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JetBlue does a good job of winning the customer by combining the no frills aspect of low-cost carriers, but adding twists such as satellite music, free live TV, friendly enough in-flight crews, and allowing the first checked bag of up to 50 pounds free of charge.
But the “always free” bag could be coming to an end in 2015. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, JetBlue’s CFO Mark Powers said “The concept of a first-bag fee is on the table. There is a construct under which we would, in effect, be able to charge for bags.”
According to this Bloomberg story JetBlue is looking at a new fare buckets that include bundling – ticket price, plus premiums on early boarding and better seating, and increased checked bag fees. “If you chose to buy a bucket without attributes and show up with a bag, you probably should pay for it,” said Powers.
While Southwest Airlines leads the industry with it’s “Bags Fly Free” campaign that allows two free checked bags up to 50 pounds each, I think that JetBlue’s current scheme of allowing the first bag to fly free, then charging $50 to check a second bag, and $100 to check a third bag is one of the most fair in the airline industry today.
But critics on Wall Street say that JetBlue is leaving too much revenue and too many profits on the table by not charging for every checked bag.
Will 2015 be the year that JetBlue eliminates the “always free” first bag?