We’ve got another JetBlue checked bag fee increase. A year and a half ago JetBlue was first to raise its first checked bag fee to $30 and other U.S. airlines followed.
Now they’re a leader in fees again, Seth Miller notes, raising their first checked bag fee to $35. However they’ll still charge $30 as long as the fee is paid online in advance (prior to the online check-in window opening).
- This will mean fewer transactions at the airport, saving time and staff
- And some customers may pay for bags, planning for the savings, and not wind up checking one – fees therefore that JetBlue wouldn’t otherwise earn
- Plus customers who check bags at the airport will pay more
These new higher charges apply to tickets booked January 16 onward. Tickets purchased prior to this change are subject to the pre-existing lower fees.
United followed JetBlue’s checked bag fee increase a mere four days later last time. Then both Delta and American followed. Will they follow here too? American just rolled out prepaying checked bags online, a feature that really only make sense if there’s an incentive for customers to pay early like a discount.
In this way so-called ‘full service’ airlines are becoming like their ultra low cost carrier brethren. Spirit Airlines charges its lowest fees for checked bags online. Fees go up at the airport. And they’re higher still if a customer has to check a bag at the gate. They’re using fees not just to generate revenue, but to drive channel customer behavior in ways that lowers the airline’s costs.
Man checked a can of beer as luggage on a Qantas flight.
Higher checked bag fees mean an even greater incentive for customers to bring their life’s belongings on board. That in turn causes delays, both because bags take longer to stow and because more bags than a plane can handle means taking the time to gate check bags. As a result JetBlue says they’re going to step up carry on rules enforcement. (JetBlue will be will be “taking a look at how we can improve 1+1 bag policy compliance and working on longer-term solutions.”)