JetBlue Changes Carry-On Bag Policy and Drops Change Fees JetBlue Changes Carry-On Bag Policy and Drops Change Fees

JetBlue Changes Carry-On Bag Policy and Drops Change Fees

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Update: JetBlue's new change fees and carry-on bag policies have gone into effect.

JetBlue recently announced some rather significant changes to both the airline's carry-on bag policy and change fees. Although there's a mix of good and bad, the overall impact is somewhat negative for the typical passenger.

JetBlue's carry-on bag policy change is undoubtedly a negative while the changes made to the airline's change fee policy are quite positive. Here's what passengers need to know about JetBlue's recent announcement.

The Good: Change Fees Waived for Most Fares

COVID-19's impact on travel has been overwhelmingly negative with one exception: it's led major US airlines to relax change fees and cancellation fees. In addition to airlines waiving cancellation and change fees during the on-going pandemic, all three legacy carriers (American, Delta, and United) have permanently modified policies on canceling and changing itineraries. These changes are great for the passenger.

Now, JetBlue is following suit in announcing that the airline will waive change fees for most fares.

All fares booked through March 31 will continue to enjoy JetBlue's pandemic-related change and cancellation policy. That policy allows passengers to change or cancel their itineraries without penalty. However, beginning in April 2021, JetBlue's new policy goes into effect.

JetBlue's New Change Fee Policy

Starting April 1, 2021, JetBlue's change and cancellation policy will be as follows:

  • For Blue, Blue Plus, and Mint fares: No change or cancellation fees prior to the day of travel. You'll still have to pay the fare difference if booking a more-expensive flight. Same-day confirmed switches can be made for $75 without paying a fare difference.
  • For Blue Extra fares: No change or cancellation fees (fare difference applies) with free same-day confirmed switches.
  • For Blue Basic fares: Flights can be changed or canceled for a $100 fee for travel within the U.S., Caribbean, Mexico, or Central America. The fee will be $200 for all other routes. Same-day confirmed switches can be made for a $75 fee (no fee for Mosaic members), without paying a fare difference.

JetBlue's new change fee policy is fantastic for the typical traveler. However, it eliminates one of the best selling points of the airline's Mosaic elite status tier. TrueBlue Mosaic members no longer receive the benefit of being the only customers to enjoy complimentary itinerary changes. But again, this is an overwhelmingly positive change.

The Bad: JetBlue Eliminates Carry-On Bags for Select Fares

When JetBlue first took to the air just over 21 years ago, the airline's mission was “to bring humanity back to air travel.” So, it's not surprising that JetBlue has been far-more customer-centric compared to most other US airlines for much of the airline's history.

This remains the airline's mission statement. However, over the past few years, we've seen JetBlue cut many of the customer-centric services and policies that made JetBlue what it is today.

JetBlue first started picking away at its passenger-centric policies when the airline decided to cut free checked bags for select fares. Now, JetBlue is embracing the ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) model as it has announced that Blue Basic passengers will no longer get to bring on a carry-on bag free of charge.

JetBlue is trying to spin this change as a net benefit to the average traveler. As part of this change, JetBlue announced that customers who booked a Blue, Blue Extra, or Mint fare will be guaranteed a space for their carry-on bag. If the overhead bins fill up and you must gate-check your bag, you will receive a $25 travel bank credit. However, this policy does not include travelers who book a Blue Basic fare. Instead, Blue Basic fares will lose complimentary carry-on bags entirely.

JetBlue's New Carry-On Bag Policy

Blue Basic fares booked on or after February 25, 2021 for travel on July 20, 2021 or later will only include a personal item. Personal items must fit under the seat in front of you. Carry-on bags will not be allowed.

After this policy goes into effect, JetBlue Blue Basic customers that show up at the gate with a carry-on bag will have to pay $65 per bag for up to two pieces of luggage. If you manage to show up with three carry-on bags, the third bag is $180.

JetBlue's new carry-on bag policy
JetBlue's updated fares with new carry-on restrictions for Blue Basic customers.

There are only a few exceptions to this new policy. According to JetBlue “Mosaic members, travelers that are combining a Blue Basic fare with an Even More Space seat, active military, and unaccompanied minors may still bring a carry-on bag, but only Even More Space customers are guaranteed to get their bag onboard.”

The Bottom Line

I'm personally torn on this announcement. The recent move by major airlines to relax or get rid of change and cancellation fees is a welcomed improvement. However, as an average traveler, you are more likely to want to bring a carry-on bag onto the aircraft. Most passengers are less likely to make changes to their itinerary or cancel it outright.

Additionally, in some cases, some routes operate just once or twice daily. This makes the same-day change benefit far less appealing or even impractical. Finally, JetBlue's decision to eliminate carry-on bags for Blue Basic passengers is a step in the wrong direction. Add in the new carry-on guarantee for all other fares and this new carry-on bag policy seems like a logistical nightmare waiting to happen.

How do you feel about these changes? Does this change the way you view JetBlue?

