Competition Forces JetBlue to Revamp its Ticketing and Fares Structure

Blue Basic fares are In

In a move to become more competitive, JetBlue has become the latest air carrier to offer what they call “Blue Basic” to revamp its structure around fares. As it battles budget rivals, the airline hopes to capture price-conscientious flyers.

The fares have been around two weeks already, but with little fanfare. I notice this as I was looking for a fare to San Juan.

Blue Basic

Publisher’s note: The most basic (and cheapest) fare that JetBlue has in its revamped fare structure is called Blue Basic. The fare includes your carry-on and one personal item, but you have to pay extra to get a bag checked.

Counteracting the influence of Ultra Low-Cost Carriers (ULCCs)

Allegiant, Frontier, and Spirit have been growing their networks rapidly during the better part of this decade. These airlines are known for charging close to nothing in fares, but they do charge extra on about anything else from baggage (this includes carry-on) to certain beverages.

These carriers have enjoyed an advantage against legacy carriers, such as Alaska, American, Delta, and United. They have also and low-cost carriers (LCCs) such as JetBlue and Southwest. even if the difference in price is sometimes small.

As most of us already know changes and cancellations in passengers’ flight plans are mostly off-limits, not even for a fee.

Even personal medical emergencies don’t qualify as an excuse for a change of cancellation of a flight booking.

I have read and heard too many stories about those situations, which are unique to each individual case. But most airlines are adamant under its policies.

JetBlue has joined the race to the bottom of the price war. The airline’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Joanna Geraghty has indicated that airlines such as her airline are compared to the likes of some of the ULCCs, but that Jet Blue is more than that.

JetBlue’s Strategy

COO Geraghty believes that price-conscientious flyers can be won over by JetBlue’s offerings and advantages like free in-flight Wi-Fi, good flight entertainment and spacious seating.

A320 seats JetBlue. jetblue new fares structure
JetBlue is popular for its spacious seating. Photo: JetBlue.

Seat selection will not be available until 24 hours before the flight unless the customer pays a seat selection fee. Also, Blue Basic tickets will not be “entitled” to luggage unless the person has a JetBlue Plus card, which gives them the benefit of one checked back for free. At least the carry-on luggage is still free. One more thing, Blue Basic passengers will be the last to board!

Hey, TrueBlue frequent flyers!

Pay attention if you do mileage runs on JetBlue. Mosaic Flyers will not be allowed to do same-day changes.

Blue Plus Fare changing too

Unless you have a credit card that reimburses you for your luggage, or you have the JetBlue Plus Card, or unless you’re going to an international destination, most likely you will have to pay for the luggage too.

I’ll probably have to rethink my flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico on JetBlue since I don’t think JetBlue considers San Juan an international destination.

The Blue Flex Fare is gone, replaced by Blue Extra

Blue Flex Fare, as of November 12, has already disappeared from the itinerary screens. (Customers who purchased their Blue Flex Fare prior to November 12 simply got lucky).

The Blue Flex Fare will be replaced by “Blue Extra,” which won’t include a checked bag. Also, gone are the days of two checked bags.

Unless you’re a Mint customer you are not allowed two checked bags. That is unless you have an authorized card which lets you reimburse those checked bag expenses.

Video presentation of JetBlue’s new basic economy fare: Blue Basic

Source: YouTube.

Personal thoughts

With these new rules, I have to say that I am extremely disappointed with JetBlue. I personally like JetBlue, and I fly them because they are the “adult” airline in the industry. Because of that and since they fly nonstop to San Juan, now is the time to look at my options.

I would consider a legacy airline if I were to have an early morning flight to get to San Juan before lunch. Thus, I would seriously consider switching from JetBlue. In the meantime, I’ll have to consider adding a few cards to my wallet.

I believe it is frustrating and disappointing that because of JetBlue’s competition (which is great for consumers, however) they have to reduce benefits to passengers when they are already raking in more profits than at any point in history.

JetBlue’s revamping of its fare structure was sad news for me, and for those other flyers who considered JetBlue. Asking the flying public to get credit cards as a counterweight to waiving fees is not the way to get more business.

If you require any clarification of JetBlue’s new fare structure, you should go here for more information.


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Featured Image: JetBlue.

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