I flew on JetBlue for the first time since it began filling planes to capacity and found it’s still doing more than most to keep flyers safe

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

  • JetBlue Airways has been slowly returning to normal and abandoning pandemic-era protocols.
  • Middle seats are no longer blocked and back-to-front boarding was recently discarded.
  • I still felt perfectly safe on the airline and was impressed with its array of safety measures.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
JetBlue is firmly on the road back to normal as the pandemic enters its second year.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321
A JetBlue Airways Airbus A321.

Flights are being filled to capacity as the airline stopped blocking seats in January following the Christmas travel rush. Middle seats had been blocked until October 15, 2020, around the time Southwest Airlines also announced an end to its policy.

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

Read More: JetBlue will soon fill its planes to capacity and is offering refunds for travelers who don’t want to fly on the airline as a result

But it didn’t stop there, JetBlue has been gradually moving away from pandemic-era safety measures like back-to-front boarding and has brought back fan favorites like soft drinks and more snacks in the in-flight service.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After flying JetBlue during the summer at the height of its safety efforts, I decided to take JetBlue home from Los Angeles to New York in March on one of its flagship routes. Here’s what flying JetBlue Airways is like in 2021.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

Los Angeles is JetBlue’s new West Coast hub, having moved operations from nearby Long Beach during the pandemic.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

JetBlue doesn’t have an entire terminal to itself as it does in New York here at LAX but it makes the space work.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

Check-in kiosks were spaced and JetBlue even installed social distancing reminders on the floor.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

Hand sanitizer stations were available next to the bag drop station.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

And even the regular check-in line had multiple social distancing and face mask reminders from both the airline and the airport, in addition to plexiglass partitions at check-in counters. It was the most impressive setup I’d seen in the terminal.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

JetBlue, like many US airlines, now requires customers to acknowledge a health declaration at check-in. I had to affirm that I didn’t have any COVID-19 symptoms, been exposed to the virus, or tested positive for the virus.

Flying JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

I also had to agree to JetBlue’s face covering policy and affirm I didn’t have a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater.

Flying JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

I used the kiosk to print my boarding pass and was reminded about the touch-free option by using the JetBlue mobile application to do everything from check-in to get a mobile boarding pass. Customers checking a bag could also just scan their boarding pass and the bag tag would automatically print without having to touch the screen.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

I booked JetBlue’s version of basic economy for this flight but I was luckily still assigned a window seat. Most of the middle seats went empty on the flight and I was glad to see JetBlue wasn’t randomly assigned seats as some other airlines are for basic economy flyers.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

Ticket in hand, I headed to the gate and saw some of the same safety features. Plexiglass partitions were installed at the check-in counter and the airport had installed social distancing placards on the floor but that was about it.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

Boarding soon began in JetBlue’s standard procedure based on groups. There was surprisingly no pre-boarding reminder to wear masks

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

Passengers boarding first included JetBlue elite status holders, those traveling in Mint business class, active duty military, families with small children, customers with disabilities, and travelers with “Even More Space” seats.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

JetBlue gave up on back-to-front boarding in early March.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

Read More: JetBlue is abandoning back-to-front boarding as more travelers take to the skies and vaccinations take off

Inside the jetway, the airport had installed its own social distancing placards, saving JetBlue the trouble. These placards are largely ignored but are still a good gesture.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

Flight attendants kindly welcomed us on board but didn’t offer anything in the way of hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes. I later found out that they were available on request.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

Source: JetBlue Airways

The aircraft, however, was perfectly clean. I had no concerns whatsoever in that regard.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

JetBlue is beefing up aircraft cleanings and disinfecting planes by means of “fogging” with an electrostatic sprayer, a common industry standard.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

Read More: Delta, United, and American are ‘fogging’ their planes to make them safe for travel amid coronavirus — here’s what that means

Source: JetBlue Airways

I got to my seat, 25A, and settled in for the overnight flight to New York.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

Everything about the seat was clean and I didn’t have any worry there whatsoever.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

Health and safety aside, I was immediately reminded why flying on JetBlue is one of the best ways to cross the country, especially when flying on this aircraft.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

The Airbus A321 fleet, including the A321 and A321neo, are incredibly modern and comfortable. I’d flown across the US on four different airlines in two days but when I sat down on the JetBlue flight, it felt like home.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

These aircraft feature one of JetBlue’s older in-flight entertainment products but they still offer touch-screen capabilities, high-definition displays, on-demand content, and a map screen.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

