JetBlue is expanding its premium Mint service to four new cities, adding more cross-country routes for corporate flyers and affluent travelers.
The four cities—Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, San Diego, and Seattle—will be added to the current Mint options in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston by 2017, the company announced on Tuesday. Once it opens, flyers will get to purchase seats in the Mint cabin, a luxury section of first-class that includes lie-flat seating, four “private suites,” and 15-inch flat video screens.
The expansion of JetBlue’s (JBLU) Mint service comes after the airline lost out to Alaska Air Group (ALK) in the deal to purchase Virgin America last week. As the deal was in the works, analysts remarked that the deal would make sense for JetBlue as a means to grow on the West Coast.
The Alaska-Virgin merger made the new entity the fifth biggest airline in the U.S., and directly threatens JetBlue’s standing as the nation’s fifth largest airline by traffic.
However, neither Alaska Airlines nor Virgin America offer flat-bed seating, something JetBlue hopes to cement on its increasingly popular service. Since launching Mint routes in mid-2014, JetBlue has seen flourishing demand as flyers choose its more affordable premium offering over those sold by airlines like American Airlines (AAL) and Delta (DAL).
Competitors have also reportedly been forced to lower premium fares by as much as 40% to compete with Mint routes. “Mint’s curated offering and personalized service continues to win over customers who have grown weary of legacy carriers’ tired premium offering,” Marty St. George, JetBlue’s executive vice president of commercial and planning, has said previously.