JetBlue Rolls Out New Fares Including Basic Economy

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JetBlue has announced an overhaul to its fare structure, introducing a lower-cost basic economy option for price-sensitive travelers. The new changes came into effect on all fares booked after November 12, 2019.

The New Fare Structure

The new JetBlue fare structure has five levels of tickets:

  • Blue Basic
  • Blue
  • Blue Plus
  • Blue Extra
  • Mint

With the new Blue Basic fares, the main drawback is that you do not have any checked bags included in your ticket. However, you can still bring one carry-on and one personal item on board. Like other basic economy offerings, Blue Basic fares don't allow cancellations or changes, and you will only earn one TrueBlue point per dollar spent on airfare with an additional one point per dollar earned for mobile or online bookings.

Basic Fares For Mosaic Members

Mosaic members can use their status to leverage some additional value out of these new fares. If you hold Mosiac status (achieved with 15,000 base flight points or 30 segments + 12,000 base flight points), Blue Basic tickets will still come with two checked bags, one carry-on, and one personal item. However, Mosaic members will still only earn one point per dollar when traveling on Blue Basic tickets.

JetBlue Card Holders

Holders of the JetBlue Plus Mastercard® and the JetBlue Business Mastercard® can still check one bag, and bring one carry-on and one personal item on board when traveling on the new Blue Basic fares. All other restrictions are the same, including one base point and one bonus redeemable point earned for online bookings. However, if you use your cobranded card to pay for your ticket, you will still earn an additional six points per dollar on any fare, including Blue Basic.

The Same Level of Service!

When it comes to the level of service you receive when flying, JetBlue has taken pains to emphasize that regardless of your fare, you will still receive the usual service, including free high-speed Wi-Fi, brand-name snacks and drinks, and DIRECTV® and movies at your seat.

While this isn't necessarily different from other carriers that offer a basic economy fare, JetBlue does distinguish itself by allowing Blue Basic ticketholders to select seats for an additional fee more than 24 hours in advance of departure.

Our Take

How this new fare structure, ahem, fares will depend on how JetBlue's prices evolve over time. If the Blue Basic fares are genuinely cheaper than the current lowest fares, then the move is positive and offers an attractive option to price-sensitive travelers. However, if JetBlue prices the new Basic tickets similarly to its current lowest fare, then this new structure would be disappointing since it reduces the number of points earned for flying and eliminates checked bags for non-elites without a cobrand credit card.

JetBlue Rolls Out New Fares Including Basic Economy
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Comments

  • Despite JetBlue putting plenty of warnings on their website when you buy the fare (as do all the other airlines) there will now be more outraged travelers who get charged for their bag at the gate or ask someone else to switch with them so their family can sit together. (Despite having chosen the fare that does not include that benefit.) It gets tiresome.

  • For me, the biggest downside to Blue Basic is no cancellations and no changes.

  • Matthew Ward says:

    Tried to pin a representative down on this…

    Hi there! To start chatting, please enter your email. We’ll only use it to keep track of this interaction and find any past conversations you’ve had with us.
    xxxxxxxx@xxxxx.com
    Thanks! May we also get your name?
    Matt
    Hi, Matt! Let us know how we can help and we’ll be right with you.
    Question about fare prices
    4:03 pm
    Hello, Matt. My name is Samantha. How can I help you today?
    4:04 pm
    Hi Samantha. I just got the email about new basic fares. Where basic fares are available will they be cheaper than regular fares today?
    4:05 pm
    Blue Basic is our new, lowest-priced fare that has a few differences from our other fares. There’s a fee for selecting your seats more than 24 hours before departure (remaining Core seats can be chosen for free during check in) and you’ll board with one of our last boarding groups. This fare is not eligible for changes and cancels, including for Mosaic members. You’ll earn 1 TrueBlue point per dollar spent, or 2 points if you book on jetblue.com or the JetBlue app. You can still bring aboard one personal item and one full-sized carry-on bag, and you’ll still get all the perks of the JetBlue experience. That means free snacks and drinks, free high-speed Wi-Fi, and the most legroom in coach!
    4:06 pm
    Appreciate the (duplicate) info but my question is will the new basic fares be cheaper?
    4:07 pm
    As it being the lowest priced fare, yes it would be cheaper than a Blue fare.
    4:07 pm
    Great! So if a blue fare today is $300 and you introduce basic on that route then the basic fare will be less than $300?
    4:08 pm
    I can’t confirm this, because the fares can change.
    Both fares might be more than $300 later on, depending on the flight and route. And the Blue Basic fares might not open up on that route later.
    4:10 pm
    Well, are you following the other airlines and basically charging us what was a blue fare to get a basic fare?
    4:10 pm
    No. But fares are subject to change until purchased. As flights get closer there’s a possibility and typically more likely that they go up in price and in demand.
    Just letting you know that I can’t confirm that the price for a blue basic ticket later will/will not be less than $300.
    4:12 pm
    The $300 was an example. You are confirming that you are genuinely offering your customers a new fare at a price point below the historical price of a blue fare. Right?
    4:13 pm
    Yes, the Blue Basic tickets today are less than what the Blue fare was yesterday.
    4:14 pm
    Thanks,
    4:14 pm

  • Thank you for making me aware of these changes. As long I can bring one carry on and one personal item I am okay with these changes.

