JetBlue Introduces A New Peak And Off-Peak Baggage Fee System

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  • JetBlue introduces dynamic pricing for first checked bags, ranging from $35 to $50 based on date and time.
  • Passengers can save by checking bags during booking or up to 24 hours before check-in.
  • This new strategy reflects cost increases and aims to boost profitability amid rising operational expenses.

Over the past two decades, airlines have continuously innovated new ways to generate revenue through a number of different channels, among the most popular of which has proven to be fees for checked baggage. Traditionally, however, there were always fixed fees for checked bags based on individual routes, and passengers could be sure what to expect in terms of surcharges regardless of what day or time they booked their flight.

JetBlue, however, has changed this notion and introduced dynamic pricing, or charging different fees to different customers, for its customers’ first checked bags. Depending on the day and time, the price of a passenger’s first checked bag could be as low as $35 or as high as $50.

Photo: Angel DiBilio | Shutterstock

As always, passengers will be able to capitalize on discounts by checking their bags during the booking process or even up to 24 hours before check-in. Officially, the airline’s fees for checked bags will be $35 for dates determined to be off-peak, with higher fares for weekends or other high-traffic times that are deemed to be peak flights.

A unique move

For JetBlue, which serves many popular leisure destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Florida, the seasonality of traffic allows this kind of fee schedule to be both profitable and predictable. According to CNN, JetBlue’s peak period will encompass roughly half of the year, including the majority of the summer travel season, which is the busiest of the year.

JetBlue Airbus A321LR

Photo: Coby Wayne | Shutterstock

The carrier has also identified the days before and after Thanksgiving and Christmas as peak times as well, alongside certain weekends throughout the winter. Additionally, spring break and Easter travel, concentrated in March and April, will also face a peak period fee schedule.

Regardless of the date of travel, passengers should be aware that prices will significantly decrease if checked bags are added at booking or 24 hours before departure. If this does not occur, a passenger will be charged $45 to check a bag at check-in during off-peak times and $50 during peak times.

A new strategy

While many may not be concerned about a $5 increase in checked bag fees during peak dates, this adjustment marks a unique shift in ancillary revenue generation strategy. The initial change in this circumstance is relatively small, but carriers could expand this methodology to introduce more aspects of dynamic pricing.

A JetBlue Airbus A321LR Flying In The Sky.

Photo: Bradley Caslin | Shutterstock

According to The Mercury News, the pricing shift comes along with a rise in operational costs, which has led to the transportation of luggage becoming more expensive. In a statement, the carrier had the following words to share:

“While we don’t like increasing fees, we are making these adjustments to help get our company back to profitability and cover the increased costs.”

The airline would go on to note that increased wages and fuel costs have significantly hurt the airline’s bottom line, preventing sustained profitability post-pandemic. This week’s news comes in line with a number of capacity reduction moves made by JetBlue in the wake of the carrier’s failed merger attempt with Spirit Airlines, including significant belt-tightening at what was previously a rapidly expanding hub at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

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