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TravelJetBlue walks back most restrictive part of basic economy policy

JetBlue walks back most restrictive part of basic economy policy


JetBlue is making a big — and welcome — change to its basic economy fare.

Beginning Sept. 6, travelers booking the Blue Basic fare will be allowed to bring a full-size carry-on bag with their ticket.

This change will apply to all new and existing basic economy tickets for travel beginning Sept. 6, regardless of the purchase date.

Any full-size carry-on will be subject to the usual size limits and will be in addition to the one small personal item that needs to fit below your seat.

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However, while basic economy travelers will technically be allowed to bring a rollaboard through security, there’s no guarantee that it’ll actually make it into an overhead bin.

That’s especially true for those purchasing the cheapest JetBlue fare because unless you have Mosaic elite status, you’re boarding at the end.

In fact, JetBlue even acknowledged this reality in the fourth paragraph of its press release.

“While many of JetBlue’s aircraft are outfitted with larger overhead bins to accommodate more customers, in the event of space constraints, customers may be required to check carry-on bags at the gate for no additional charge,” reads the press release.

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(Note that JetBlue’s carry-on guarantee, which provided a flight credit if there’s no room for your carry-on, was cut late last year and no longer applies to any fares.)

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Even so, this represents a nice improvement for this fare product that first debuted in 2019. When these fares debuted, JetBlue allowed flyers to bring a carry-on bag, but it then walked back this inclusion in 2021 when it overhauled its fares and eliminated (most) change and cancellation fees.

Once this change was enacted in July 2021, JetBlue became one of the most restrictive U.S. airlines by not allowing basic economy flyers to travel with a full-size carry-on bag.

But now, going forward, the only major U.S. airline that doesn’t allow full-size carry-on bags for basic economy travelers is United Airlines.

As part of the news, JetBlue isn’t adjusting any other aspect of its fare products. Basic economy tickets cannot be changed, and cancellations are allowed for a $100 fee per person for all flights except transatlantic flights, which come with a $200 cancellation fee.

Same-day changes and standby are not available with Blue Basic tickets, and there are no checked bags included with this fare.

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JetBlue is seemingly making this move as a way to boost profitability, as the carrier has struggled to stay in the black in recent quarters.

“Carry-on bags are an important piece of travel to customers, and when presented with a choice between JetBlue’s award-winning service and another carrier’s basic offering, we want JetBlue to be the easy winner,” Marty St. George, president of JetBlue, said in a statement.

“This is a win-win as we improve the customer experience and keep JetBlue competitive in our industry,” he added.

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