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Why JetBlue's New Baggage Fees Might Actually Be Good for You

Travel + Leisure logo Travel + Leisure 9/11/2018 Stacey Leasca
a close up of a plane © James Leynse/Getty Images

In August, JetBlue announced it is increasing its checked baggage fees for Blue, Blue Plus, Blue Flex, and Mint tickets. But that's not necessarily a bad thing for passengers who are worried about saving money.

The first checked bag with a Blue fare is now $30 — a $5 increase from its previous price — and the second bag with a Blue or Blue Plus fare is $40. The third bag on all fare levels will now cost passengers $150, marking a $50 increase from the previous baggage costs.

While this may seem like a bummer for frequent JetBlue fliers, it turns out it may not be bad news after all. As Skift explained, these baggage increases mean fares can continue to stay low.

“Fuel prices are up over 33 percent this year,” JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes told Skift at the Aviation Festival. “You end up having to pass those on. We’re about low fares. We hate increasing fares. But we had a couple of fare increases, and then we made the decision to increase the bag fee to $30 if you don’t buy it in the fare.”

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However, Hayes additionally explained, if passengers simply book Blue Plus — its slightly higher fare option — they will be paying $25 more for the base fare, but will get free baggage. And that means they will essentially be paying the old price.

“We lay out the fares up next to each other and we make it very clear that it includes a bag,” Hayes additionally explained. “Some of the challenges come through the [online trade agencies], because it’s not so obvious to customers. But when you’re on our website — most customers come to our website — it’s pretty clear which fare you should buy.”

Beyond straight baggage fees, JetBlue will also increase fees for oversized and overweight baggage by $50.

“We can’t have the best on everything, but we want to have what makes a difference to the customer,” Hayes said. “We want to win there. And everywhere else, we just need to be competitive. And those products, they’re an investment, right? If you have more leg room, TV, and WiFi, it costs money to provide that.”

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