The price of jet fuel is going up, and JetBlue is passing on the cost to passengers by increasing the cost of checking a bag.
It’s just $5, from $25 a bag to $30 for the first bag, and from $35 to $40 for the second checked bag, each way, but that effectively raises the price of your round-trip ticket by $10 or $20 if you check bags.
The checked bag increase applies only to fliers who purchase the lowest-priced “Blue” airfares, which are about $15 less than the next fare option, “Blue Plus.”
Fliers who book a “Blue Plus” ticket are not charged for the first checked bag, but must pay $40 for the second bag, up from $35.
Fliers who book the next higher class of ticket, “Blue Flex” are not charged for the first or for the second checked bag.
UPDATE on airline baggage fees
Since ecoXplorer published this article, United raised fees for checking a first bag from $25 to $30 and a second bag from $35 to $40 for tickets issued on or after Friday, Aug. 31. The additional checked baggage fees fees cover flights in North and Central America and the Caribbean, but not Europe or Asia.
Also, Air Canada and WestJet have raised their checked baggage fees to $30 and $35.
Do the math. This means is that the cheapest ticket is no longer a bargain, because having to pay $10 round trip to check a bag to save $15 on your ticket makes no sense, especially when the fare that costs $15 more also gets you a better seat.
JetBlue quietly raised the checked bag fee on Monday, August 27th, for tickets purchased on or after that date. It’s in the fine print on the bottom of the carrier’s bag fee web page, where it’s easy to miss.
JetBlue becomes the first major U.S. airline to charge $30, and the bad news is that it’s likely to be copied soon by other majors, which also are facing higher operating costs because of higher fuel costs, and salary increases for those airlines which recently re-negotiated employee contracts.
Low-cost Spirit Airlines already charges $30 or more for the first checked bag, based on a complicated formula that includes the distance of the route being flown.
Ironically, JetBlue started out as a low-cost airline, with free checked baggage. That ended in 2015 with a reality check.
Checked baggage fees aren’t going away. They are a profit center for the airlines.
In the first quarter of 2018, JetBlue earned $7.2 Million in checked bag fees – less than low-cost airlines Spirit and Frontier, and far less than majors American, Delta and United, according to this interesting set of numbers on the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics website page.
And JetBlue earned even less – also behind Spirit and Frontier – in all of 2017 for checked baggage fees, so it’s no wonder they are upping the price.
In 2017, the 23 largest US-flag airlines reported a combined profit of $15.5 Billion, including a whopping $4.6 Billion from baggage fees, and $2.9 Billion from reservation change fees, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
BTW – Those are the only two fees airlines are required to report to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. They are not required to report fees received for an upgrade to a roomier seat, preferred boarding, transporting an animal, or how much they earn from selling snack boxes or those little bottles of wine and liquor.
In 2016, they earned $13.5 billion in profits, including $4.2 billion in bag fees, the bureau reports.
What do you think? We value your comments and love hearing from you.