JetBlue will start charging bag fees in 2015. Will customers stay loyal?(Read article summary)
JetBlue passengers soon can expect thinner seats and checked bag fees on the cheapest flights. The new fees will take effect in mid-2015, and the reduction in legroom on JetBlue flights will start in early 2016.
JetBlue announced today some changes to their operations, that may sway your loyalty with the much-beloved brand moving forward into 2015.
In their announcement, JetBlue touts the cabins in their new Airbus A321s as a huge success. They'll be "refreshing" their cabins on their older A320s with these new thinner seats, which will allow them to add more seats to existing aircraft. As we spoke about in our post on airline legroom, JetBlue is #1 in coach in terms of legroom currently, at 34'' of seat pitch. With the changes, this will go down to 33'' of room, which is still higher than most other airlines but not a positive change for customers. These changes will happen in 2016.
Additionally, JetBlue will start charging in mid-2015 for a checked bag. This is a part of their new "tiered" fare structure, which will have 3 levels of pricing. The lowest pricing will not have a free checked bag, the more expensive options will have free bags and more flexibility. It's not all bad: the company will continue to offer free wifi, which most planes will have by the end of 2015.
So, this leaves Southwest as the only airline to offer all their passengers free checked bags (and two per customer, better than JetBlue's current one), and the ability to change your flight day-of for no charge (you just pay the difference in fares). You can even cancel for a free refund the day of the flight. If I were a frequent domestic traveler, I would begin shifting my travel to Southwest. They offer free streaming content on my own device (though no free wifi- currently charging $8 for a full day of use, even if you change flights).