have seen how quickly the airline has improved its onboard product in recent years. Those improvements culminated in the Airbus A321neoLR, flying exclusively between New York and London.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

JetBlue’s latest seat products and satellite WiFi can be found on the aircraft, as well as other features like the JetBlue “pantry.”

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

I specifically book a standard economy seat for the overnight flight to London in seat 24A.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

I sat down in the seat and felt surprisingly at ease. It felt like just another flight on JetBlue, an airline on which I’d become incredibly comfortable flying.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Read More: I flew on a newly upgraded JetBlue plane and despite less legroom and slimmer seats, the refresh is exactly what the airline needed

JetBlue offers 32 inches of legroom in these seats as well as 18.4 inches of width.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

For a larger traveler like myself, the extra room made a world of difference. I didn’t feel hemmed in or struggling to find a comfortable position.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Those dimensions make JetBlue’s seats more spacious than all of its competitors on the route, despite the smaller plane.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

American Airlines offers between 31 and 32 inches of seat pitch for its economy seats on the Boeing 777-300ER, according to SeatGuru, while seat widths range between 16.2 and 17.1 inches.

American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER
An American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER.

Source: SeatGuru

British Airways’ Boeing 777-200 aircraft offers 31 inches of pitch and 17.5 inches of seat width in economy, according to SeatGuru.

British Airways Boeing 777
A British Airways Boeing 777.

Source: SeatGuru

Delta Air Lines’ Boeing 767-400ER aircraft offer 31 inches of pitch and a nearly comparable 18.1 inches of width, according to SeatGuru.

Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-400
A Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-400.

Source: SeatGuru

Virgin Atlantic Airways offers between 31 and 34 inches of pitch on its Airbus A350-1000 XWB aircraft in economy, according to SeatGuru, with a seat width of 17.4 inches.

Virgin Atlantic Airways Airbus A350
A Virgin Atlantic Airways Airbus A350-900 XWB.

Source: SeatGuru

United Airlines offers the closest rival on its premium-configured Boeing 767-300ER with seat pitches varying between 31 and 34 inches for economy seats and 18.5 inches of pitch, according to SeatGuru. The 34-inch pitch seats are paid, extra-legroom “Economy Plus” seats.

United Airlines Boeing 767-300ER
A United Airlines Boeing 767-300ER.

JetBlue’s spacious seats are accompanied by a low-density configuration of only 138 seats across 31 rows. In economy, you can see from the first row all the way to the last with no dividers in between.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

American, by comparison, has 216 economy seats alone on its Boeing 777-300ER flying between New York and London.

American Airlines
American Airlines Boeing 777 at New York JFK airport before boarding passengers.

The only other airline flying planes with fewer passengers between New York and Europe is French boutique airline La Compagnie.

Onboard La Compagnie's Airbus A321neo - La Compagnie Airbus A321neo Tour
A La Compagnie Airbus A321neo.

Read More: I toured La Compagnie, the all-business class airline flying between the US and France. It’s the closest thing to flying private across the Atlantic.

Having fewer seats means it takes less time to board and deplane the aircraft. It might even take less time to board and deplane than JetBlue’s other aircraft that have more seats.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Personally, having fewer people onboard made it feel like there was a lot less hassle during boarding and deplaning. Flying to London felt no different than if I was flying down to Florida, and it made the overall experience a lot less stressful.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Beyond its impressive spaciousness, the economy seat itself had all the usual trimmings for a transatlantic product a 10.1-inch in-flight entertainment screen with a USB charging port, 110v AC power outlet, and adjustable headrest.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Also on display during boarding was the Airbus Airspace cabin found on its newest jets. Mood lighting welcomes passengers onboard with LED lights above giving the impression of a starry night.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Economy seats are configured in a standard 3-3 configuration with an equal number of aisle, window, and middle seats.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

It didn’t take long to get everybody onboard and ready for the seven-hour crossing. We would’ve departed right on time had it not been for bad weather in the area that prevented us from pushing back from the gate.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

But once we got underway, it was smooth sailing to London. The A321neoLR handled what little turbulence we experienced quite well.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Flight attendants walked up and down the aisle to perform the in-flight service, just like a normal flight. It took a bit longer than it should have but that was chalked up to it being the very first flight.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

One cool feature of JetBlue’s transatlantic product is that customers can order their meals from the in-flight entertainment system.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

I quickly fell asleep and woke up over Ireland in time for breakfast with only around an hour left in the flight.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

The fuel-efficient Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan engines also make the cabin incredibly quiet and conducive to uninterrupted sleep.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

The flight ended, as all do, and I was thinking more about how happy I was in London than the fact that I flew across the Atlantic in a single-aisle plane.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

I flew back to New York just a few days later on the very same aircraft. The only difference was that this time, I was in business class.

A JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

JetBlue rolled out a brand-new Mint business class seat for this aircraft to give flyers maximum privacy and exclusivity.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Read More: I flew JetBlue’s new London to New York route in Mint business class. It’s a premium leisure traveler’s dream but some kinks need to be ironed out.

Business class seats are arranged in a 1-1 configuration across 12 rows, taking up nearly half of the aircraft.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Each seat offers direct aisle access and has closing doors for additional privacy.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

There were even fewer passengers on this flight so boarding took less than 30 minutes and we were quickly on our way to New York.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

The flight time was also around seven hours for this leg thanks to favorable winds. What the A321neoLR lacks in speed, however, JetBlue makes up for in the in-flight service.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

A three-course meal was served for lunch, accompanied by multiple pre-landing snacks.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

And for those still hungry, the JetBlue “pantry” is available on the aircraft where passengers can take whatever snacks and beverages they like.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Besides the extra flight duration, I could hardly tell the difference or care that I was on a smaller plane.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Americans rushed to Canada when it first opened but crossing data shows the Great White North has lost its allure – and businesses on the border are most impacted

US-Canada border
The US-Canada border in Derby Line, Vermont.

  • Americans flocked across the US-Canada border after its reopening to vaccinated US tourists.
  • Crossings have since dropped given strict requirements and the end of the summer travel season.
  • Canadian businesses haven’t been able to capitalize on the border reopening as leaders had hoped.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Canadians expecting a tsunami of US visitors once the border reopened were disappointed to find that Americans had other travel plans.

The US-Canada border finally opened to vaccinated American travelers on August 2, allowing US tourists to visit the Great White North for the first time since March 2021.

Eager Americans flocked to the country and wait times at the border totaled seven hours in some locations.

Canada’s newly-reopened border drew around 219,000 non-commercial crossings, according to Canada Border Services Agency crossing data viewed by the Wall Street Journal, in its first week. The high point for 2021 was around 15% of summer 2019’s crossing levels.

But crossings dropped as summer came to a close, and businesses in border towns are still without the American customers on which they rely.

That’s because the Canadian border isn’t as easy to cross as it once was. Gone are the days when just the flash of a passport and a few questions from a border guard would grant entry into Canada.

