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Gone are the days of boarding back-to-front on JetBlue Airways, a tactic some of its oldest customers may remember from the airline’s earlier years. This was an efficiency-based model that briefly returned at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic as the airline sought to reduce passenger contact points.
These days, though, the New York-based carrier uses a more nuanced boarding process that looks a lot more like the boarding procedures other large U.S. airlines use.
Add in JetBlue’s phased expansion overseas into Europe, plus an evolving True Blue loyalty program that increasingly allows customers to earn status perks (including earlier boarding) through credit card spending as well as air travel. In short: There are several reasons for travelers to get acquainted with how the airline’s boarding processes now work.
Let’s take a look at JetBlue's boarding groups.
The 10 JetBlue boarding groups
Each airline has quirks in how it denotes boarding groups. Some use letters, others use numbers and still others use a combination of both.
How many boarding groups does JetBlue have? The answer is 10.
In JetBlue’s case, the boarding procedures primarily rely on letter-based groups, but there are some non-lettered groups, too — which means you’ll want to listen carefully to the gate agent.
Mosaic Elite and Mint
All other passengers
Mosaic/Mint Elites (Group 2)
A key difference in JetBlue’s boarding process compared to some other airlines is that all Mosaic status members are essentially granted equal priority when it comes to boarding.
Along with Mint (first) cabin passengers, all Mosaic members will board in the first group after pre-boarding.
In addition to boarding first, JetBlue’s “priority” boarding lane is reserved for this group, so members who show up or choose to board at any point during the boarding process should be able to cut the line, so to speak, by using the priority lane.
Group A boarding (Group 3)
While most domestic JetBlue flights do not have a first class cabin, they do have Even More Space seats, which give passengers up to 7 inches of extra legroom.
In addition to a more comfortable flying experience, these passengers also get to board early in Group A.
There are a few ways to score an Even More Space seat. On top of spending a bit extra for a ticket, Mosaic elite status members can select these seats, free of charge, as availability allows.
Mosaic 1 passengers can select Even More Space seats for free at check-in.
Those with Mosaic 2 and higher status can select Even More Space seats for free upon booking.
Cardholders who carry the JetBlue Business Card also earn Group A boarding as part of the card’s suite of benefits, which comes with a $99 annual fee.
Finally, customers who spend extra on their ticket for a Blue Extra fare, which includes added flexibility for changes and cancellations, also earn the right to board with Group A.
Group B through F boarding (Groups 5-9)
Groups B through F are JetBlue’s general boarding groups. So, how do you know which group you’ll end up in? It’s hard to predict on any given flight.
The group on your boarding pass is “determined by seat location and check-in to optimize boarding times,” the airline says.
There are a few caveats that offer some clues, though.
Members who have earned 10, 20, 30 or 40 Mosaic tiles en route to elite status can choose Group B boarding as part of True Blue’s new “Perks You Pick” program.
Also, customers who purchased a JetBlue Vacations package will board with Group B (if they don’t meet the criteria for one of the earlier boarding groups). Finally, flyers who select a JetBlue Blue Basic fare — the carrier’s version of basic economy — will be assigned either Group E or F.
» Learn more: The guide to Blue Basic on JetBlue
No boarding group listed
Occasionally, passengers might find that they have no boarding group listed on their boarding pass. In this case, they’ll board when the gate agent calls for "All remaining passengers" to board, following Group F.
These passengers bring up the rear of the 10 individual boarding groups.
How are JetBlue boarding groups assigned?
JetBlue passengers are assigned to the highest boarding group for which they qualify.
For Mosaic and Mint customers, it’s simple: they’ll board in the first group regardless of where they’re sitting on the plane, or the type of fare they booked — that goes even for those elite members traveling on Blue Basic tickets.
In most cases, companions traveling on the same reservation can enjoy the boarding perks of the highest priority passenger, though the airline suggests that all members of a traveling party check in at the same time to ensure the benefits apply.
How can you get earlier boarding on JetBlue?
There are a variety of ways to score earlier boarding on JetBlue, from qualifying for elite status with the carrier, spending and earning perks via one of its co-branded credit cards like the JetBlue Business Card or selecting a premium seat,
Here are a few of your options.
Book a Mint suite or studio
Mint studios and suites are the highest-end accommodations JetBlue offers.
Featuring lie-flat beds, and an array of premium inflight services like larger entertainment screens, stepped-up dining and amenity kits, Mint resembles a business class product.
JetBlue offers this cabin on select transcontinental and Caribbean routes, and all of its flights to Europe aboard its Airbus A321-LR (long-range) aircraft; so far, it flies to London from New York and Boston, and will soon start service from both northeast cities to Paris.
Customers who book these accommodations will automatically earn priority boarding.
Qualify for Mosaic status
All of JetBlue’s Mosaic members board in the first group — at the same time as Mint passengers. This goes even for Mosaic passengers seated in the main cabin.
JetBlue has recently changed some of the qualifications for Mosaic status.
Following a trend numerous other airlines have employed in their respective loyalty programs, True Blue members can reach Mosaic by earning “tiles” when flying with JetBlue (as long as their True Blue number attached to the reservation), or through spending on eligible credit cards like the JetBlue Plus Card.
50 tiles will qualify True Blue members for the initial, Mosaic 1 status level, at which point they’ll earn priority boarding along with a host of other status perks like same-day flight changes, Even More Space access and dedicated customer service.
The “other” perks sweeten as Mosaic members continue to earn more tiles, and reach higher tiers of status.
Book an Even More Space seat
By booking an Even More Space seat, you’ll get to board in Group A, essentially the second official boarding group on JetBlue.
Earn Perks You Pick
JetBlue allows non-elite status members to start getting a small taste of Mosaic before actually qualifying through “Perks You Pick.”
After accruing 10, 20, 30 and 40 tiles (leading up to the 50-tile Mosaic qualification benchmark) True Blue members can select from a list of perks, one of which is Group B boarding.
Once selected, True Blue members will enjoy this perk until they reach Mosaic, at which point they’d be eligible to board with the other elite status members. One caveat: for non-elite members, this perk does not apply to Blue Basic tickets.
Open a JetBlue credit card
Frequent JetBlue flyers who decide to open one of the airline’s co-branded credit cards have the opportunity to earn early boarding, depending on the card.
Cardholders who carry the JetBlue Business Card will receive Group A boarding, along with up to four of their traveling companions. The card carries a $99 annual fee, and includes a host of other airline perks.
Cardholders with the JetBlue Plus Card can earn 1 Mosaic tile for every $1,000 of spending. That means, after $10,000 in spending, cardholders would earn the 10 tiles required for the first of the “Perks You Pick,” of which Group B boarding is a choice.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
Purchase a Blue Extra fare
Blue Basic ticket tightens up the flexibility rules and forces passengers to board in one of the last groups, flyers who pay more for a Blue Extra ticket will enjoy Group A boarding, and more flexibility when it comes to changing a reservation.
JetBlue boarding groups recapped
JetBlue has 10 total boarding groups, including pre-boarding, courtesy boarding and final boarding. There are seven uniquely named boarding groups: Mint/Mosaic followed by Groups A through F.
Disabled passengers needing a bit of extra time to board can do so before anyone else. Active military personnel and families with young children in strollers and car seats can board after Group A, prior to the start of general boarding.
While it’s a more nuanced process than JetBlue employed during its earlier years in operation, knowing when you can expect to board can be a key part of removing stress ahead of your next flight.
(Top photo courtesy of JetBlue Airways)
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