  • I don’t like basic economy fares

  • Better than most basic economy fares.

  • Not surprising ultra lower fares being introduced as other carriers have no checked bags as part of ticket pricing.

  • Hmm. So having the credit card could actually be a huge benefit to then buy basic fares. Part of me wishes I lived near a Jet Blue hub. I really want to try Mint. 🙁

  • It’s sad to see another program go basic.

  • Basic economy is one of the most unfortunate introductions to the industry in my opinion.

  • beginning of the end

  • I hope that the New Blue Basic fares will be cheaper than the current lowest fares…

  • I booked a jetblue award ticket after these changes went into effect, and basic economy was not an option for the redemption. However, it was an option for the revenue-based fare on the same flight.

  • Here is an additional tip. Use Basic airfare when the plane is 2 by 2 or 1 by 2 seating on the smaller planes and you only have a carry on where the Basic fare allows you a free carry on. The worst seat you can end up with is a window or an aisle.

  • Yes, it’s depends on the price set to the new fares but also the evolution in one or two years.

  • They should also introduce different fare classes for the Mint class, instead of having just one Mint class.

  • Not including any checked bags does seem like one of the defining characteristics of a bargain basement, basic economy fare.

  • Thank you!

  • While I don’t like basic economy, I have noticed that they more effectively fill the dreaded middle seats more. JetBlue will probably move towards another annoying trend called premium economy, which are just the same economy seats towards the front of the plane.

  • The race to the bottom of the industry continues (though JB is far from it) They can’t help themselves copying each others bad ideas.

  • Doesn’t look too bad

  • What I don’t like is this: ” Like other basic economy offerings, Blue Basic fares don’t allow cancellations or changes”

  • They all jump into line once it works for one of them. Any of them will find a market base and then keep charging extra for what they can get away with. That is what the art of business and making money is all about.

  • Dexter Ohama says:

    Ah, a smart move for Jet Blue. Looks like they’re stepping it up a bit. Thanks for the post, this was good to know.

  • I appreciate the layout of whats going on. I got the email and my brain just couldn’t grasp it at that time. I did not realize that Mint had a $200 change fee? I would have thought it wouldn’t have one. Oh well. I, like others, want to try Mint. Maybe one day. I make sure I never book basic fares so I don’t lose the ability to make changes. Unless I will be traveling in the next 2 seconds then maybe. There is always something that pops up or happens and then you’ve just lost your ticket.

  • I really don’t see a difference between this and a blue fare. The blue fare change and cancelation fees were overly expensive to begin with, and I’ve scrapped more than one short haul fare because the change fee was almost the price of a new ticket.

  • I find what’s unfortunate is that people buy economy seats, knowing they do not get a checked bag, bring larger than normal carry on items, and then the overhead compartments fill up too quickly, and they end up getting their bag checked for free regardless. It’s annoying to have an actual small carry on bag and the space above is full by the time your section is called, or my favorite, when I’m sitting at the front of the plane and someone from the back of the plane uses the space above my seat, for their bag….classic.

  • You’re absolutely right…only the price will determine if this is a net positive gain or a step backward for the airline. However, I rarely have the need for a checked bag and rarely travel on Jet Blue as I’m based near a Delta hub, so I would jump on the cheapest Blue Basic far in a heart beat. Some may complain that this is another step toward becoming a low price (and service?) carrier as are often found in Europe, but I’m a strong proponent of only paying for what you need/want. Count me in!

  • Sad to see another one doing this, but overall I can’t be too mad at the changes. As a not-frequent flyer who only searches the cheapest fares and travels with hand luggage only, I’ll take it.

  • Seems like everyone has basic economy now. What’s next?

  • Jo,

    Southwest Airlines doesn’t have basic economy and I’ve read that they are refusing to introduce it. In the past I didn’t usually fly Southwest but when my family (but not me) were looking for a flight this year we discovered that our usual airline had introduced basic economy we no guarantee they could sit together and would have to pay for checked bags.

    Southwest’s price for the same route was the same as our usual airline’s basic economy so for the first time in years they all flew Southwest. These airlines introducing basic economy is great news for Southwest. If this continues, I would expect Southwest to become the largest airline in the U.S.

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