Vaccinated American citizens looking to travel north need a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 72 hours from a flight’s scheduled departure or arrival at a land border crossing. Travelers that have recently recovered COVID-19 can show a positive test from between 14 and 180 days prior to entry.

Antigen tests are not accepted to enter Canada, as they are to enter other countries such as the UK. Unvaccinated travelers or those within 14 days from their final vaccine dose are also not allowed to enter Canada.

And before arriving in Canada – whether by air, land, or sea – travelers must have completed an online form called “ArriveCan.” Its requirements include providing an address in Canada at which visitors could quarantine should they test positive and providing the exact dates of a traveler’s vaccination.

Upon arrival at the border, CBSA personnel now perform a question-based health screening to each arrival, increasing crossing times.

Business leaders cite the restrictions as the reason for a reduction in casual crossings.

“In the past, you’d have people who just crossed the border for dinner and then drove back home,” Ritu Khanna, executive director of the South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce in Canada’s British Columbia province, told the Wall Street Journal. “Now, the feeling is, people are coming cautiously, still, because there are so many requirements.”

Foreign visitors to the country arriving by air rose by 67%, the Journal reported, but those travelers typically bypass border cities altogether and land directly in Canada’s major cities.

Not all businesses have felt the squeeze as one eco-lodge operator in Manitoba has been reporting an increase in customers since the reopening announcement. Adam Pauls of Churchill Wild told the Journal that foreign visitors are the reason his business is booked to capacity from mid-September, albeit with the business operating at limited capacity due to government restrictions.

The US is also contributing to the problem as Canadians have less of a reason to pass through their own border cities. Canadians are not allowed to cross the land border for non-essential reasons through at least September 21, as part of the ongoing border closure that the Biden administration is keeping in place.

Air travel into the US remains unrestricted and Canadians can fly into the US for non-essential reasons. Some businesses near the border have adapted, including a helicopter company that flies tourists from St. Catherines, Ontario near Niagara Falls to Buffalo, New York to avoid border restrictions.

Canada is expanding entry to all other fully vaccinated foreign nationals on September 7, which may give businesses more of a boost. But with the summer coming to its official close, seasonal American tourists are becoming a negligible source of revenue for many Canadian businesses.

Read the original article on Business Insider

US officials helped an American citizen and their family escape Afghanistan across an overland route

Afghanistan refugees walking at dawn
Afghanistan refugees walking at dawn.

  • An American citizen and their family fleeing Afghanistan were helped across the border by the US, according to the Associated Press.
  • The group fled the Taliban-controlled country via an “overland” route.
  • Biden administration officials say “around 100” Americans remain in Afghanistan after the US pulled out troops.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Biden administration confirmed that it helped with an American citizen and their family members escape from Afghanistan to a neighboring country using an “overland route,” according to an Associated Press report on Monday.

The evacuation was the first reported time that a US family has been assisted in their escape across a land border since American military planes last left the country on August 30.

The unnamed official wouldn’t give any specific details of the escape route, including the neighboring country in which the evacuees arrived, to protect its viability for future missions, the AP reported.

American embassy officials met the group at the Afghanistan border. An overland evacuation meant the group would’ve arrived at the border on foot or in a vehicle.

Five countries border Afghanistan including Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, and China. The disputed Kashmir region claimed by both India and Pakistan also borders Afghanistan.

America has embassies in all but one of those countries, Iran. Given the tense state of affairs between the US and Iran, it’s likely the overland escape would’ve been carried out to one of the more friendly countries to the US.

A tweet from Rep. Ronny Jackson confirmed that four US citizens from Texas were evacuated, including young children, citing the “first successful ground evacuation since the US left Kabul.”

Airlifting additional US citizens out of Afghanistan has proven difficult following the official end of the US’ presence in the country. Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas on Sunday warned of what he called a “hostage” situation at Mazar-i-Sharif International Airport in northern Afghanistan as six planes were prevented from leaving.

“In fact, we have six airplanes at Mazar-i-Sharif Airport, six airplanes, with American citizens on them as I speak, also with these interpreters, and the Taliban is holding them hostage for demands right now,” McCaul, the Republican leader on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Fox News Sunday.

Also on Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klain told CNN’s “State of the Union” that “around 100” US citizens remain in Afghanistan and that the Biden administration is in touch with all American citizens that have been identified in the country. “We are going to find ways – the ones that want to leave – to get them out of Afghanistan,” Klain said.

It’s not the first time that the US has had to go to extreme measures to get its citizens out of hostile Middle Eastern and South Asian countries. In 1980, the Central Intelligence Agency working with the Canadian government flew American diplomats using assumed identities out of Iran following the 1979 Iran hostage crisis.

Afghan refugees have been fleeing to their country’s borders in attempts to seek asylum in neighboring countries, with the BBC reporting large masses gathering at Afghanistan-Pakistan border crossings. Pakistan and Iran have declined to accept additional Afghan refugees, the British news outlet reported.

The Taliban flag now flies over the Afghanistan border, including at a crossing near Chaman, Pakistan.

Afghanistan-Pakistan border crossing Taliban flag
A Taliban flag flies at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Other Middle Eastern and European countries are taking a hard line on migration across their borders in the wake of the US withdrawal. Turkey is reinforcing its border with Iran using three-meter tall concrete slabs, according to the Guardian, while Greece recently completed a 25-mile wall on its border with Turkey, according to CNN.

And at the border of the European Union in Poland, soldiers have constructed a makeshift border of barb fencing with neighboring Belarus to stop the rising tide of migrants from countries including Afghanistan and Iraq, according to Reuters.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I booked a flight on American Airlines despite the airline canceling thousands of flights this summer – here’s how I’m preparing for the worst

American Airlines
American Airlines Boeing 777 at New York JFK airport before boarding passengers.

  • American Airlines has had a less than stellar track record for reliability this summer.
  • Overscheduling and a lack of flight crews have resulted in thousands of canceled flights.
  • I’m preparing a backup plan and taking additional measures to ensure I don’t get affected when traveling on the airline.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

For many travelers this summer, American Airlines hasn’t been the most reliable airline.

The world’s largest airline prior to the pandemic has canceled thousands of flights since Memorial Day amidst a hasty summer ramp-up that left countless summer travelers in the lurch. A combination of overscheduling and a flight crew shortage left the airline struggling to meet its on-time obligations, especially when bad weather struck.

I personally swore I’d avoid flying American after two canceled flights left me almost stranded in Bogotá, Colombia. But as I soon found, avoiding American wasn’t that easy for a New Yorker flying between two of the airline’s hubs or overseas.

Read More: American will lose its crown as the biggest US airline and could fall behind Delta and United as it struggles to pay off $38 billion in debt

I’m flying the airline from New York to Madrid, Spain on the first leg of a Middle East itinerary. Here’s how I’m prepping to ensure American doesn’t get the best of me again.

Having a backup plan ready

American Airlines reservation line
Calling American’s reservation line.

