Raising fares is relatively hard for airlines. Raising fees, on the other hand, tends to work out reasonably well. JetBlue is about to find out just how well as it increases fees for checked baggage and phone-based customer support.
With the launch of Fare Options 2.0 and other technology investments, our Customers have more self-service tools than ever at their fingertips. Now we are changing our fee structure to give Customers extra motivation to use those self-service tools, while at the same time increasing revenue for JetBlue even as we keep our base fares low.-JetBlue’s internal message to crewmembers regarding the increased fees
Effective immediately the checked bag fee increases to $35 for the first bag and $45 for the second. If a customer chooses to pay in advance – prior to the online check-in window opening – the fee drops by $5. In a message to crewmembers the carrier highlights the discount for booking checked bags in advance as it will “reduce transactions in the airport lobby and improve the Customer experience.” This new policy translates to a $5 increase for checked bags unless passengers pay in advance. An increase in checked bag fees leads to more passengers bringing bags into the cabin. JetBlue realizes this and will be “taking a look at how we can improve 1+1 bag policy compliance and working on longer-term solutions.”
The carrier already offers encouragement for passengers to book online with increased TrueBlue earning for tickets purchased through the company’s digital channels. As those services improve in their ability to handle flight changes and other requests JetBlue now hopes that passengers won’t call for help as much. Passengers who do call now face a $25 fee for the privilege. “This pricing is meant to encourage Customers to take advantage of our website and mobile app and give those Customers who are unable to use them and require phone support the best experience.” The internal document does not mention waiving the fee for changes that cannot be managed on the site.
The new fees will almost certainly deliver on the goal of increasing revenue for the company. What the impact is on customer satisfaction or NPS rankings will take time to realize. And given the general trend of raising fees and reducing staffing in the terminals across the industry this shouldn’t be too surprising. But still probably not good news.
- JetBlue launches a new – and maybe useful – carry-on bag fee trial
- Introducing Blue Basic: JetBlue’s new, most limited fare option
- Record ancillary revenues won’t derail Basic Economy expansion at JetBlue