JetBlue Increasing Checked Bag & Change Fees

Filed Under: JetBlue

In general in the US I tend to think we have three prevalent airline business models:

  • On one end of the spectrum you have Southwest, which doesn’t have basic economy and continues to offer free checked bags; they march to the beat of their own drum
  • On the other end of the spectrum you have ultra low cost carriers like Frontier and Spirit, which charge for everything
  • Then you have American, Delta, and United, which copy one another on just about all changes, and are doing everything they can to lead the way to the bottom and match their ultra low cost rivals

Then you have a couple of airlines that can’t seem to decide on a strategy — specifically, Alaska and JetBlue. These airlines don’t offer basic economy but also don’t offer free checked bags. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like they’re able to command much of a revenue premium for their generally customer friendly policies, and their stocks have been suffering. I’m not suggesting that’s entirely due to them taking an inbetween approach, though both airlines do seem a bit lost.

While JetBlue isn’t introducing basic economy, they have just announced that they’re increasing quite a few fees.

JetBlue increases checked bag fees

For tickets purchased as of today (August 27, 2018), JetBlue has increased the cost of the first checked bag from $25 to $30.

Here are their baggage fees as of today:

Here are their previous baggage fees:

As you can see, the cost of a second checked bag is increasing by $5 as well, while the cost of a third checked bag (and any additional bag beyond that) is increasing by $50.

JetBlue is the first US airline to charge more than $25 for the first checked bag, so it’s interesting to see them leading the way, given that they’re otherwise not the most fee-hungry airline.

I imagine American, Delta, and United will follow soon enough. They introduced checked bag fees years ago, so purely in terms of inflation it wouldn’t be surprising to see them raise these fees by 20%.

JetBlue increases change fees

JetBlue is also increasing ticket change and cancelation fees as of today.

For tickets booked before August 27, changes and cancelations made 60 or more days before departure incur just a $75 per person fee, regardless of the ticket cost. For changes made less than 60 days before departure, the following fees used to apply:

  • For tickets of $99.99 or less, a $75 fee
  • For tickets of $100 to $149.99, a $100 fee
  • For tickets of $150+, a $150 fee

Now JetBlue is eliminating the lower change fees when canceling 60 or more days in advance. Instead the fees will be based on ticket price no matter when you cancel, as follows:

  • For tickets of $99.99 or less, a $75 fee
  • For tickets of $100 to $149.99, a $100 fee
  • For tickets of $150-$199.99, a $150 fee
  • For tickets of $200+, a $200 fee

These fees apply for their most basic fares, while Mint fares have different fees.

That’s another unfortunate change. I always appreciate when airlines have lower fees when you cancel or change in advance, since that’s logical. The cost incurred by an airline is much lower when you cancel way in advance, since they can easily resell that seat. Unfortunately they’re following the industry trend here, so I’m not happy about these changes.

Bottom line

It’s unfortunate to see JetBlue increase fees in this way. In addition to the baggage and change fees, they’re also increasing the pet fee from $100 to $125.

What I find interesting here is that JetBlue is increasing these fees while still not introducing basic economy. Personally I sort of prefer JetBlue’s system, but I’m sure basic economy is coming soon enough.

Now it’s only a matter of time before American, Delta, and United follow with higher checked bag fees.

What do you make of JetBlue’s increased change and baggage fees?

  1. Years ago I had a r/t booked with USAirways where I needed to change the return about 8 weeks out. Researching the ridiculous $200 change fee, I decided to simply purchase a o/w on Southwest for ~$140 and decided to not tell USAir about my change in plans. Why should I help them re-sell the seat when they won’t help me get home?

    WN is still the only airline I feel any type of loyalty to, just due to their customer-friendly and flexible policies, makes a big difference to those traveling on their own time and own dime.

  2. Lucky:

    As a long time JetBlue customer, not happy but not shocked.

    1. Their refundable tickets are typically only $100 more so maybe that’s the way to go especially since their tickets sometimes fall in price close to departure dates.

    2. I thought I read somewhere they have a couple new board members with some connection to Spirit Airlines. Oh goodness….

    3. I just wish the traveling public was willing to pay a little more for better service. I can’t pay for biz all the time but I’ll pay $100 more for legroom, snacks, friendly service, etc.

    4. I hope they don’t dip below the 32” seat pitch threshold though that’s a big we’ll see.

  3. @Dan while I’m totally on board with what you did, I don’t think it’s a good idea today not to let airline know you are not taking that flight…. they may blacklist you.