I’m flying from New York to Doha, Qatar via Madrid with the first leg on American and the second on Qatar Airways. Before I even arrived at the airport, I’ll know exactly what time the next flights to both Madrid and Doha leave New York so that I can move quickly to be rebooked on either should American delay or cancel my flight.

And because American partners with Iberia, British Airways, and Qatar Airways, among other airlines, I’ll have a pretty good shot at getting a seat. But I don’t want to leave my rebooking options in the hands of an agent.

Rather, I’ll know exactly what backup options there are and suggest the flights so that I’m in control. There also happens to be a non-stop flight to Doha leaving just under four hours after my original flight, and if that doesn’t work out then I can try for British Airways through London or Royal Jordanian through Amman, Jordan, among other possibilities.

Planning for the worst, I’ve found, helps hedge against panic and stress in uncontrollable situations. It’s the airline’s job to get me where I need to go but I can help speed that along while keeping my sanity at the same time.

This tip can also be applied when flying any airline during the COVID-19 pandemic. Proper preparation can help ensure success as flight schedules are constantly changing and many airlines have a reduced ability to recover from irregular events such as storms or mechanical troubles.

Staying close to a customer service desk

Trapped in Airport Terminal
An American customer service center in Phoenix.

Having a plan, however, is only the first step. Next comes its execution.

I won’t likely be able to just go on my phone and change my own flights in the event something goes wrong. So when I get to the airport, the first thing I’ll do after going through the security checkpoint and having a bit of lunch at the newly-reopened Priority Pass restaurant in the American terminal is find where the airline’s customer service centers are.

This is where agents can assist with rebooking in the event something goes wrong. And as there’s almost always a long line when flights get canceled, being quick to get there first is essential.

I plan to stay as close as possible before boarding just in case I get the dreaded delay or cancellation notification to which I’ve become accustomed when flying American.

Preemptively calling the airline

American Airlines flight status
Flight options from New York to Doha, Qatar.

Hold times have been markedly longer during the pandemic and calling an airline can now be an all-day affair.

To avoid having to wait on hold, I’ll call American around seven hours before my flight to see what the hold times are like. If they’re greater than say, six hours, I’ll use the callback feature to get in line.

That way, if anything goes wrong with my flight before departure and I can’t get to a customer service center, I’ll have a place in the reservations phone line.

It’s not exactly scientific and requires a bit of luck but it’s a good backup.

And at the very first sign of trouble, I’ll jump on Twitter to send American a direct message since that can be quicker than waiting on hold. The airline also has a chat function on its mobile application that may prove expedient.

Getting to the airport unnecessarily early

Trapped in Airport Terminal
American’s check-in counter in Bogota, Colombia.

I normally like to arrive at the airport around an hour before a flight’s departure so that I can arrive at the gate just as boarding begins. Being enrolled in the TSA PreCheck program allows me to do this.

But as this is an international flight on American, I want to get to the airport at least four hours before departure. Again, it might prove to be unnecessary but better safe than sorry.

I was chatting with a fellow traveler on the first JetBlue Airways flight to London in mid-August who told me that he missed his American flight from New York to Madrid because it took so long to get checked in, even though he arrived early.

It will mean waiting around after security but I’ll have my laptop to get some work done and I can use my credit card perk to get a free meal.

Downloading the Verifly mobile application

Trapped in Airport Terminal
Flying home from Bogota, Colombia on American Airlines.

Verifly is American’s health passport of choice and allows travelers to upload their required documents for international travel. For Spain, all I need to do is scan the QR code from the country’s health control form.

Using Verifly can also be a “skip the line” tool at some of its airports. In Bogotá, American’s check-in counters had dedicated lines for Verifly users, and I’m expecting it to be similar at the airline’s John F. Kennedy International Airport hub in New York.

But even still, I’m still planning to get to the airport earlier than necessary in case there is a wait at check-in.

Learning my credit card benefits

Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card.

Some travel credit cards, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve and American Express Platinum Card, have built-in travel insurance that can be used in the event of delays or cancellations.

My Sapphire Reserve, for example, will allow me to spend $500 on incidentals and other expenses if my flight is delayed more than six hours or requires an overnight stay. I used the perk when taking American in June and it saved me $127 in expenses.

Other perks include baggage delay reimbursement in case I have to check my bag and it gets lost, as well as trip interruption/cancellation insurance in the event I get sick or there’s bad weather that impacts my trip.

I can also use the Priority Pass perk of this card to go to a lounge or restaurant. It’s the perfect perk for waiting out a delay, for example.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I traveled on the famed Eurostar between London and Paris and saw how European high-speed rail blows America’s out of the water

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

  • Eurostar connects London with mainland Europe with a fleet of high-speed trains that utilize the Channel Tunnel.
  • Trains reach a top speed of 186 miles per hour and offer three classes of service.
  • The journey time between London and Paris is a mere two hours and 16 minutes.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
As a train enthusiast, Eurostar has always been near the top of my list of rail services to take.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

From its London terminus, travelers can be in European capitals such as Paris, Brussels, or Amsterdam in just a matter of hours.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Making these journeys possible is the Channel Tunnel, affectionately known as the “Chunnel,” that connects the UK with mainland Europe.

Chunnel train
A train exiting the Channel Tunnel.

Without it, travelers looking to cross the English Channel would have to fly or take a boat.

The Channel Tunnel from the French side - Eurotunnel/Chunnel
The Channel Tunnel from the French side.

During a recent trip to the UK, I finally took Eurostar between London to Paris. Here’s what it was like.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

I arrived at London’s St. Pancras International Station at around 7 a.m. for the 8:01 a.m. train to Paris. France had just opened to the UK a few days prior and the excitement was palpable.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

St. Pancras International is one of the many rail stations that serve London and is known primarily for Eurostar trains to mainland Europe.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

On the upper level, a thick and clear glass wall separates the platforms from the rest of the station. For all intents and purposes, those platforms might as well have been in France considering the only way for passengers to access them would be by going through French passport control.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

On the main level, it wasn’t hard to find the Eurostar check-in area and I was surprised to see so few people lining up.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

My tickets were emailed to me – with Apple Wallet functionality – but I still got paper copies from one of the many self-serve kiosks available.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

With my ticket, passport, and vaccination card in hand, I made my way to departures. But there was one more thing I needed to do, fill out a sworn statement attesting to my ability to travel to France as a vaccinated traveler.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Once done, I could move on to the next phase: the security checkpoint. I was only halfway through the process and this was the first time I had to go through security to take a train.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Next came UK Border Police who would be checking my documents as I left the country.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Finally, the French Border Police inspected my documents at passport control. The question “are you vaccinated?” replaced “what is the purpose of your visit?” and with the stamp of a passport, I was on my way.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

For all intents and purposes, I was in France. This part of France, however, was a packed waiting room in the middle of London.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Business class passengers receive access to a private lounge. But standard and standard premier passengers only have chairs, a duty-free store, and a few shops to entertain during the wait.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Boarding began around 20 minutes before departure. There was no reason to rush onto the train as all seats were pre-assigned; though, some still felt the need to be first.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