It also helped that the airline offers 32 inches of legroom in economy on this aircraft.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

The front of the aircraft naturally filled first thanks to the new boarding procedure but the aircraft was empty enough where the back started to fill before too many people were settled up front.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

Even though it was an empty flight to New York, flight attendants asked passengers to go to their assigned seats first before moving around the cabin.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

Flight attendants also reminded passengers of the safety features of the aircraft including its high-efficiency particular air filters, or HEPA filters, and reassuringly said that the aircraft was just cleaned and disinfected.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

It was also made clear that wearing a mask was required by federal law.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

We departed Los Angeles with around three-quarters of the plane full.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

I lucked out and had the middle seat open but not every row was so lucky.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

After departure, the entertainment screens showed a video outlining the health and safety features of the aircraft to reassure passengers. Airlines tend to do this at the gate but I was glad to see it on the aircraft right in front of passengers.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

The “dos and don’ts” of flying on JetBlue were explained including wearing a face covering…

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

And don’t crowd the aisle. This one was interesting considering JetBlue had just removed back-to-front boarding and its middle seat block.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

Even more messaging was available on the map channel.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

This kind of messaging goes a long way to reassure flyers returning to the skies for the first time during the pandemic.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

We quickly departed Los Angeles and turned eastbound towards New York. The in-flight service began shortly after takeoff.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that JetBlue had gotten rid of the plastic bag service and was serving actual soft drinks. I even got the full can.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

Customers also had a choice of snacks including cookies, chips, Cheez-Its, or a granola bar. I went for the cookies.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

The rest of the flight progressed smoothly as most passengers tried to get some sleep in on the five-hour flight.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

New York soon came into view and the flight was approaching its natural end.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

When we landed, there was a reminder to social distance when deplaning but most didn’t heed that warning. It’s only natural for flyers to get up as soon as the seat belt sign turns off.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

Walking off the plane, I noticed JetBlue had installed its own safety placards in the jetway.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

The terminal in New York was also way better equipped than in Los Angeles. JetBlue had installed its own hand sanitizers at the gate…

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

Automated boarding gates were available to reduce contact with the gate agents…

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

And seats in the gate area were even blocked off, in addition to social distancing placards lining the falls and plexiglass partitions installed at the gate.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

Overall, JetBlue did a great job at ensuring passengers are safe in both of its hubs, even though it is shedding off some social distancing efforts as more flyers take to the skies. The flight felt closer to a normal experience but there was still a strong emphasis on health and safety at every turn.

Flying on JetBlue Airways during pandemic
Flying on JetBlue Airways during the pandemic.

Read the original article on Business Insider

United just returned to JFK Airport after nearly 6 years and is rolling out one of its most luxurious aircraft to take on competitors

United Airlines JFK
The first United Airlines flight to return to New York’s JFK Airport.

  • United Airlines resumed flights from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Sunday.
  • Operating the flights is United’s premium-configured Boeing 767-300ER with lie-flat business class seats.
  • Only 10 weekly flights are currently offered but more will be added in the coming months.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

United Airlines is back at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and ready to make up for lost time after a six-year absence.

Flight 520 from San Francisco touched down in a foggy New York City on Sunday afternoon, marking United’s return to the city’s largest airport since October 24, 2015. The third time proved to be a charm for the airline that had intended to return to JFK in early February but was forced to push the launch date back to late February and eventually late March due to “softer demand.”

Five weekly flights to both San Francisco and Los Angeles kick off the new service as United readjusts to JFK. It’s a far cry from the multiple daily departures that other airlines serving the transcontinental market offer but it’s indicative of United’s new trend of getting a foothold on popular routes in any way possible in order to fill seats.

United hopes to soon double the number of JFK flights to give customers two flights per day to both cities but that timetable remains up in the air. Americans have only just begun returning to the skies in earnest.

Read More: Airline workers have lower rates of COVID-19 than the general population – and airline CEOs say it’s proof that flying is safe

For now, two morning flights in the eastbound direction accompany two afternoon flights in the westbound direction. And for some travelers, it’s the perfect timing.

Allison Rutledge, a Connecticut resident traveling with her two college-age children, said she chose United over JetBlue for the cross-country flight because the former offered an arrival time an hour earlier. JFK is the more convenient for her over Newark and it also helped that United came in around $200 lower for the tickets, booked on short notice to give her kids a makeshift spring break.