    On to the topic at hand, sad to see them raising the rate. I had to lug a third luggage across country few weeks ago that cost me $100. I did a quick mental calculation… the hassle of sending the bag through places like ups/ fedex in nyc for the said bag wouldn’t be worth it so decided to spend that $100. But at $150, economics would tilt towards the hassle of hauling ass to a FedEx with a luggage in Manhattan.

  4. Sad to see JetBlue taking a turn for the worse. They use to not charge for checked bag and now look at how the tables have turned.

  5. Although not domestic, this is probably the domino effect of Air Canada announcing they were raising their North America bag fees to $30 and $50 last week.

    Only a matter of time before we see bag fee increases across the board.

  6. Never understood the jetBlue hype. Their IFE that they so brag about in their marketing is generally poor, even on their newest A321s. I couldn’t believe the piss poor quality of the screens. Second, service is nothing special. I encountered more unfriendly and rude flight attendants on jetBlue than United. Lastly, their snacks that they also brag about nonstop is unremarkable, especially now that DL and AA have reintroduced substantial complimentary food offerings on some transcon flights. The only redeeming factor for now is TruBlue.

  7. I guess the slime all Ben Baldanza is already starting his path of destruction. I will miss the original jetBlue Airways. Not that he is on their board, get ready for a slow painful destruction to that airline like he did to Spirit. (They really thrived once he was booted.)

  8. @Alex

    JetBlue hype was 10-15 years ago with personal IFE, free checked bags, and snacks when legacy carriers are going the opposite way.

    The hype is gone. Free WiFi, transcon Mint??? They are better than industry standard, not really ‘disruptive’ like they were decade ago.

  9. First time commenter, long time lurker and huge fan of this site.

    As my usual route for 20 years has been LA-NYC, B6 was for years my preferred airline. I was even a stockholder for a time. When the field was smaller, they truly were a different airline. They are still my preferred airline due to some amazing customer service I’ve received from them, but cracks are showing…

    I think something seemed to happen when VA got involved. They seemed to attract all the younger, hipper professionals with their mood lighting and ordering food from your seat. All of a sudden, B6’s Terra Chips and IFE seemed old …almost overnight. It seems like the direct competition from VA on those two transcon routes (NYC to LA and SFO) killed whatever made JetBlue special…or at least threw B6 for a loop and partially helped leas to their current identity crisis.

    I’ve noticed that where they used to be THE best priced carrier from NYC (BOS, WAS, and CHI) they are routinely more expensive now, even often more than Delta who, if you can avoid their crappy smaller planes, has a comparable level of service. On top of all of that, add TrueBlue’s limited redemption abilities and and low earning opportunities (worst dining program) and no partner for international redemptions, and you have an airline that has (for those of us who are relegated to coach seats) stagnated.

  10. @TravelinDandy : Still far easier to reach status than on a traditional carrier, the leg room is still the best in the business, and flying out of Long Beach and Ontario beats LAX 10 times out of 10

  11. @TravelinDandy

    I wouldn’t say VA killed B6 on transcon. I would say AA/DL really improved their game during the past 10 years. Everyone has IFE. Their A320 are much older. I can see VA attracted more ‘west-coast’ younger, hipper professionals but not the ‘east-coast’ younger, hipper professionals. I never see VA as disruptive as what the media was portraying, just another airline trying to position itself differently but end up competing in price. And yes B6 got way more expensive. They were cheaper than legacies back then.

  12. Yet on literally every non-Southwest flight I’ve gone on, they still have to plead with passengers to gate check their bags for free

  13. As a longtime Jetblue loyal flyer, credit card holder etc… In the past 8 months, I have completely ditched the airline. For me, sure they have a bit of extra legroom, IFE is nice, but their on-time performance is absolutely horrendous.

    This is an airline that just cannot figure out how to get people to a destination on time. B6 will continue to blame that most of their flights operate in the northeast corridor, but still, over 10% of their delays in the northeast are non-weather/non-traffic related. And let’s be honest, they are going to ditch what has made them popular to assimilate with the other legacy carriers. Expect legroom to go down, fees to go up, and I would not be surprised to see them slowly devaluate their points over the next few years.

  14. I think the charges are excessive, but I still prefer increased fees over basic economy. I just took JetBlue for a two and a half week trip to Haiti with just a carry-on. As long as I can have my free carry-on and personal item, I’m content.

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