My train to France was operated by a Siemens British Rail Class 374 high-speed train. It spans more than 1,000 feet in length.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

A total of 16 cars comprised the train with business premier class, standard premier class, and standard class.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

I walked what felt like a half-mile to get to my coach but that was strategic as the closer to the front of the train I was, the closer I’d be to the exit in Paris. For this leg, I was riding in standard premier class, the Eurostar version of premium economy.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

A porter was waiting to check tickets at the door to my coach. I climbed onboard and was immediately impressed with the train.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

A literal red carpet covered the floor into the coach complete with sliding glass automatic doors. I had never seen anything like this in the US.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Seats in the cabin were arranged in a 1-2 configuration compared to the 2-2 configuration in standard class and 1-1 configuration of business class.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

I arrived at my seat, 65, and settled in for the quick journey to France.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

I chose the table seat because I love the aesthetic of paired seats surrounding a table on a train.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Seats in this cabin came with power outlets, storage slots, and personal reading lights. They also recline for additional comfort.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

The coach was moderately full with a surprising number of small children traveling with families.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

We pulled out of the station at exactly 8:01 a.m. for the two-hour and 16-minute journey to Paris. Amtrak’s Acela can’t even go from New York to Washington, DC that quickly.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

I knew this wasn’t going to be the average train ride when I heard one of the conductors say “good morning, dear passengers” over the public announcement system.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Most of the first 15 minutes were spent in tunnels underneath London but I could feel the train’s acceleration. The top speed on this run is 186 miles per hour.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Soon enough, we were blazing across the English countryside bound for Dover, where we’d enter the Chunnel.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Train managers were introduced by name over the PA. “It is our pleasure to assist you in any way we can,” one said.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Free WiFi was available on the train and worked perfectly all the way to Paris, even in the tunnel.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Surprisingly, there wasn’t much in terms of a view from where I was sitting. Amtrak might actually have the advantage here.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Read More: I took Amtrak for the first time since it started filling trains to capacity and it’s still my favorite way to travel the Northeast

A meal was included in the price of my standard premier ticket, and attendants came around to serve breakfast just before we entered the Chunnel.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Breakfast consisted of a croissant, bread roll, yogurt, water, and a selection of coffee and tea.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Everything was tasty and there were no complaints from me on that front. It wasn’t much of an offering but this train ride is only scheduled for two hours and 16 minutes.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

The biggest disappointment, however, was the crud on the cutlery and cups. They clearly hadn’t been washed properly and it turned me off from using them.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

I couldn’t believe the speed at which we were traveling. It wasn’t even 25 minutes into the ride that we were halfway to Dover.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

We approached the Chunnel and the views of the countryside quickly changed. Large fencing surrounded the tracks as we slowed down on our approach to the tunnel.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Then, with no warning, the view went black and we were heading to a depth of 75 meters. I don’t know why but I expected the tunnel to be illuminated throughout.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

The WiFi was still working wonderfully as I finished my movie as attendants offered refills of tea and coffee. There’s not much in terms of entertainment options besides the WiFi but that’s par for the course on trains.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

I walked around the train and discovered the cafe car, known as the Cafe Metropole.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

The selection was quite extensive and I thought the prices were reasonable.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

We emerged from the Chunnel in Calais, France in under 30 minutes. And to be honest, I didn’t feel the least bit nervous about the crossing.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

The side of the Chunnel was similarly well-fortified.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Around an hour and 15 minutes remained until arriving in Paris. The views of the French countryside were markedly better than those of the English.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

I knew we were getting close to Paris when I started seeing Air France planes taking off from Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

We pulled into Paris’ Gare du Nord exactly on time with a journey time of two hours and 16 minutes.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

After alighting in Paris, we were free to walk right into the station as if we were getting off of a commuter train. Some passengers had their bags checked by customs but the majority walked right into Paris.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

I personally couldn’t believe how quick the journey was and that I was in Paris after only two hours of traveling. It felt like a different world from London.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

The ride back was similarly smooth and enjoyable. The same customs and security checks were performed at Gare du Nord, except in reverse.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

This time, however, I was seated in standard class. Seats in the cabin are arranged in a 2-2 configuration and I once again chose the table seat.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Eurostar’s seat map does say where the windows are to avoid getting a windowless seat but I clearly misread the map. It was no issue, however, as I could still see out of the expansive window above the table.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Seats are also assigned for this cabin and non-table seats have their own tray tables. There’s no meal service whatsoever so the only option is Cafe Metropole.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Back once more through the Chunnel, we arrived back in London at St. Pancras International on time. I was admittedly jealous we don’t have these types of trains anywhere in the US.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

America might very well be unstoppable if we had these trains connecting our largest cities as fast as they do in Europe.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Read More: I went aboard Amtrak’s new long-distance trains aiming to transform America’s languishing rail network, and now I want to take a cross-country train trip

There were no passport checks but passengers did have to walk through a customs channel. And just like that, I was back in London.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France - Eurostar Trip 2021
Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I flew JetBlue’s new London to New York route in Mint business class. It’s a premium leisure traveler’s dream but some kinks need to be ironed out.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

  • JetBlue Airways just started flying between New York and London with flights boasting a brand-new Mint business class cabin.
  • A total of 24 seats are offered with all offering direct aisle access and incredible amounts of privacy and entertainment.
  • Some kinks, such as the speed of the meal service, remain to be worked out as the crew adjusts to the route.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
There’s no better way to fly commercial across the Atlantic than in a premium cabin. And JetBlue is making it easier and cheaper for travelers to do just that.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

New York’s self-proclaimed hometown airline just made its European debut on August 11 flying between the Big Apple and London.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Joining JetBlue on its transatlantic endeavor is Mint business class, which first debuted domestically in the US in 2014. An entirely new aircraft type was purchased for these flights to house an updated business class cabin with new seats and a revamped in-flight service.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Read More: JetBlue is revitalizing its popular Mint business class as the airline prepares for its European debut — here’s what to expect from Mint 2.0

London is JetBlue’s furthest destination, after all, and fares are discounted compared to competitors even still. Round-trip fares in Mint start below $2,000 and customers still receive many of the standard amenities offered by traditional carriers.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Flying home from JetBlue’s London debut, I booked a seat in Mint business class. Here’s what it was like.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Read More: I flew on JetBlue’s historic first trip to London and saw how low fares and great service will give competitors a run for their money

Insider paid a media rate to fly from New York to London and back

I arrived at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 2, the Queen’s Terminal, around three hours before departure. For the first time in my travel career, JetBlue was taking me across the pond back home.

London's Heathrow Airport - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Still depressed from the pandemic, London’s busiest airport was quieter than expected and only around 70 other flyers were booked on the JetBlue flight. There would only be five in Mint.

London's Heathrow Airport - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

The JetBlue check-in counter had separate lines for economy and business class, with only a handful of people ahead of me. Even still, it still took longer than normal since the staff is understandably still learning the ropes.

