Passengers exit a JetBlue Airways Corp. plane at Long Beach Airport (LGB) in Long Beach, California, U.S., on Monday, July 22, 2013.
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images
April 12, 2016 9:43 AM EDT

JetBlue’s premium “Mint” seating class is coming to a handful of new routes, the airline announced April 12.

The routes getting Mint service include New York/JFK to San Diego, Las Vegas, and Seattle; Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles and San Francisco; and Boston to San Diego and Seattle.

First introduced by the traditionally low-cost airline in 2014, Mint offers lie-flat seating, better food and other perks for a higher cost. Mint tickets start at $599 one-way on some routes. The service has proved popular with business travelers and others flying between the country’s coasts.

“Mint helped traditional business class travelers realize there is a better way,” said JetBlue President and CEO Robin Hayes in a statement. “Our plan has long called for strategic growth of Mint on these valuable transcontinental routes, and now is the right time for us to capture this opportunity to bring much needed competition where customers are facing dwindling choices.”

Some travel bloggers are already celebrating the move. Zach Honig, editor-in-chief of The Points Guy, called the news “exciting.” “If you’ve been on the fence about sending your airline loyalty to JetBlue, this new premium-cabin push may make the decision significantly easier,” wrote Honig.

The Mint expansion comes after JetBlue lost a bidding war to acquire Virgin America, a smaller, quirky airline popular with Silicon Valley techies. Alaska Airlines’ parent company paid $2.6 billion for Virgin, a move that will expand that Seattle-based carrier’s California footprint. For JetBlue, adding more Mint seats could help the airline compete for former Virgin customers fond of Virgin’s unique experience.

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