Jet Blue Increasing Checked Bag Fees

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Until 2015, passengers flying with US airline JetBlue enjoyed no checked bag fees on their flights. Now, it seems, they have the dubious accolade of needing to pay more with this carrier than with any other major US service.

From Monday onwards, passengers will be subject to increased JetBlue baggage fees. The standard cost for the first checked bag has been hiked from $25 to $30, making them more expensive than Delta, United and American Airlines. The only US airline which doesn’t charge a fee to date is Southwest Airlines.

Second JetBlue bag costs are rising too, now standing at $40 rather than $35. For third and additional bags, the cost will now be $150, a $50 hike from previous prices. As usual, those who buy more expensive tickets such as Blue Plus and Blue Flex will have these charges removed or reduced. Those who are part of the loyalty scheme may see a reduction too.

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This hike in the JetBlue checked bag cost is the first time a US airline has increased this fee above the $25 mark. It’s possible that American, Delta and United will follow suit pretty soon, as there have been little changes to fees since charges were introduced.

Other JetBlue costs are rising too

As well as the increase to the JetBlue checked bag cost, the carrier is bumping up prices for cancellations or ticket changes too. Tickets worth under $100 will be subject to a $75 charge, from $100 to $149 it will be $100 and for tickets $150 to $199.99 it will cost $150. These were in line with the old prices, the major difference being that they have scrapped the ability to cancel or change prior to 60 days before the flight for just $75 per person.

As well as eliminating the cheap ticket changes for early requests, there is a new tier introduced too. From 27th August, tickets costing more than $200 will cost $200 per person to change or cancel. These fees are applied on basic tickets; Mint fares will have a different set of fees.

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It’s always disappointing when airlines remove the incentive to change or cancel early. The cost to the carrier is much lower when they have plenty of notice that you’re no longer able to travel, as they have adequate time available to resell the seat. Getting rid of early change incentives is something of an industry trend and is disappointing for frequent fliers who have to cope with schedule alterations.

As well as the changes to JetBlue baggage fees and cancellation costs, the cost of travelling with a pet is also increasing. If you want to take your furry friend on a trip with you, it’s now going to cost $125 rather than the previous $100. Costs for checking oversized bags and unusual items such as surfboards has increased too, so make sure you know your liability before making your booking.

What’s causing the increase in JetBlue bag costs?

According to the carrier, the rise in the JetBlue checked bag cost is part of an effort to offset weak ancillary revenue, increased costs and rising price of jet fuel. JetBlue has been putting the brakes on its growth for some time and stated in July that they were planning changes to mitigate an increasing squeeze on their profits.

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Spokesman, Doug McGraw said:

“As a matter of good business, we constantly review and adjust our ancillary pricing to ensure a healthy business, so we can continue offering the best customer experience of any U.S. airline”

According to government statistics, airlines have generated around $7.4bn in checked bag and cancellation fees last year alone. With fuel prices on the up and the costs of running high traffic routes increasing, chances are this is just the first of many price hikes we’ll see over the coming months.

Featured Image: Airbus

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