London's Heathrow Airport - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Boarding pass in hand, I made my way through a similarly quiet security checkpoint. When flying transatlantic business class, this would normally be the time I’d wait out the next few hours in the lounge.

A United States passport - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

But JetBlue doesn’t currently have any lounges on either side of the Atlantic for business class passengers, so I’d be on my own. Luckily, I have Priority Pass through my credit card and one of the restaurants in the terminal is a participant.

London's Heathrow Airport - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Read More: I used a credit perk to dine for nearly free at an airport restaurant and it’s my new favorite travel hack

With lunch squared away, I walked to the gate in the adjacent concourse where our Airbus A321neoLR was waiting to take us to New York. It was still a bit jarring to see the JetBlue name in London.

A JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Read More: See inside the first JetBlue plane with all-new Mint business class suites which are set to impress on upcoming flights to London

Mint passengers, all five of us, were among the first to board. The rest of the aircraft boarded in groups.

London's Heathrow Airport - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

A total of 24 seats arranged in a 1-1 configuration comprise the business class cabin. It’s a far cry from the double-aisle configuration found on competitors but it’s still a massive cabin.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

The 12-row cabin nearly takes up half of the airplane, stretching back to just before the exit rows.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Regular Mint flyers will notice that it’s not the same as the original configuration of alternating 1-1 and 2-2 seating. There’s also not a “throne” seat as every seat is a throne seat.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

All seats are private suites with no paired seats to offer direct aisle access. They even have closeable doors for maximum privacy.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

I chose seat 8A for the crossing, away from the other four passengers. And that’s about as far back as I recommend since there’s a crew rest seat in the last row that can be unsightly given the larger curtain that surrounds it.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Unlike larger aircraft, this plane doesn’t have a dedicated crew rest bunk so pilots and rotate in and out of the seat during the flight.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

I did notice that flight attendants weren’t as quick to come over and introduce themselves and offer a pre-departure drink. But I chalked it up to it being a new service for them.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Shortly after boarding, lead flight attendant Paul introduced himself and the crew to me after taking my drink order. All of the crew had a welcoming attitude and it was plain to see why they were selected by JetBlue for these flights, after a stringent interview process.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

I settled into the seat and was offered a pre-departure beverage, with the recommendation being sparkling wine with blood orange juice. It was served in a plastic cup and quite refreshing.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Having been first introduced to this product in February, I already knew what to expect and which buttons were where. This wasn’t a bare-bones seat by any means and even flight attendants admitted that it’s a lot to take in.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Waiting for passengers at every seat was an amenity kit by Wanderfuel…

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Sleep kit by Tuft & Needle…

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Pillow and comforter also by Tuft & Needle…

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

And noise-isolating headphones by Master and Dynamic.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

It was a lot to have at the seat but luckily, these seats have a good amount of storage space.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Inside the amenity and sleep kits were some essentials including lotion, an eye mask, socks, and a toothbrush. A full wellness regimen was also included with immune support chews, electrolytes, probiotics, and caffeine.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

I also found a pair of slippers in a somewhat hidden compartment along the suite floor. They made for a comfortable alternative to my shoes.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Impossible to miss after sitting down in the suite is the giant 17-inch moveable in-flight entertainment screen, offering a variety of movies, television shows, and games, as well as a moving map.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

A tethered remote was available to control the system, complete with a game remote on the flip side.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

I did appreciate the personalization with a nice “Hello, Thomas” greeting me.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

The one downside is that there are a few screens to get through just to get to the home screen. I had to enter my last name, birthday, and then click through more screens, forcing me to lean over more than I would’ve liked.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

We pushed back and made our way towards the runway surrounded by British Airways planes. JetBlue was on their turf and proving to be a worthy competitor so far.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Soon enough, we blasted into the English skies toward home. The flight time to New York was seven hours.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

It was an odd feeling being nearly sideways when taking off, especially with a few bumps, but that was quickly overcome.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Flight attendants came through the cabin after takeoff to take our orders. A food and drink menu had been left at each seat from which to order.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Flyers choose from a selection of five small plates, crafted by the Delicious Hospitality Group, to create the main course. Choices included chicken Milanese, cavatelli, roasted carrots, shrimp curry, and baby greens.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Signature cocktails were also available in addition to the standard bar selection. Alcohol is complimentary in both business class and economy class, with sommelier Grant Reynolds crafting the menu.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

A small starter of olives, cashews, and anchovies was served first. I ordered the “mint condition,” a Mojito-esque drink with gin or vodka, ginger, mint, cucumber, and lime, along with the meal and found it quite good.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

My main course consisted of chicken Milanese, cavatelli pasta, and baby greens. It was the airplane version of a Sunday gravy and as an Italian-American, I found it quite tasty.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

I very much appreciated the “emergency kit,” as Delicious Hospitality Group chef Ryan Hardy calls it, of chili oil, olive oil, and salt. It was truly a delight to the senses.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

There was a bit of a gap between the final course and dessert but it was well worth the wait. A dessert trolley was rolled down the aisle with a choice of either cheese and crackers or ice cream.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

While I do wish that there was a better cheese to cracker ratio, it was the perfect end to the meal service.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

The meal plating overall was lovely but the presentation was quite basic with no white tablecloth. The crew also forwent the standard hot towel in the interest of time.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

All in all, the service was completed in just under two hours. For five passengers, that was entirely too long but I was quick to forgive since this was only the second London flight that this crew had performed.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

What the crew lacked in speed, however, they more than made up for in service. This was their first London trip and it was up to them to fine tune the service.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Plus, this crew will only fly transatlantic flights for at least the next two years, giving them more than enough time to iron out the kinks. “Come back in two months,” one jokingly told me.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

With the meal service out of the way, it was time for a quick nap as we began our North Atlantic crossing. I unfurled the pillow and comforter kit and put the seat in lie-flat mode.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Seat controls were located on my right-hand side, just about at my elbow. They were easy to figure out but I did notice later that it was quite easy to accidentally hit a button as I was sitting upright working on my laptop.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Nonetheless, I was quite comfortable laying down as the seat doubles as a mattress thanks to the Tuft & Needle design. There was more than enough room to spread out, even for a bigger traveler such as myself.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

I flicked on the do not disturb button, which tells flight attendants not to bother me even if I’m asleep during meal times, and settled in.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

The television screen also angles downward so I could finish watching my movie as I drifted off. It’s a neat touch and the screen can also be kept out for takeoff and landing.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

I woke up with about three hours to go until landing. This flight was moving right along but there was still work to be done so I got out my laptop and connected to the free in-flight WiFi.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

I had no trouble at all using the internet and could even stream movies while high above the Atlantic. This is definitely a game-changer for all customers.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Multiple power outlets, USB charging ports, and even a wireless charging pad helps keep devices charged on the journey.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

The final meal service began just under an hour from our arrival, with three more options from which to choose on the menu including panzanella, Italian clam soup, and a panini.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

