JetBlue Drops Birchbox In Favor Of Niche Brand

JetBlue’s Mint premium customers will receive a custom-designed amenity kit from Hayward and Hopper starting in November. 

Previously, customers received a kit from Birchbox. JetBlue says that, with the addition of the New York brand, it is “returning classic Hollywood sophistication to air travel.”

Hayward and Hopper creator and founder Marin Hopper, daughter of Hollywood legends Dennis Hopper and Brooke Hayward, drew upon her creativity, personal style and extensive family archives to create “chic, comforting and classic” amenity kits for JetBlue’s Mint. JetBlue partnered with in-flight experience specialists Clip to create the kits.

The Hayward kit, designed for female customers, is made from signature Hayward denim and includes a delicate brass zipper, designed by her legendary grandfather, Leland Hayward. The Hopper kit, designed for men, is fabricated in a natural cotton canvas with an artisanal feel.



All personal care products included in the kits are made in the United States and hand-picked by Hayward and Hopper. Each kit also comes with a matching eye mask as well as screen cloths illustrated with photographs taken by Hollywood legend Dennis Hopper and provided by the Hopper Art Trust archives.

“We loved the Hayward and Hopper sense of New York sophistication and old Hollywood style — a nod to our launch cities that fell in love with Mint from the start,” said Jamie Perry, vice president of marketing at JetBlue, in a release.

Travel industry analyst Henry H. Harteveldt, founder of Atmosphere Research Group, said a beautifully and thoughtfully designed amenity case can find its way into subsequent use by the traveler, whether to hold electronic accessories, toiletries and cosmetics, or other items. That can serve as a helpful “reminder” marketing tool.

The previous Birchbox kits were unique and a very “on-brand” partnership for JetBlue, he says.

“I am a bit disappointed that JetBlue wants to tie into the ‘old Hollywood glamour’ concept,” Hartevedlt tells Marketing Daily. “Not only does that seem trite, but it’s not original, and originality has been a cornerstone of JetBlue’s brand since its launch. It would make more sense for JetBlue to associate itself with contemporary icons and style-makers — the people who define our world of entertainment, style fashion, and technology today (and who will do so tomorrow).”

The variety of the BirchBox offering made it a fun and exciting touchpoint in the Mint experience, he adds. 

“Importantly, BirchBox was also a name known among Mint customers (or prospective customers) on both coasts,” he says. “Hayward and Hopper appears to be a fashion accessory brand — and not a well-known one at that, which may induce a 'who’s this?' response from Mint passengers.”

JetBlue is adding more markets to its Mint premium experience, which was introduced first on San Francisco-to-New York flights as an alternative to what the airline called “outdated” business class offerings. 

The airline plans to bring Mint to 13 cities with 70+ daily flights by the end of 2018. Mint is currently offered on select flights to Aruba, Barbados, Boston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. New service to Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Maarten begins in November and Las Vegas, San Diego and Seattle in 2017.

JetBlue’s Mint product remains at the forefront of the premium transcon experience, Harteveldt says. Its passengers appreciate Mint for the quality, style, comfort and value Mint offers. JetBlue is also offering a good schedule, which is critically important to business travelers, and which also gives JetBlue an advantage over Virgin America. 

“But JetBlue needs to enhance the Mint experience,” Harteveldt says. “For example, Mint lacks an airport lounge component, leaving it at a substantial disadvantage to American and Delta, its two top competitors, both of whom have shown a willingness to compete against JetBlue on price.”

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