Price and convenience, more so than loyalty to United, were motivating factors for many passengers on the outbound flight, some of whom had booked last-minute tickets and found the United flight to be the best and cheapest option.

A premium service from coast to coast

Welcoming United travelers back to JFK is one of the airline’s swankiest aircraft, a reconfigured Boeing 767-300ER wide-body jet in a three-class configuration including Polaris business class, Premium Plus premium economy class, and economy class. Onboard the aircraft are United’s newest seat products in all cabins, including lie-flat seats in business class.

And while business travel isn’t exactly where United execs would like it, Ankit Gupta, United’s vice president, domestic network planning & scheduling, believes the rise of wealthy leisure travelers will help fill the 46 business class seats in the front of the jet.

“I would say the business demand will take some time to come back but we’re seeing a lot of premium leisure demand too,” Gupta told Insider.

The first flight to San Francisco was completely full in all classes of service, United said. Filling the 167 seats in addition to normal travelers, of course, were United employees and aviation enthusiasts that wanted to take the first flight.

Those flying in business class on Sunday’s flight won’t get to enjoy the full Polaris experience, as airlines have been scaling back the in-flight service during the pandemic, but that’s something execs hope will return soon. Premium flyers in both business and premium economy classes will still be treated to complimentary meals, snacks, and alcoholic beverages.

Business class flyers and United elites will not, however, have access to premium lounges on the New York side of the journey. All lounges in United’s Terminal 7, including the Alaska Airlines and British Airways lounges, are currently closed. Those willing to make the journey can head to Terminal 4 and use the newly-opened American Express Centurion Lounge or one of the Priority Pass lounges open in Terminals 1 and 4.

Sunday’s “homecoming,” as David Kinzelman, United’s vice president, global airport operations, described it, was not just for United’s aircraft but for some United employees, as well. A majority of the workers servicing the first flights had been with United in 2015 when the airline made the choice to leave the airport, a move that now-CEO Scott Kirby would later call “the wrong decision,” as Skift reported.

For those employees, United’s return is personal. Kinzelman told Insider, “We were asked the question constantly, ‘When are you guys coming back to JFK?'”

They return to Kennedy after spending nearly six years at other airports around the metropolitan area including nearby LaGuardia and Newark Airports, where United concentrated the majority of its flights after ceding JFK to its competitors.

In 2015, however, United was flying as many as 14 daily flights to the West Coast. Now, the workers are coming back to service a mere 10 weekly flights, or two flights per day, until United bumps up service.

The next step will be increasing JFK service with another round-trip flight on each route. United’s current flight schedule shows an additional flight being added to each city on May 7 and both routes going daily the week of May 9.

Once the West Coast is accounted for, the airline can start looking to serve its other hubs to give New Yorkers and visitors an alternative to LaGuardia and Newark.

“We plan to be here for the long-term,” Kinzelman said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How JFK customs searches 1 million packages a day for illegal items

Following is a transcription of the video.

Narrator: About 1 million packages arrive at John F. Kennedy International Airport every day. And just like travelers have to go through customs, so do international packages. The US Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, is tasked with screening all of them. They’re looking for anything that isn’t legally allowed in the US; certain foods, animals, drugs, and counterfeit goods.

JFK is one of nine international mail facilities in the US. It’s essentially the country’s biggest mail room, dealing with roughly 60% of all international packages entering the country.

First, the packages are taken off arriving passenger or cargo planes and transported to the US Postal Service’s mail room on site. They’re sorted and then taken to the CBP mail facility next door for inspection. CBP uses a three-tiered strategy to efficiently search each of these packages; intelligence gathering, nonintrusive inspection, and hand inspection. We followed two units searching for drugs and counterfeit items.

Before a package ever lands in the US, CBP gathers intelligence on the sender, the container, and the aircraft. They’ll check with law-enforcement partners like Homeland Security, the DEA, and the FBI to see if there’s anything of interest. This is how CBP narrows down a million packages to ones that will get flagged for further inspection.

Once a suspicious package is pulled, it goes to the CBP inspection area. This is where human CBP officers get a little help. Here, a four-legged officer, like Alex, will search hundreds of packages in 20-minute runs. These dogs are trained to sniff out seven different drugs.

Michael Lake: The drugs that they are trained for are hash, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy, as well as fentanyl.

Narrator: If Alex finds something, he’ll notify his handler by sitting or lying down. If he’s right, he gets his chew toy.