I chose the panzanella and the panini, which came with a pretzel roll. Once again, the food was quite tasty and hit the spot before landing.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

And just before landing, flight attendants came around with thank you bags with caramel popcorn, a chocolate bar, and a handwritten note, as well as a selection of pins.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

But the service wasn’t over yet. Paul came around with a tray of English snacks including crisps, shortbread cookies, and cashews.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

And a hot towel was finally served. It was lemon-scented and sorely needed after the long day of travel.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

The final 20 minutes of the flight was spent enjoying the views of Long Island as we flew over in the late afternoon glow. It takes JetBlue a bit longer to fly between London and New York because of the smaller plane it uses but I didn’t notice one bit.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Overall, the crossing was nothing but enjoyable and I wouldn’t hesitate to fly JetBlue across the pond in business class. It was truly refreshing to see a genuinely caring crew combined with a great seat product, and I’m confident the kinks will be ironed out in no time at all.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

I do wish that JetBlue would upgrade its airport facilities for Mint passengers to include lounges and other amenities. Business class passengers pay extra for those perks and expect it.

Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

The upside is that the JetBlue team, from its flight attendants to its product designers, is keenly aware of its shortcomings and is actively working to improve the product, from what I’ve been told.

A JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways London to New York in Mint business class flight 2021
Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I flew on JetBlue’s historic first trip to London and saw how low fares and great service will give competitors a run for their money

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

  • JetBlue Airways flew its first flight between New York and London on Wednesday.
  • The airline is using brand-new Airbus A321neoLR aircraft with new Mint business class seats and meal services in economy.
  • The flight was seamless and enjoyable, although there are a few kinks to be worked out.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
JetBlue Airways has finally landed in London.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

JetBlue flight 007 from New York to London, UK arrived at Heathrow Airport on Thursday morning, an event that proved unlikely just two weeks ago despite more than two years of planning.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

JetBlue first announced its transatlantic in April 2019. With planned flights from New York and Boston, the airline would be going into one of the most competitive realms in aviation: the skies above the North Atlantic.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Preparations included a brand-new Mint business class seat, meals in economy, ordering new Airbus A321neoLR aircraft, getting approval to use London’s Heathrow Airport, and earning certifications to fly the overwater routes, among others.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Read More: JetBlue is promising London-bound passengers free meals, wider seats, and more when service finally starts this summer — take a look

Though international travel all but came to a halt in 2020, CEO Robin Hayes kept the faith with a delayed late 2021 start that proved more and more realistic as vaccines became pervasive and Europe started reopening to Americans.

JetBlue Airways taking delivery of its first Airbus A321neoLR
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neoLR.

The planned start date of August 11, however, was in jeopardy until a surprise announcement by the UK to let in US visitors threw JetBlue into high gear, and paved the way for the first flight to commence.

Crossing the UK border - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

I flew on the very first JetBlue flight from New York to London. Here’s what it was like.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Insider paid a media rate to fly on the inaugural flight and back to New York

I arrived at JetBlue’s Terminal 5 at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport for the overnight crossing and saw one of the airline’s new rivals just across the airport tarmac.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

The New York-London air route is one of the most popular, busy, and lucrative in the world. I’d flown to London many times but never thought I’d fly JetBlue there.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Terminal 5 was quite busy but London flights have a special check-in area that was quite empty. Only one flight per day is operating to London until September 29 when the flight to London’s Gatwick Airport launches.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Check-in agents quickly checked my passport, vaccination card, COVID-19 test, and UK passenger locator form. The UK is quite lenient with pre-departure tests and only requires an antigen test within three days prior to departure.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Ticket in hand, I went straight to the security checkpoint where I was able to use TSA PreCheck. All told, it was one of the smoothest experiences I’ve had when traveling internationally during the pandemic and took no more than 10 minutes from walking in the door to clearing security.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

JetBlue’s home had been London-ized with Queen’s Guards in the atrium, stilt-walkers adorned with UK apparel, and images of the city’s landmarks.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

A massive Union Jack at the London gate also welcomed passengers heading to JetBlue’s new furthest destination on its new longest flight.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

CEO Robin Hayes was traveling on the flight, as well as former board member Joel Peterson and JetBlue founder and current Breeze Airways CEO David Neeleman.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Boarding began on time and in groups. Despite biometric gates available, gate agents checked each boarding pass and passport.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

The newest plane in JetBlue’s fleet, the Airbus A321neoLR, then awaited.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Mood lighting filled the cabin thanks to the Airbus Airspace cabin that also featured LED lights in the ceiling, reminiscent of a starry night.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

First up on the plane is the 24-seat Mint business class cabin. The first two seats are the larger “Mint Studio” seats that offer additional space at a premium.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

The remaining 22 seats are “Mint Suites” arranged in a 1-1 configuration with fully lie-flat seats and closable doors.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Economy and its 114 seats arranged in a standard 3-3 configuration then follow, where the bulk of the passengers were sitting.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

A total of 24 “even more space” seats, signified with orange headrests, offer 35 inches of legroom, as well as early boarding and priority security screening privileges.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Then 90 standard economy seats offer 32 inches of legroom.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

I arrived at my seat, 24A, and got settled for the crossing. While I wasn’t initially excited about flying across the Atlantic in a narrow-body plane, my fears were assuaged by the above-average legroom and wide seat.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Economy seats boast 18.4 inches of width and even as a larger traveler, I was able to sit comfortably without my body touching either armrest.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Atop each seat was a small amenity kit with socks, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and an eye mask. Blankets were also provided but pillows were not.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

We were all set for an on-time departure when thunderstorms delayed our pushback. But after more than two years of planning, suffering through the pandemic, and the UK dragging its feet on reopening, thunder and lightning was not going to stop this plane.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

We pushed back not even 10 minutes late and made our way towards Runway 22R for an ultimately on-time departure.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

The Airbus A321neo started up and immediately lived up to its promise of being quieter than its predecessors. While taxiing to the runway, I barely heard the engines and wouldn’t have known they were turned on if I wasn’t paying attention.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

“Flight attendants, prepare for takeoff, please,” our captain said, just before we blasted off into the night sky. Applause erupted inside the cabin as we ascended and started our turn with speed to England, just 9 days after it opened to American tourists.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

The cabin soon fell silent, though, and the engines continued their quiet drone despite propelling us to the upper altitudes. This would normally be the time when I would call it a night and get some sleep. But there were still meals to be enjoyed.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

JetBlue economy passengers can order their meals, courtesy of Dig, on their screens.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

On this flight, there was a choice of three main courses and three side dishes. It’s quite the offering for economy and I appreciated the opportunity to mix and match.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

The drink service started first with flight attendants starting from both ends of the cabin and meeting in the middle. Sitting in the middle of economy, my row was one of the last to be served.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Entirely complimentary on JetBlue’s transatlantic flights is wine, beer, and spirits.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

As is tradition for London flights, I had a gin and tonic.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

