In their presentation to investors today, JetBlue laid out a new plan to increase revenue and that plan includes eliminating the free bag for passengers. At the same time, they will be adding seats to their A320 aircraft which will reduce the legroom for the majority of the seats (while still retaining the most legroom in coach as they currently advertise).
JetBlue Adding Bag Fees and Reducing Legroom
JetBlue did not say how much the bag fees will be, but it would be a reasonable guess that it is similar to and inline with the other carriers (for example, $25 for the first checked bag). This now makes Southwest the only US airline to offer free checked bags for everyone (so watch for the commercials coming soon!).
New Fare Classes
What JetBlue will be doing is rolling out a new fare class structure that will have three separate fare classes – the cheapest fare will require passengers to pay for the first checked bag, the next fare class will include the first bag for free with the highest fare class allowing two bags for free. I doubt that the fare classes would only have bags as the included features. As I speculated last month, the different fare classes will also include various levels of flexibility and additional TrueBlue point earning. These changes will come in the first half of 2015.
New Cabin Refresh
Another step they are making to increase their revenue is to do a cabin refresh of their A320 fleet to install an additional 15 seats. This will cause the legroom to be reduced throughout the cabin, but they said they will continue to offer the most legroom of the other airlines. This refresh will include an installation more entertainment options (and their in-flight entertainment is already excellent) and also offer power ports for all passengers. This step will proceed in the middle part of 2016.
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Hopefully, they will include the first free bag as a feature on their credit card. Other airlines already offer that and with the talk of a change of partner with the card, this would make a good time to add that.