JetBlue to Charge Baggage Fees and Pack More Seats In

JetBlue 1_edited

I’ve been telling people that if American Airlines follows Delta’s and United Airlines‘ unpopular move of changing their frequent flier program of earning miles based on ticket price rather than distance flown, that the big winner is going to be JetBlue. After all, the only thing that prevents frequent fliers like me from flying the New York-based airline (and Virgin America & Southwest) more often, is that it’s too difficult to give up American’s frequent flier perks like double miles, free access to more legroom, first class check-in, priority boarding, inexpensive upgrades, free checked bags, etc.

But today’s JetBlue announcement, revealed that that they plan on “increasing the number of seats on its A320 fleet as part of a major cabin refresh (meaning a lot less legroom)” and that “beginning in the first half of 2015, customers will be able to choose between three branded fare bundle options. The first of these will be designed for customers who do not plan to check a bag (meaning they will be charging to check your bag).” Guess this means there will be nothing truly special about them.

Most of the airline industry speculated this was going to happen when JetBlue didn’t renew CEO David Barger’s contract. He’s out come February and current president Robin Hayes is in. The reason why is that it’s believed he didn’t give the airline’s investors what they wanted…which was even more money.

One reason why everyone else loved flying JetBlue was that they had the most spacious economy class seats in the skies with 34 inches of seat pitch compared to the 31 inches that most of the other airlines offered. FYI: Pitch is defined as the distance between the same position in two consecutive rows. Although I rarely check a bag, I know others loved the fact that their first checked bag was free.

With today’s announcement, you can bet I won’t be touting JetBlue like I used to and I’m not alone. Mashable has a great headline for this story: “JetBlue adding bag fees, cutting legroom, breaking hearts”.

Even though I’m not a JetBlue loyalist, my heart is broken, too. If American Airlines goes to the dark side, it’s time for me to jump on the Southwest and Virgin America bandwagon.

Updated: JetBlue’s PR sent me a note with the info-graphic below and a link to their blog post that they recently wrote highlighting seat pitch and living space.
Jetblue

You can read JetBlue’s full press release here: JetBlue’s Plan to Drive Shareholder Returns Through Differentiated Product and Service.

Johnny Jet

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Johnny Jet

I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

6 Comments on "JetBlue to Charge Baggage Fees and Pack More Seats In"

  1. Jet Blue = now Douche Bags like almost everyone else.

  2. Yes, I guess the industry’s true loyalty is to their “shareholders”, not their customers, and most of these are PE or Hedge Fund boys who don’t even fly on JetBlue. It’s rare to encounter an industry with such utter contempt for their customer base. But now that JetBlue is a grade B carrier like American or Delta, there’s really no reason to fly on them, so it’s my sincere hope that this revenue strategy backfires and their profits and stock price tank.

  3. I have been a champion of JetBlue since they began, but this is a game changer.
    No longer the first bag free? Very disappointing!! I flew them twice round-trip just
    last week.

  4. Shrinking legroom and a diminished seat-pitch doesn’t sound very “refreshing” to me. And the “fare bundle options” touted just seem like Jet Blue is softening customers up for the inevitable baggage charges other competitors have already implemented. Too bad! I have enjoyed flying with Jet Blue, but these changes will make them just like the rest of the crowd. I think they’ve gone from Jet Blue to Jet Blew-it!

  5. Definitely agree with Cynthia and Kathy. We’ve been jetBlue folks from day one (out of OAK and SFO). Mainly to New York and Boston (schedules to IAD diminished and became useless years back). This is the end. And to think that I’ve been about their best salesperson all these years!! I have to believe that this makes money in the short-term and in the long-term will lead to the same kind of decline that put other airlines that have over-reached in significant trouble. It’s exactly folks like us (retirees with time and some discretionary cash) that all airlines have definitely tossed aside. They are probably right in terms of making money to concentrate on business travellers and high worth travellers (the latter not applying to jetBlue or SW but the others). We have limited our air travel already in the last few years because everything has become so uncomfortable. Throw extra charges in and the (former) relative comfort of jetBlue becomes totally unattractive.

  6. J B no longer gives a rebate after they lower fares to fill the plane. This began about a year ago with no announcement. Since then I noticed that they start with HIGH fares when they first open a flight, and drop fares later to fill the plane. Now with no rebate for fare reduction it is win,win,win,win,win,win for J B and a six part loss for passengers,(lower gas prices, more seats, thinner seats, no rebates, higher prices, baggage fees) All in all…J B is now just another airline! Remember Eastern , North East, Mohawk, Pan Am etc. We are in the age of the “Fewopoly.” Monopolies are illegal. Fewopolies are cash cows.

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