Coronavirus: JetBlue Will Waive Cancelation Fees On New Tickets

Filed Under: JetBlue

Airlines are being hit hard by the uncertainty from coronavirus, causing many to put off planning travel. JetBlue seemingly has an innovative solution for that.

JetBlue waiving change & cancelation fees

JetBlue has today announced that they will suspend all change and cancelation fees for newly booked tickets:

  • This is valid for flights booked between February 27 and March 11, 2020
  • This is valid for travel completed by June 1, 2020

This will apply to all fares offered by JetBlue, including Blue Basic fares, which usually can’t be changed or canceled. Even JetBlue Vacations flights can be changed and canceled.

Passengers who choose to cancel their flights will receive a travel credit for the full value of their ticket, which they can apply towards a future flight. Customers who want to change flights can apply the full amount from their original booking to a different itinerary, although fares differences may apply.

Why is JetBlue instituting this policy?

At this point there’s not any immediate reason to be concerned about coronavirus in the US, but JetBlue is introducing this policy to give customers confidence that they will not be charged any fees for changes or cancelations given how the coronavirus situation is evolving.

The big concern at the moment is with uncertainty, and JetBlue is addressing that.

As JetBlue President Joanna Geraghty describes the move:

“While authorities have not issued any travel restrictions to the locations we fly, we want to give our customers some peace of mind that we are ready to support them should the situation change.

Given our mission is to inspire humanity, we felt this suspension was an important way to live up to our crewmember and customer expectations during this uncertain time. We are committed to the health and safety of both our crewmembers and customers, and we are working directly with health and security officials as well as industry leaders for updates and best practices.”

Previously booked tickets don’t qualify

It’s perhaps worth specifically pointing out that previously booked tickets don’t qualify for this.

This promotion only applies for tickets purchased as of tomorrow (Thursday), and is clearly intended to generate additional business and put people at ease when they book flights over the next two weeks.

My take on JetBlue’s waived fee policy

The coronavirus situation is of course evolving at a fast pace, and no doubt it’s a hard situation for airlines to manage.

I have heard all kinds of situations of airlines not having much compassion, which isn’t surprising. Unfortunately the airline industry is largely no longer a people business.

What JetBlue is doing here is good for business:

  • They’re acknowledging the huge uncertainty that coronavirus is creating, so they’re putting people at ease
  • Assuming other airlines don’t match, they’re creating quite a competitive advantage to book with JetBlue over others

On the surface it rubs me the wrong way that they’re only applying this going forward and not to those who have already purchased tickets, though when I think about it more I take less issue with it:

  • This policy is being implemented to address the uncertainty caused by coronavirus in the US
  • Presumably if this does become at all a major issue in the US, we’ll see airlines issue travel waivers across the board, including for previously booked travel

What do you make of JetBlue waiving cancelation fees due to coronavirus?

Comments
  1. Ben,
    I take issue with this. Actually just today on the mist of travel to Europe, (I was suppose to head after for a Middle East trip), my customer had to cancel this ME trip. Therefore I am having to fly earlier back to USA. I had bought a separate ticket to JFK and was the connection onto Mint to SF. I had to also change the B6 ticket and they would not be flexible on waiving the $200 change fee. I can even prove that I had to cancel my other ticket. They could care less. The above is even more salt on that wound. The worst is that when I went to make the change the fare was the same. When I called the fare went up by $100 literally during the call as we moved away from 14 day Advance purchase as by the time they went to ticket we moved from midnight east coast time to 12:03 am. Really shitty.

  2. This is clearly a ploy to profit off the media fear mongering around the corona-virus. If Jetblue actually cared about its customers they would have had this policy apply to any current tickets not just newly booked tickets.

    This policy makes jet blue seem just as scummy as all other airlines.

  3. @Kevin B, no ploy, this is clearly meant to encourage people to book *new* tickets (at a lower risk, as Sel D noted, like SW does every day) because I’d wager that Jet Blue (and everybody else) has seen their forward bookings fall off a cliff.

  4. I don’t like this at all. For most of those with a need to cancel because of Covid-19 risks, no help because only new tickets are covered. This policy might be used by those with uncertain plans to they buy a ticket to or from JFK and cancel if their plans change.

  5. This is smart of them. People aren’t booking now including me as I’m waiting out to see how this virus play out in US even though I was suppose to do a transcon in April. But now I can book my flight without worrying about change fees etc.. well played JetBlue! Well played.

  6. Doesn’t really make sense why they give the waiver for tickets booked starting now, and not before?

    If anything people who booked their tickets when coronavirus was unknown are the ones needing waivers.

    If you booked your ticket today, you full well know that coronavirus is an issue, yet you still booked. I don’t get it.

  7. A week ago I paid about $100 one way for a ticket from Atlanta to Orlando on JetBlue. I had to compromise on leaving a day earlier due to pricier tickets. Then, a little while later, JetBlue launched a two-day deal where my desired flight became bookable for $20 🙁

  8. @ Erick schimitt… I agree. Someone who bought a ticket in Dec for May travel and someone who buys it tomorrow for May travel will not be treated the same. I also would think someone who didn’t know that this could be an issue in the US in Dec would be part of the policy. Like BA they can do what they want, but as lucky said this is to keep potential new customers at ease about booking flights and keep new business at ease. Many may be using JetBlue to fly to some airports like JFK, BOS, etc. for international flights that could be canceled or changed. It’s not just wholly domestic flights.

  9. I just canceled a trip on American for next month fully expecting to have to eat the rebooking fee. Was pleasantly suprised though that after reaching out to customer service via email they applied a waver to my ticket. I live with a family member that is immune compromised due to chemo so was glad to know that the airlines are not just thinking about their bottom line with so much still unknown 8n the coming weeks!

  10. It’s obvious
    – prior bookings were not made under a presumed ‘fear’ of flying and as such creating a blanket waiver to refund plays into that fear and hits their bottom line ; if these people are directly impacted and their flights are cancelled are deemed to be flying to an unsafe area they will issue a waiver
    – encouraging people who are not sure with a waiver is a good incentive to keep people booking

  11. On the one hand I can understand airlines don’t want to make it easy for customers to leave them in droves, as they’ll likely be seeing significant drops in revenue the next few weeks either way. But on the other hand I don’t like that some people who may get sick may feel like they need to take the flight they’ve already booked–and get a bunch of other people sick–because the airline won’t let them get out of it. I’m sure there are some exceptions being made with doctors’ notes and whatnot, but I would actually feel more comfortable flying if there was a more lenient refund policy in place, so that it was less likely others who are already sick would be on the plane with me.

  12. My husband and I were going to WPI on March 24 and now his doctors have forbidden him from going on any trip. He is on dialysis and his immune system is not functioning.

  13. Supposed to be going to New York over Easter,,,New York is basically shut down..and Jet Blue will not refund my flights????

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