Beginning Thursday, February 25, JetBlue (NASDAQ: JBLU) passengers purchasing the basic fare they call “Basic Blue” for flights after July 19 will no longer be able to bring a carry-on item aboard without paying a $65 USD extra charge. If the passenger has already checked two bags, the fee jumps to $180 USD. The basic fare going forward only includes a “personal object” such as a purse or handbag.
“All fares include 1 personal item—like a purse, daypack, laptop bag or approved pet carrier—that fits under the seat in front of you and doesn’t exceed 17″ L (43.2 cm) x 13″ W (33 cm) x 8″ H (20.32 cm).”
JetBlue recommends that passengers who wish to travel with carry-on luggage purchase Blue, Blue Plus, Blue Extra or Mint (first class) fares.
Exceptions to the new Basic Blue policy include:
- Mosaic members (who get a carry-on bag and early boarding with all fares)
- Travelers that are combining a Blue Basic fare with an Even More® Space seat
- Active military
- Unaccompanied minors
US legacy carriers have been in a race to adapt and compete with low-cost carriers such as Spirit and Allegiant, though Southwest Airlines has been able to compete with a low-cost model and still offering checked and carry-on baggage privileges. JetBlue started as a low-cost carrier but has evolved to more of a traditional legacy air carrier business model, with a first-class section and route alliances with American Airlines.
“Currently, our Blue and Blue Basic offerings are very similar to each other. We need to better differentiate the two by making Blue the gold standard, while strategically focusing on lowering the price of Blue Basic,” said Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue Chief Operating Officer.
JetBlue currently flies to Bogotá, Cartagena & Medellín in Colombia, Georgetown, Guyana, Ecuador, Peru and over 30 Caribbean & Central American locations.