After drinks, flight attendants came through once more with meals. The two flight attendants started from the bookends of the cabin and worked their way towards the center.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

I chose the chicken with carrots and mac and cheese. All in all, it was one of the best economy meals that I’ve had in my years of flying.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

The main course was then followed by an ice cream sandwich. Needless to say, I was content for the rest of the flight, or at least until breakfast.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

In-flight entertainment was offered through seat-back screens offering high-definition content. The systems are personalized and great passengers by name.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

On offer was a wide variety of movies…

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Television shows…

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Games…

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Live television…

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

And a moving map.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

In-flight WiFi was also available from gate to gate and is complimentary when flying transatlantic. I noted that it wasn’t the most reliable but did the trick with sending text messages and using social media.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

In-seat power also helps keep devices charged on the crossing.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

After the meal, it was time for bed as it was just after midnight and we had around five hours to go. I unfurled the quite comfortable blanket that JetBlue left on every economy seat.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

It wasn’t until I felt the hand of a flight attendant on my shoulder that I woke up. It was time for breakfast and I had requested a wake-up call.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

On offer for the optimistic morning meal just 50 minutes before landing was fruit salad or hot chocolate bread, a European and personal favorite.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

At this point, we were just south of Ireland preparing to cross the Irish Sea to England. The seven hours had gone by in what felt like the blink of an eye.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

One last drink service then capped off the flight as we neared the UK capital.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

We soon arrived over London and thankfully weren’t forced to circle, as was nearly always the case when flying to the city before the pandemic.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Touchdown on Heathrow Airport’s Runway 27L marked the end of our journey and the inauguration of JetBlue’s 26th country and third continent served. We even arrived 40 minutes early.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Overall, it was an incredibly smooth flight and a great first showing for JetBlue’s newest route.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

The in-flight service certainly could’ve been quicker, especially given that meals were pre-ordered. We took off at 10:08 p.m. but didn’t wrap up the service until shortly after midnight.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

A greater emphasis should’ve also been placed on trash collection, which is a pet peeve of mine on international flights when trash builds quickly.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

However, my concerns with flying on a narrow-body aircraft across the Atlantic in economy were for naught.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

The aircraft was incredibly comfortable and quiet. I did not feel claustrophobic at all despite flying in a narrow-body aircraft for more than seven hours.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Of course, it helped that the middle seat in my row was open. But I attribute my positive attitude to the wide seat with a good amount of legroom.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

I’d chose JetBlue again for transatlantic travel in a heartbeat.

Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London - JetBlue Airways London Inaugural Flight
Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I went on JetBlue’s newest aircraft, the Airbus A321neoLR, that’s taking flyers to Europe next month and now I’m ready to book a ticket

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

  • JetBlue Airways is launching its first flights to London next month and using a new plane to do it.
  • Only 138 seats are offered with a sizeable business class cabin to draw in premium passengers.
  • In-flight entertainment, in-flight WiFi, and hot meals will be complimentary for all flyers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
JetBlue is going to London, UK next month, and powering its transatlantic debut will be a brand-new aircraft to its fleet, the Airbus A321neoLR.

JetBlue Airways taking delivery of its first Airbus A321neoLR
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neoLR.

Read More: JetBlue is promising London-bound passengers free meals, wider seats, and more when service finally starts this summer — take a look

The next-generation and “long-range” version of Airbus’ largest single-aisle jet offers JetBlue a 4,000-nautical mile range while also burning less fuel on the overseas journey.

JetBlue Airways taking delivery of its first Airbus A321neoLR
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neoLR.

Passengers accustomed to flying the New York-London route will note that it’s the smallest aircraft to service the busy transatlantic corridor that’s generated billions in revenue for some airlines. But JetBlue is giving the plane a fresh new look compared to its other jets to help bring more travelers across the pond.

Mint business class on JetBlue Airways' Airbus A321neoLR
Inside JetBlue Airways’ Airbus A321neoLR.

Take a look inside the jet that will take JetBlue passengers to London starting in August.

Boarding JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

From the outside, JetBlue’s newest plane looks like any other in the leisure carrier’s fleet. On the inside, however, is a technological marvel jam-packed with passenger-friendly amenities.

Inside JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Only 138 seats are offered on an aircraft that can normally seat around 200.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Mint business class is also making its transatlantic debut with brand-new seats to boot.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

A total of 24 business class seats are angled towards the aisle in what’s known as a herringbone pattern.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

There’s one seat on each side of the aisle in a 1-1 configuration, as opposed to the alternating 2-2, 1-1 configuration on JetBlue’s first-generation Mint planes.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

The arrangement is ideal for solo travelers as they offer complete privacy from the rest of the aircraft. JetBlue told Insider that privacy was the greatest request that it received from Mint flyers.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

And to that effect, each seat will have fully closeable doors that block passengers off from the rest of the plane.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

JetBlue is traditionally a leisure airline but is enticing premium customers the most business class seats it has ever offered on a single plane. And it shows, the cabin is so deep that it stretches all the way to the aircraft’s wings.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Each seat offers an abundance of privacy since flyers don’t have to share the row and high walls create a feeling of exclusivity. This seat is referred to as the “Mint Suite.”

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Wireless charging pads are also available in yet another unique touch.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Lighting in the suites is offered through a personal reading lamp and a larger lamp with customizable mood lighting.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

A pillow and comforter kit is left on each seat before boarding. JetBlue tasked Tuft & Needle with designing a new comforter complete with a “foot nook” to keep feet warm during the flight.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Vegan leather material was used to create the seat, which is actually a mattress also crafted by Tuft & Needle. Flyers seeking maximum sleeping time can also flick on the “do not disturb” light and flight attendants will know not to bother them or serve them meals.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Standard at each business class seat is a 17-inch entertainment system. One of the features unique to JetBlue is that the screens can be extended during taxi, takeoff, and landing.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

The in-flight entertainment system can be controlled by touch or by using one of the tethered remotes that also act as game controllers. Device-pairing is also an option so flyers can use their phones as a remote.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

In-seat power is offered with 110V AC power outlets and USB charging ports, as well as a hook on which to wrap cords.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Each business class flyer will receive an amenity kit from Wanderfuel with the essentials to survive a long flight.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

The other type of seat in Mint is the “Mint Studio,” located in the first row of the cabin.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

There are only two of these seats, both in row one, and JetBlue is selling them at a premium because of the extra space they offer.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

The Mint Studio is ideal for those wanting more space or traveling with a companion. There’s more living space and even a cushioned bench for a companion to use.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

JetBlue ran with this idea and even installed another tray table so flyers can work side by side or share a meal.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

There’s even an additional power outlet in the seat.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Other perks of the Mint Studio include a larger 22-inch in-flight entertainment screen.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

There’s also more storage space in the Mint Studio with additional compartments throughout.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

A personal storage closet, ideal for a handbag or other small items, is yet another perk of booking the Mint Studio.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