Lake: This is the game that they work for. All right, it’s good play. Here’s a good boy, good boy.

Narrator: And if Alex or one of his furry friends comes in contact with a drug, officers have the antidote Narcan on hand. Nearby, CBP officers are using another nonintrusive search tool: X-rays.

Nathanial Needham: When I first started this, I would literally open up everything ’cause I couldn’t tell what the image was. But eventually, after you do thousands of parcels, opening them up and comparing them to image, now you start getting good. You can identify, oh, that’s this, oh, that’s this. We can let that go because of this.

Narrator: If they see something on an X-ray monitor that looks suspicious, officers will isolate the package.

Needham: Can we pull that one, actually?

Narrator: Isolated packages go through an intrusive search. Officers will cut them open to hand-search for drugs or counterfeit goods.

Needham: I always got taught, basically, expect a package to be something that’s going to your mom, so that if it is good, it’s coming back to your mom the same way that it’s supposed to be.

This is common. It’s, like, from back home. It’s pills, certain kind of vitamins, and they get them from their little pharmacy. I’m pretty sure that this right here is actually a steroid.

Producer: Is that allowed?

Needham: No. The worst part is you don’t know what’s in these capsules.

Narrator: If the officer finds drugs, the package is sent to Murielle.

Murielle Lodvil: That’s 4,000-plus pills here.

Narrator: But if he finds a counterfeit good, it’s sent to Steve. We’ll start with Murielle.

Lodvil: The strangest areas that we find drugs concealed are radio speakers or even car bumpers. For some reason, they love to place cocaine in car bumpers. It’s crazy, where we even find drugs in Play-Dohs. Also books, children books. In between the lining of the pages, you’ll find drugs there.

Narrator: Murielle tests the drugs with a spectrometer called a Gemini. Using lasers, the machine can pierce through packaging and tell what drug is inside.

Lodvil: Right now, I’m gonna test this particular package. It’s telling me that it’s ketamine. It’s used for horse tranquilizer and also painkillers.

Narrator: Murielle will label the drugs based on where they fall among the DEA’s drug schedules, Schedule V being a drug with the lowest potential for abuse or dependence, like Robitussin, and Schedule I being a drug with the highest potential for abuse, like ecstasy.

Lodvil: We have the GBL coming from the Netherlands, and someone in New York is receiving it. Steroid, a Schedule III, coming from Hong Kong. Then we have the carisoprodol coming from India. And then we have the tramadol coming from Singapore.

Narrator: Any scheduled drugs will be seized.

Lodvil: There is no day that we come to work that we don’t find anything. Every day is a sense of importance because of the fact that we taking out those particular drugs from the street.

Narrator: The narcotics unit had over 7,600 seizures in 2018, including 246 pounds of cocaine and over 360 pounds of ecstasy.

Now, back to Steve. He’s the one that gets all the counterfeit goods. That’s anything that infringes on a company’s intellectual property rights, or IPR. Think fake Air Jordans, Gucci purses, or Rolex watches. Companies like Louis Vuitton and Gucci train Steve on the telltale signs for spotting a fake. While most of the tips are kept top secret to protect the brand, there are a few things that Steve could share with us.

Steve Nethersole: The first, when it comes in, is the country of origin. These high-end manufacturers here, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, they’re coming from France, Italy, Spain. The watch is coming from Switzerland. When it’s coming from China, bing, that’s your No. 1 red flag. Then you look at the dilapidated boxes, so that’s two red flags there. A third thing is commingling. The high-end manufacturers never commingle their products, like, in other words, a Gucci inside a Fendi or a Louis Vuitton. These people will stuff watches, a wallet, inside a handbag. And so, they’ll never commingle their products. They are so precise.

Some of the things I could say, like, some of the manufacturers, they don’t put any of this in it, the filler, inside it. They would never do that. We’ll look at the smell. Sometimes it smells like petroleum. It’s not real leather. We look at the stitching. We look at the symmetry of the logos by the manufacturer, the zippers. This one here is a Coach bag with a Michael Kors zipper. This coat has “Burbelly” on the buttons instead of Burberry, so these are the comical things that we find when you look at it up close, and you could pick it right out.

Narrator: Counterfeit goods make up an estimated trillion-dollar industry that’s even been linked to terrorist groups around the world. In 2018, CBP had over 1,800 IPR seizures. And if all those counterfeit goods had gone on to sell at their suggested retail price, they’d total an estimated $54 million. So, where do all these seized goods end up anyway?