2.7 / 5 - (36 votes)
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  • Michael Heit says:

    As a casual flyer who has been a one bag only traveler this is terrible.
    It’s a slap in the face as well. Too bad Congress is not stepping up for some regulatory help on this.
    I could see if they really wanted to limit problems with time delays and over crowding. If that was the case the charge for carry on but have the first checked bad be free.
    However since this is not the case it’s just a revenue generator at the small persons expense
    Gouging us again

  • Frederick j Marshall says:

    The 1 bag carry on is a mystery, if there are overhead bins available why is a Jet Blue Member not allowed to use it ???

    Who gets to use it ?????

    The new FEE is way out of line, makes one think about why I got the Barclay Member Card

    Please advise

  • If airlines are going to impose restrictions on carry-on bags, they should at least be consistent in how they are imposed. Too often, passengers ignore these rules to avoid fees for checking their luggage and the airline staff says nothing because they don’t want to delay the flight. This creates a sense of unfairness for the other passengers who attempt to comply.

  • The removal of a carry-on bag for their most basic fare is shameful. I agree with what other commenters have said – they are headed downhill. Personally, I will not be flying JetBlue moving forward.

  • 65 to bring a carry on bag each way is pretty ridiculous. Will be more than the fare in many cases. Can I just buy a seat and strap my carry on in?

  • I agree with the conclusion that this is unnecessarily confusing in how they have changed it.

  • I don’t see how they can guarantee the carryon space for Blue, Blue Extra, or Mint fare. If they wanted to do anything I would charge more for a carry on with the basic fare. It’ll be interesting to see if they change anything once the public experiences this.

  • A big improvement.
    The cost of luggage has become more and more important lately.

  • Don’t think Mosaic status matters much any more 🙂

  • What about people who have the jb plus credit card. Are they still getting the free checked bag? If so then an upgrade is still in order for the carry on. Bummer!

    • As a free checked bag is a benefit of the card, I’d assume that benefit would continue to be honored. But you’re right that there could be a weird situation where you can check a bag for free but not carry one on!

  • I only ever travel with a personal item so this doesn’t affect me very much. Although the few times I’ve traveled JetBlue, I’ve really enjoyed the experience, their routes don’t work with my travel plans. With their new agreement with American, this may change, so I’ll have to keep this in mind for the future.

  • Pretty soon Jetblue will be right in line with the big three.

  • Not a huge fan of when airlines make you pay for a carry-on for the basic fares- not a good move in my opinion!

  • I’m generally happy about the changes. Airlines are desperate for revenue, and it’s to be expected that JetBlue had to rob Peter to pay Paul in this environment. The price difference between Blue and Blue Basic is less than the disparity in restrictions with the new policy (in other words, it’s a better value to give Blue Basic a miss IMO.) I understand their logic, as there’s not an infinite amount of space on board, and in order to guarantee to most customers, something had to be traded. The most price-sensitive fare is now correlated with the most perk-sensitive experience; “you don’t get what you don’t pay for”.

  • European airline EasyJet have also just recently adopted the same model re. charging for carry on bags

  • The carry-on bag change is really going to rub some customers the wrong way.

  • Eliminating the free carryon for Basic Blue fares is a major disappointment….just when I was starting to warm up to JetBlue again with their pending London flights from the East Coast….ah well…..maybe time will tell and they’ll rescind the carryon policy like AA did for the “basic” fare as it was too cumbersome in practice.

  • Jetblue has gradually lost its special edge and originality. Sad.

  • I wonder when they will finally take away the free drinks and snacks, as they are on their downhill path.

  • Jessica Arbai says:

    The bottom line: There should not even be any carry-on fees for those who possess 1 carry-on bag and/or cancellation flight fees at all.

  • Seems odd to me that they’d introduce negative changes right now, when almost everyone is rolling out good news. That’s excluding Delta SkyMiles snap devaluations, of course ?

    • I believe it does make sense when you think about it. The challenge airlines face is how do they attract folks to fly again right when they’re struggling financially… because folks aren’t flying. In other words, they’re not in a position to delivery all good news across the board right now. It’s going to be a mixed bag, I’m afraid. Just like the pandemic, some fliers will be winners and some losers in the decisions made.

  • This seems to be a step back for consumers. This just makes jetblue more alike with the legacy carriers.

  • Personally I like this change. I am someone who travels light with a small duffle or backpack and have noticed people bringing larger luggage into the cabin and whoever gets on last gets the short end of the stick having to check their luggage or keep lots of items by their feet. Will help too hopefully with people who crowd the gate well before their boarding group. For me this will make traveling less stressful really.

    • Asuncion Signorelli says:

      That is so true. It annoyed me so much to see people at boarding gates with huge suitcases and none of the employees would step up to explain or enforce rules …they of course took all the space available for regular cabin carry ons, and the attendants would not say a word either.

  • Gilberto Souza de Morais says:

    I remember quite well the time I chose to fly Jetblue from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale late night. There were not only free bag allowance, but also some snacks. This was 2013!!! Aw, come on! How things changed in no time!