I Just Arrived in Edinburgh on JetBlue's First Flight to Scotland — Here's What to Expect on the New Route

Its inaugural celebrations also include discounted fares for a limited time.

<p>Courtesy of Alison Fox </p>

Courtesy of Alison Fox

It may have been lightly raining on my final descent into Edinburgh, but the hint of gloomy weather couldn’t dim my excitement on this milestone journey across the pond.

Just about seven hours earlier, I had left New York on JetBlue’s inaugural flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to the Scottish capital. The flight, which was first announced last year, marked the fifth European city for the airline.

“It's incredible to think that in just 24 years, we've grown from being a small carrier to now serving more than 100 destinations,” Warren Christie, JetBlue’s chief operating officer, said at the gate ahead of a ribbon cutting ceremony. “Adding Edinburgh to our network… sets us up to introduce JetBlue’s low fares and incredible service to the rest of the world.”

JetBlue will fly to Edinburgh daily for the summer season through Sept. 30 on its Airbus A321neo aircraft. Flights will take off from New York at 9:12 p.m., arriving at 9:30 a.m. local time the next day. JetBlue will then take off from Edinburgh at 12:30 p.m. and return to New York at  3:06 p.m. local time.

And now may be the time to book as the airline is celebrating the launch of its Edinburgh flights with introductory fares starting at $499 roundtrip for Core and starting at $2,999 for Mint. To take advantage, travelers must purchase a roundtrip flight and stay for at least three nights and book by May 24 and travel between May 28 and July 31.

In addition to Edinburgh, JetBlue operates flights to London (its first foray into Europe, which it launched in 2021), along with Paris, Amsterdam, and Dublin.

<p>Courtesy of JetBlue</p>

Courtesy of JetBlue

On Wednesday evening, the celebrations began at the gate with blue and white Scottish bunting, beef stew, and shortbread cookies welcoming travelers. The treats continued once on board with Tunnock's teacakes (a Scottish version of the beloved Mallomar), coconut snowballs, and more, along with American and Scottish flags laid out at each seat in alternating order.

Settled into seat 2F in the airline’s Mint cabin, I placed my meal order on the 17-inch TV screen and extended my leg rest. I watched Wonka and sipped a spicy margarita with pineapple, chile, and lime, before enjoying a collection of small plates (a highlight was the chilled pea soup with mint oil and puffed wild rice).

<p>Courtesy of Alison Fox</p>

Courtesy of Alison Fox

Each JetBlue Mint menu is curated by the New York-based Delicious Hospitality Group, which includes restaurants Charlie Bird, Pasquale Jones, and Legacy Records. The airline also offers an express “Savor & Sleep” menu, which comes complete with several courses but served together so you can drift off to sleep quickly.

After enjoying every last bite of my dinner and indulging in a chocolate marshmallow cream, I pulled out the Tuft & Needle bedding, fluffed my blanket, slid my door shut for privacy, and turned my seat into a fully lie-flat bed to catch a couple hours of sleep before landing.

The aircraft features a total of 16 Mint seats, including two front-row Mint studio seats, which are larger and include more storage and even space for a guest. There are also 144 Core seats — JetBlue’s version of economy — in which passengers are treated to meals from New York-based Dig along with a self-serve snack pantry.

<p>Courtesy of Alison Fox</p>

Courtesy of Alison Fox

After we landed, I peered out the window to find a group of passengers boarding a Ryanair flight happily waving at us as a welcome from the tarmac and couldn’t help but get excited for what lay ahead. I then headed into the city, past stately Victorian buildings, and checked into the iconic The Balmoral hotel.

The property features 167 rooms and 20 suites overlooking the hum of the city and boasting gorgeous views of city landmarks like Edinburgh Castle and the Scott Monument (and even includes binoculars in some rooms to take full advantage). The hotel makes for an impressive facade set right between Edinburgh’s Old Town and New, and offers a great jumping off point to explore the city.

From there, I will explore the intricacies of whiskey at several planned tastings (it is Scotland, after all), pop into bespoke tartan workshops, and explore the castle and decommissioned The Royal Yacht Britannia — which fans of the Netflix show The Crown may remember as a favorite of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Eventually, I will head north to the Highlands, and I know I’m not alone in wanting to explore more of this wild and beautiful country. JetBlue certainly agrees.

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