Well, most of the narcotics and counterfeit goods will be sent to a top-secret incinerator to be destroyed. Some of the drugs will go under further testing, while some of the counterfeit goods may be donated if the offended company allows it. But, in some cases, if the illegal goods are part of a greater investigation, CBP officers will actually put that package back in the mail. Then, they’ll track it all the way to the person it was sent to. This is known as a “controlled shipment.”

Lodvil: I’m the one who opened that package, and now I’m involved in this controlled delivery. Now I get to finish the story. All right, now we go out. We knocked on your door, you open. Hello, we noticed that you’ve ordered, you know, this particular package. It’s MDMA. What’s the story behind it? So then, we listen.

Narrator: But whether they’re up against fake Guccis or dangerous amounts of fentanyl, CBP stands guard at the country’s busiest mail facility.

Lake: This is where it comes. You don’t see it all the time coming across the border in trucks and big bundles, like the TV will have you see. This is where it’s all coming from, and it hits the street and it destroys lives. So, in our way, if we can stop it here, it’s one less tragic story, probably, that we’re gonna have to hear about.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in September 2019.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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

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

  • JetBlue Airways has taken delivery of its first aircraft with the new Mint business class cabin.
  • The private suites offer new fan-favorite amenities like direct aisle access and wireless charging.
  • The long-awaited flights to London from the East Coast are slated to begin in the third quarter of 2021.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

JetBlue Airways’ swanky new business class suites have landed.

The New York-based carrier marked another milestone towards launching flights to London having taken delivery of its first Airbus A321neo with the upgraded business class seats that flyers will enjoy on transatlantic flights later this year.

Even casual Mint flyers will immediately notice the difference in the new product. Every seat offers fan favorites like direct aisle access and closeable doors that offer the utmost privacy, all in a residential-style designed suite.

The A321neo is one of JetBlue’s newest aircraft and can be found flying JetBlue’s longest routes including New York-Guayaquil, Ecuador thanks to its increased range and cost-saving economics. It’s also known for its quiet cabin and ultra-modern features like mood lighting.

The jet that will take JetBlue to Europe, however, has yet to arrive. The Airbus A321neoLR offers an even greater amount of range and JetBlue plans to pack it with even more business class suites to accommodate the near-endless supply of premium flyers on the route.

And before London flights takeoff, the suites will first make a West Coast debut on the New York-Los Angeles route this summer. JetBlue’s long-awaited transatlantic flights have been delayed due to the pandemic but are set to launch in the third quarter.

Here’s a sneak peek at the business class suites that will soon take JetBlue flyers to Los Angeles, London, and beyond.

The new Mint cabin on the A321neo is comprised of 16 business class suites arranged in a 1-1 configuration.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

Each seat is angled in what’s known as a herringbone configuration, allowing the airline to fit more seats in the cabin while maintaining privacy. It’s an upgrade from the current Mint product as there are no paired seats in any row.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

JetBlue offers two types of seats in the cabin. There’s the standard “Mint Suite…”.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

And the larger “Mint Studio,” the cabin’s flagship seat.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

The cabin has 14 Mint Suites spanning seven rows while the first row has the only Mint Studios, and they come at an additional premium.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

Those that pay extra for the Mint Studio get an entire 22.7-square-foot cabin to themselves.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

There’s more room to spread out, especially when the seat is in the lie-flat position.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

JetBlue even installed a separate cushioned seat here so a companion can share the space.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

Other amenities exclusive to the seat include a personal closet that can be used to store anything from a purse to shoes or a jacket. A small mirror is there to help freshen up after, say, an overnight flight to London

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

The in-flight entertainment screens in these enclaves are also the largest on the plane at 22 inches.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

An additional tray table is built-in so companions can share a meal or get work done together. And if traveling solo, the table can also be used as simply an additional countertop to hold papers, a laptop, or food items.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

The screen doesn’t extend all the way, however, so watching a movie together might difficult.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

Standard seat amenities are also included like a tethered remote to control the in-flight entertainment…

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

A large countertop with individually-controlled lighting…

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

Wireless charging capabilities…

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

And a laptop holder under the screen, among other unique touches.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

The regular suites are narrower but still comfortable and spacious when seated thanks to the suite’s curved walls.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

For those that love looking out of the window, however, the angle of the seat makes doing that a bit harder as it requires turning one’s head at least 90 degrees.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