The remaining 114 seats house the economy section in a standard 3-3 configuration.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Seats are split between 24 extra-legroom “even more space” seats and 90 “core” seats with standard legroom.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Even more space seats, denoted by their orange headrests, offer 35 inches of legroom.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Seat width in the section is the standard 18.4 for inches that every economy seat has.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

These seats are also among the closest to the front so flyers can get off of the plane sooner than most, while also enjoying early boarding privileges compared to the rest of economy.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Beyond extra legroom and being closer to the front, there’s not much more that these seats offer.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Even more space seats are nearly identical to standard core seats, with both offering adjustable headrests, in-seat power, and seat-back entertainment screens.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

But the extra legroom may make a bigger difference to some on the longer eastbound transatlantic crossings.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

The first row in economy is actually an exit row seat that isn’t listed as part of JetBlue’s “even more space” product because it doesn’t recline. The legroom, however, is quite generous.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

And with only four rows of seats for the entire plane, there are not many to be had.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

The remaining 90 seats are the domain of JetBlue’s core product.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Each seat in this cabin offers 32 inches of pitch and the standard 18.4 inches of width.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Each seat in economy will offer 10.1-inch seat-back screens with JetBlue’s latest entertainment product.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

A selection of movies, television shows, games, and a moving map will be available during the flight.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Armrest remotes aren’t being offered by the screens can be controlled by touch or by pairing a device.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

In-seat power in economy is available both through 110v AC power outlets and USB charging ports underneath the screens.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Complimentary in-flight WiFi will also be available for all passengers throughout the entire flight, with JetBlue the only carrier on the route to offer it.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Hot meals will be offered in economy, with JetBlue tapping Dig to provide the service. Examples of some main courses are charred chicken and brown rice, meatballs and tomato farro, and spiced eggplant and quinoa.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

In the back of the plane, available for economy flyers, is the “pantry.” The self-serve station will have drinks and snacks for passengers to take at their leisure.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

All flyers in economy will receive a blanket but no pillow as part of the initial launch offering.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

All the armrests go up in economy rows so flyers can use the row as a bed if one is entirely free.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

There are some economy seats to be avoided, however, and those are the ones in rows 22 and 23 as the windows are misaligned.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

London’s Heathrow Airport is famous for its approaches that fly right over iconic sites as Canary Warf, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the Palace of Westminster. But flyers in those rows won’t get to see them.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Otherwise, there are no truly bad seats in the cabin. One of the last rows in economy is also reserved for the flight crew to rest so fewer flyers will be relegated to what is often regarded as the worst place to sit in economy.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

One Mint seat is also blocked for flight attendants to rest.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Above the cabin, mood lighting will help shape the ambiance in the cabin with a variety of settings depending on the phase of flight.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

At night, for example, relaxing colors will ease flyers to sleep and then gently wake them up.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Flights to London begin on August 11.

JetBlue advertising inside Terminal 5 - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Read the original article on Business Insider

JetBlue’s first flights to London this summer are now on sale and round-trip fares are under $600

big ben london england
JetBlue will soon touch down in London.

  • JetBlue Airways has set August 11 as the start date for flights to London, UK.
  • The New York-London route will start first while the Boston-London route will come in 2022.
  • Both Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport in London will see daily flights from New York.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

JetBlue Airways is finally ready to make its London debut.

August 11 is the official launch date for JetBlue’s flights between New York and London, UK, the airline announced Wednesday.

It’s JetBlue’s first time crossing the Atlantic in its 21-year-history, having announced the service in April 2019. And while the pandemic delayed the inaugural flight until August, the airline is keeping its promise of a 2021 debut.

JetBlue will first stretch its transatlantic legs by flying two routes to London’s two major airports, Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. Chief executive Robin Hayes said in a statement that the pandemic actually “opened the door” for JetBlue to access its airports of choice in the London area.

“We’ve always said that JetBlue would serve multiple London airports, and we’re pleased to have secured a path at Heathrow and for long-term growth at Gatwick, which offers speed, low costs, and convenient accessibility into Central London,” Hayes said.

Heathrow will receive the first flights from JFK on August 11. A daily round-trip service will be offered, with the outbound departing New York as an overnight flight at 10:10 p.m. and arriving at 10:10 a.m.

The return flight departs London the next day in the early evening at 6:10 p.m. and arrives back in New York at 9:43 p.m. A likely homage to James Bond, the flight number for JetBlue’s Heathrow-bound flight will be 007.

Flights to Gatwick will then begin on September 29 with similarly daily flights from New York but a slightly different schedule. The outbound flight departs from New York at 7:50 p.m. and arrives in London at 7:55 a.m. while the return flight departs London at 12:00 p.m. the next day and arrives in New York at 3:33 p.m.

Serving the routes will be a never-before-seen aircraft in JetBlue’s fleet, Airbus’ A321LR, or Long Range. JetBlue plans to have three of the next-generation aircraft in its fleet by the end of the year, with all of them flying between New York and London.

Bostonians will have to wait until 2022 to fly non-stop to London on JetBlue when more of the aircraft arrive.

Inside the aircraft will be JetBlue’s newest products in economy and business class. London-bound aircraft will feature 24 business class seats and 117 economy class seats.

New Mint business class seats intended for London flights were debuted by JetBlue earlier this year. Each seat is a private suite with an enclosable door, a fully lie-flat seat, and new amenities like wireless charging pads and laptop drawers.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo’s with new Mint business class.

Mint Studio seats, found in the first row of the cabin, are the highlight of the aircraft. The larger spaces offer greater room for passengers and can even accommodate a second passenger with a separate cushioned seat that comes with its own tray table.

Access to premium lounges in New York or London, however, has not yet been announced. The perk is a key benefit of flying transatlantic business class.

Economy class will see JetBlue’s standard mix of standard legroom “core” seats and extra-legroom “even more space” seats. Core seats will offer 32 inches of legroom and 18.4 inches of width.

The airline’s newest in-flight entertainment system will also be featured offering on-demand movies, television shows, games, and more. High-speed satellite WiFi will also be available for free.

Flying JetBlue Airways Airbus A320 New Phase 2 Interior
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A320 with a new interior.

Complimentary meals crafted by the New York City-based restaurant group Dig will also be served in another first for JetBlue. The JetBlue “pantry,” a self-service snack bar, will also be available to all passengers.

JetBlue’s announcement comes as more countries open their doors to Americans but entry to Europe this summer is far from guaranteed for all tourists.

The European Union also announced on Wednesday a plan for vaccinated travelers to be let into the region, the New York Times reported, just in time for the summer. But the UK, no longer a member of the European Union, has still held off on giving a timeline for vaccinated Americans to visit.

Read More: 7 airlines poised to win big now that Norwegian Air exits the lucrative transatlantic market it once dominated

Fares for London flights start at $599 round-trip in economy while business class fares can be had for as low as $1,979. The low fares are part of JetBlue’s goal of disrupting the market by offering affordable pricing combined with a high-frills offering.

Read the original article on Business Insider