JetBlue Reduces Delay Compensation

Filed Under: JetBlue

In the US we don’t have especially robust consumer protection laws when it comes to airlines. For example, in Europe you have EU261, where airlines have to pay passengers up to 600EUR in cash compensation for flight delays.

In the US there are no circumstances under which airlines are legally required to provide cash compensation to passengers. They are required to take care of passengers (with food and accommodation) in the event of extended delays within their control, but that’s it.

JetBlue publishes compensation amounts

While most airlines publish some sort of passenger “bill of rights,” there’s usually not much to them. JetBlue is unique in that way, because JetBlue publishes their compensation amounts for various types of delays.

They tell you exactly how much you’ll be compensated in the event of a delay, cancelation, etc. They’re the only US airline I know of where that’s the case, as most US airlines decide on compensation based on status, ticket type, etc.

JetBlue publishes compensation amounts for the following problems (all only for “controllable irregularities”):

  • Cancelations
  • Departure delays
  • Onboard ground delays, either on arrival or departure

On the one hand I have to commend JetBlue for publishing this stuff, but I should also note that JetBlue is known to stick to these amounts. In the end they might not actually be more generous than other airlines, and quite to the contrary, might offer less than other airlines.

In other words, if a Mosaic member on an expensive ticket experiences a delay one minute under the threshold for compensation, expect nothing.

JetBlue reduces compensation amounts

JetBlue appears to have quietly reduced some compensation amounts as of 2020.

The most common type of compensation they offer is for departure delays that are within their control (in other words, mechanical issues or late inbounds), and they’ve updated the amounts that they pay out.

Through 2019, JetBlue offered:

  • A $75 credit for a delay of 3hr to 3hr59min
  • A $100 credit for a delay of 4hr to 4hr59min
  • A $150 credit for a delay of 5hr to 5hr59min
  • A $250 credit for a delay of 6hr or more

As of 2020, JetBlue offers:

  • A $50 credit for a delay of 3hr to 3hr59min
  • A $100 credit for a delay of 4hr to 4hr59min
  • A $150 credit for a delay of 5hr to 5hr59min
  • A $200 credit for a delay of 6hr or more

As as you can see, they’ve reduced compensation at the lower limit by $25, and at the upper limit by $50.

Other compensation amounts remain the same

The other compensation amounts offered by JetBlue remain the same. For cancelations, the airline offers:

  • A $50 credit for a cancelation within 4hr of flight
  • A $100 credit for a cancelation after scheduled departure

For onboard ground delays on departure, the airline offers:

  • A $100 credit for a delay of 3hr to 4hr59min
  • A $175 credit for a delay of 5hr to 5hr59min
  • A $250 credit for a delay of 6hr or more

For onboard ground delays on arrival, the airline offers:

  • A $50 credit for a delay of 1hr to 1hr59min
  • A $125 credit for a delay of 2hr to 2hr59min
  • A $200 credit for a delay of 3hr or more

Bottom line

I commend JetBlue for at least publishing compensation amounts for all passengers, unlike their US competitors.

At the same time, it’s unfortunate to see compensation cut, and the amounts aren’t exactly generous (a $50 credit for a nearly four hour delay?). This is also definitely a double-edged sword, as the airline tends to stick to these amounts and thresholds, so don’t expect that emailing in will get you anything for delays shorter than the published minimums.

(Tip of the hat to Doctor Of Credit)

  1. Wow that’s bad. In comparison SAS offers flight credits as well. When I was delayed 5 hrs between New York and Oslo I got the choice between €600, 60000 miles or a €1200 travel voucher. That is 8x the amount of JetBlue.

  2. @Ole – As Lucky has explained, SAS and other European carriers’ generosity comes from government regulations called EU 261.

  3. Qatar Airways offers a $1000 delay if your flight is delayed for more than an hour.

    Just joking. They don’t. It’s a terrible airline. Fly Emirates instead.

  4. EU261 really is one of the best (or perhaps only…) perks to live in the EU. Last year, I got more than 4000 USD in flight delay compensation from SAS and Turkish, without having to fight at all.

  5. I have received credits of $100 and $50 the past 2 times I flew Jetblue Mint to both Costa Rica and Barbados in 2019. And the delays were around an hour. The email with the credit hits your inbox as soon as you land.

  6. @Lukas
    Ah nice – that’s the ideal case, though. You still have airlines like Swiss that like to think that EU261 doesn’t exist – you really need to fight them to get stuff done

  7. @Lukas @FortyTwo
    Yes, EU261 is really good, but the problem is that there’s no enforcement mechanism, so if the airline denies your totally valid claim, you need to lawyer up and sue… Which of course decreases the compensation amount.

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