Placed on each seat will be the standard business class amenities for the flight. A new service offering was just rolled out in November that includes a new partnership with the Delicious Hospitality Group, Tuft & Needle, Wanderfuel, and Master & Dynamic.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

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

Among other items, passengers will get a pair of JetBlue-specific Master & Dynamic noise-isolating headphones…

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

Bedding kit from Tuft & Needle…

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

And a wellness kit from Wanderfuel.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

Privacy-minded travelers at each seat can close the suite door for additional exclusivity.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

A blue “do not disturb” sign can also be activated to let flight attendants know to skip certain passengers for the meal service.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

All seats in the cabin were developed by Tuft & Needle, JetBlue’s new sleep partner, and double as mattress pads for when it’s time to sleep. Tuft & Needle also created the bedding that includes a “foot nook.”

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

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

Screens in the suites are slightly smaller at 17 inches.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

A fun fact about the in-flight entertainment screens is that they can be extended away from the wall during takeoff and landing, something most other airlines haven’t been able to offer.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

This A321neo only has eight rows of Mint but the London-bound aircraft will have at least four more rows for a total of 24 seats.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

Those riding in the back won’t have their own suites but will still get to experience some of JetBlue’s latest products.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

The rest of the cabin is split between extra legroom seats, known as “Even More Space” seats…

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

And regular economy seats, known as “Core” seats.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

True to name, Even More Space seats on this aircraft offer between 35 and 38 inches of seat pitch, depending on seat location, and 18 inches of width.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

Source: SeatGuru

Regular economy seats, alternatively, offer 32 inches of seat pitch and the same amount of width.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

Source: SeatGuru

As for entertainment, JetBlue installed the latest in-flight entertainment product complete with movies, television shows, games, device pairing, and a moving map, among other features.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

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

These screens clock in at 10.1 inches and offer high-definition content.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

A cool feature of economy is the “pantry,” a self-serve snack and beverage bar where flyers can take food items as they please without bugging the flight attendants.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

Flyers can also connect to JetBlue’s complimentary satellite WiFI onboard the aircraft, even while over the ocean or above a foreign country.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

Mood lighting is a key feature of the aircraft, especially on long-haul flights.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

Each lighting profile coincides with a specific phase of flight, whether it be the daytime meal service or cruising at altitude at night.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

Mood lighting is also intended to link up with a traveler’s circadian rhythm to help adjust to each phase of flight.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

Warm colors induce relaxation for when it’s time to sleep and cool colors wake the body up.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

Each suite has its own lamp with different mood lights controlled by the occupant.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

And the Mint Studios are the only seats that come with two lamps.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

The lighting extends through the entire aircraft, not just business class.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

On the outside of the plane, keen flyers will also notice a new tail design on the back of the plane. Called “ribbons,” the design uses optical art to create the illusion of movement.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

And powering the aircraft are two Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan engines.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

Piloting the A321neo requires minor additional training and pilots will be able to fly it interchangeably with other Airbus A320 family aircraft in JetBlue’s fleet.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

JetBlue flyers can expect to see this aircraft flying this summer, first between New York and Los Angeles before expanding across JetBlue’s route network.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

Transatlantic travelers will then be enjoying this cabin by the end of the year.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft with new Mint business class seats.

Read the original article on Business Insider

British Airways has reportedly sent its most iconic jet since the Concorde to be scrapped. See inside the plane that shuttled VIP flyers between New York and London.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
A British Airways Airbus A318 aircraft.

  • British Airways is scrapping the all-business class jet that only served the London-New York route.
  • The Airbus A318 stretched only eight rows and was fitted with luxurious lie-flat seats. 
  • The flight used London’s smaller City Airport to directly connect the Big Apple with London’s financial district. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

British Airways just dealt a blow to its premium customers as the airline is scrapping the all-business class aircraft formerly offered on the billion-dollar London-New York flagship route, Aviation Week reported.

The VIP-configured Airbus A318 aircraft was the only one of its kind in the British Airways fleet when its retirement was announced in July. The service boasted enhanced convenience and luxury to the business travelers that frequented the route and, with capacity for only 32 passengers, it was among the closest to a private jet in the airline world. 

British Airways used the service to solidify its place as the route’s go-to premium carrier, replacing the Concorde as the crown jewel of the airline’s transatlantic offering. The smaller and more exclusive A318 service catered to the airline’s top spenders with a direct link between New York City and London’s financial district. 

