JetBlue Considers First Checked Bag Fee as Soon as They Can Make the Tech Work

Skift reports that JetBlue is considering a first checked bag fee.

The challenge they currently face is that they need upgrade their tech to offer different fare options.

A fee may be part of JetBlue’s new fare structure, Powers said yesterday, as the New York-based airline creates classes of tickets whose price would include services such as one free piece of checked luggage. While fliers could still choose a cheaper seat, they would have to start paying for any baggage, not just their second suitcase.

Only in the airline industry is adding a fee considered not nickel and diming customers.

“If you chose to buy a bucket without attributes and show up with a bag, you probably should pay for it,” Powers said. “It’s a terrific way, and in a JetBlue-friendly way, of monetizing all the excellent product attributes we have without doing what we’re absolutely opposed to — nickel and diming and gouging customers.”

I don’t love Southwest (and even more the case after they devalued their points), but I do love that:

  • They offer first and second checked bag free to everyone.
  • They offer a companion pass which credit card signup bonuses and hotel points transfers can help you earn.
  • Their awards redeposit without penalty.

Southwest was even earlier to the internet game than JetBlue, largely because of JetBlue’s novel earlier investment in inflight live tv.

JetBlue’s performance has lagged the industry this year. But just like United managing by doing what Delta does, it’s not clear that undermining your unique selling proposition will make you more attractive to consumers.

Still, I suspect that JetBlue hasn’t gotten enough credit from consumers for not charging these fees. If they don’t earn extra business or a revenue premium foregoing the revenue, it’s hard to justify continuing to do it.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Love that Southwest has no change fees. I rarely fly them, but that’s a great perk.

  2. Sorry for the confusion, was talking about first checked bag in the context of JetBlue and what they may do away with but i’ve clarified because indeed southwest offers second checked bag free also, thanks!

  3. I have chosen jetBlue over legacy carriers more than once because of they don’t charge the ridiculous first bag fee (also I love their in-flight experience and crews). I really hope they don’t do away with the ‘perk.’

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