JetBlue revealed some significant changes today, and they are a mixed bag. JetBlue eliminates change fees for most economy fares, while the airline is also eliminating free carry-on baggage for basic economy fares. Let’s take a closer look at the changes as they indicate a fundamental change in strategy for JetBlue.
JetBlue eliminates change fees on most tariffs
A few months ago, most of the major US airlines eliminated change fees. JetBlue was the outlier as it was the only major non-ultra-low-cost airline in the US that didn’t make such an announcement. Well that’s finally changing.
JetBlue eliminates change and cancellation fees for Blue, Blue Extra, Blue Plus and Mint fares. The only exception is that change fees will still apply to Blue Basic tariffs (this is the name of JetBlue’s Basic Economy tariffs). On the positive side, JetBlue’s basic economy tariffs can be changed for a fee as follows:
- Blue Basic fares within the US or to / from the Caribbean, Central America, or Mexico can be changed for $ 100
- Blue Basic rates in other regions can be changed for $ 200
There are a few things to keep in mind with JetBlue’s new Change Fee Policy:
- Changes or cancellations must be made prior to departure
- This does not mean that almost all tickets will be refunded, but that the credit of a canceled trip will be deposited as credit at your JetBlue Travel Bank
- Previously, one of the greatest benefits of JetBlue Mosaic status was changing free tickets. So this is no longer an advantage of the status
- JetBlue is unique in allowing changes (for a fee) to Basic Economy tickets as other airlines continue to make them non-refundable
JetBlue eliminates change fees for most tariff types
JetBlue is reducing hand luggage for basic economy fares
At JetBlue, that’s not all good news. For trips booked from February 26, 2021 and flown from July 20, 2021, JetBlue will no longer allow passengers in the Basic Economy (Blue Basic) to take a free hand luggage bag into the cabin, but will only be able to Bring a small personal item that fits under the seat.
JetBlue tries to rate this positively:
“Hand luggage is a big problem when boarding because there is not enough space in the overhead lockers for everyone to bring a bag. It’s time to rethink our approach. The pandemic and the low number of customers offered an insight into life without “overhead bin stress”. When customers return, we want to hold onto that zen a bit during the boarding process and make the luggage space an expectation rather than a gamble. “
With this change, JetBlue guarantees space for all not simple economy passengers. In the unlikely event that the airline runs out of hold space and needs to check a bag, the airline is offering a year of $ 25 credit to travel on JetBlue. While I don’t like this policy change, at least I recommend JetBlue make a new pledge to those eligible for free carry-on bags.
JetBlue adds a new hand luggage guarantee
JetBlue claims that it is trying to compete more efficiently with Ultra Low Cost Carriers (ULCCs):
- ULCCs have grown in JetBlue’s key markets, and JetBlue believes Blue Basic is a better alternative
- According to JetBlue, Blue Basic offers more cash than ULCCs thanks to free WiFi, TVs, free drinks and snacks, etc.
- JetBlue will “strategically lower the tariffs in Blue Basic to attract extremely low-cost customers”.
JetBlues graphic via ULCCs
JetBlue eliminates change fees for everything but Basic Economy fares, and even Basic Economy fares can be changed for a fee. In addition, the airline waives free hand luggage for passengers in the basic economy and guarantees all other space in the luggage compartment.
It is alleged that the airline will be more aggressively pricing basic economy fares to compete with ULCCs, though only time will tell if it actually happens.
What do you think of these changes to JetBlue?