It was also a bucket list flight for many aviation enthusiasts since the A318 was already itself a rare aircraft on which to fly, let alone on a transatlantic journey and in an all-business class configuration. But the aircraft is no longer in British Airways’ fleet after being sent to be dismantled in the Netherlands, according to Aviation Week.

Take a look inside the most exclusive aircraft to connect New York and London since the Concorde.

Most people traveling between New York and London on British Airways before the pandemic found themselves either flying on a Boeing 747-400…

British Airways Boeing 747
A British Airways Boeing 747-400 at JFK Airport.

Or Boeing 777-200.

British Airways Boeing 777
A British Airways Boeing 777.

The two make up the majority of flights flying the $1 billion route between the two economic hubs but most don’t know about the third aircraft that flew British Airways’ top clients: the Airbus A318.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
A British Airways Airbus A318 aircraft.

Read More: These 10 global flight routes are where airlines made the most money in 2018 and 2019

The smallest member of the Airbus A320 family, the A318 was a commercial flop for Airbus that only saw a handful of customers, mostly in Europe.

Airbus A318
An Airbus A318 aircraft in house colors.

The aircraft is out of production and though British Airways was among the last and smallest operators of the type, it made the aircraft an icon in transatlantic aviation by flying it between New York and London.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
A British Airways Airbus A318 aircraft.

While the thought of flying on a short-haul aircraft across the Atlantic may seem unappealing, there’s a catch to this aircraft in that it’s configured in an all-business class configuration.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

Only 32 seats make up that sole premium cabin that’s spread out across eight rows.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

And though small in size, this A318 had no shortage of comfort as all rows featured business class seats with fully lie-flat capabilities. These seats are not found on similar aircraft.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

Amenities and features at each seat standard for business class included a plush pillow and blanket kit from The White Company….

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

Amenity kit from The White Company…

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

Foldable tray table…

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

Personal reading lamp…

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

Literature holder…

British Airways A318 Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

110v AC power outlet…

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

Coat hangar…

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

And adjustable headrest.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

Apple iPads were also distributed in lieu of seat-back entertainment screens.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

Each row also had multiple windows for better views of the crossing during the day.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

Though the standard in business class is now enclosed private suites which the A318 didn’t offer, a small divider separated the paired seats for an additional morsel of privacy.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour

Only three flight attendants serviced the passengers, providing a full business class meal service and drinks for the 3,000-nautical mile journey.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

The seats were controlled via the armrest, with numerous customizable positions.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour

The lie-flat capability of the seats was ideal for the evening red-eye flight from New York to London, allowing business travelers to get a comfortable full night’s rest and head straight to work or meetings the next morning.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

British Airways frequently saw passengers arriving in New York and London only to return within the next 24 hours, with the near downtown-to-downtown service allowing for a quick and luxurious in-and-out of the world’s top business centers.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

While not the most modern business class product, the service as a whole made the Airbus A318 the aircraft of choice for those who could afford it when flying between London and New York.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour

And with only eight rows and 32 seats, the aircraft felt more like a private jet than a commercial airliner. Case in point, the flight before my visit in March 2020 only had five passengers on board.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

As the aircraft couldn’t make it from London to New York nonstop – even with the reduced passenger load – it made a stop in Shannon, Ireland for fuel, where it also cleared US Customs and Border Protection.

US Customs and Border Patrol immigration terrorism refugees
A US Customs and Border Protection agent.

Upon landing in New York, passengers onboard BA1 arrived in the terminal as they would if it were a domestic flight, with no further passport checks required.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Terminal 7 at JFK International Airport.

British Airways only had one A318 in its fleet, G-EUNA, which solely flew this route.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
A British Airways Airbus A318 aircraft.

Designed with business travelers in mind, the aircraft flew every day of the week except Saturdays.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
A British Airways Airbus A318 aircraft.

It was intended to fill the gap left by the Concorde in 2003, with the A318’s first flight occurring in 2009.

Concorde
A British Airways Concorde aircraft.

G-EUNA flew the flag on British Airways’ flagship route wearing either the flight number BA1 or BA2 – depending on which direction it was flying – for 11 years before the coronavirus pandemic ended its tenure permanently in July.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
A British Airways Airbus A318 aircraft.

Though not as fast as Concorde, the service was nearly every bit as exclusive, earning the nickname “Concorde’s baby sister.”

British Airways Airbus A318 Tour
A British Airways Airbus A318 aircraft.

Read the original article on Business Insider