As was foretold back in November, once-decent airline JetBlue has instated a $20 bag fee for passengers in their lowest fare class. Which means that as of today, the only airline that permits all passengers to check their bags for free is also an airline prone to having its parts fall off midair.
The new bag fees are in place today, as is JetBlue's new fare scale, which designates fares as "Blue," "Blue Plus," and "Blue Flex". The baseline "Blue" fare comes with the aforementioned $20 bag fee ($25 at the counter); for an extra $15, you can get a free checked bag with "Blue Plus," and for about $100 more than the baseline, "Blue Flex" scores you two checked bags.
Checked bag fees aside, the low-level "Blue" fares will also come with fees that range from $70 $135 for flight changes. Changing "Blue Plus" flights will cost slightly less, from $60 up to $120. As the name suggests, "Blue Flex" fares will not come with fees for flight changes.
The Long Island City-based airline claims that the bag fees are a sweet deal, since those who stick with carry-on luggage to escape the baggage claim Carousel of Doom were subsidizing other customers' free checked bags. "Half of the customers don't even check bags," Marty St. George, JetBlue's executive vice president for commercial and planning, told Reuters. "In effect what's happening is, the customers who aren't checking bags are paying for the customers who do."
Then again, the new bag fees are expected to bring in over $450 million in operating income when coupled with the airline's impending tighter seating, so take that for what it's worth. And yes, JetBlue's also planning to steal what little space you had right from under you, adding an extra 15 seats to its Airbus A320s and knocking legroom down about three inches.
Ah, well. JetBlue plans to partner with Amazon Prime to offer passengers free streaming, so hopefully you'll be able to project the rage you feel about sitting with your knees tucked into your chest onto The Newsroom.