JetBlue hikes checked bag fees again to a whopping $70 – The Points Guy

JetBlue Airways is back with its second rate hike for checked bag fees in just a matter of months.

This time, the New York-based carrier is quietly adding a new demand-based pricing model for checked bags.

JetBlue’s new peak and off-peak checked bag pricing structure is already live; it took effect March 22 with no notice provided by the carrier.

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This news was first reported by NerdWallet and later confirmed by TPG with a carrier spokesperson.

In addition to charging different prices based on when you purchase your checked bag — bags added before the check-in window are up to $10 cheaper — the carrier will now charge more for bags when traveling during a so-called “peak” period.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

You’ll find the full table of JetBlue’s updated checked bag fees below, but the carrier will now charge as much as $70 for a checked bag — an industry-leading price that resembles something you’d likely find on an ultra-low-cost carrier.

During peak travel times, JetBlue will charge an additional $5 for the first checked bag and an additional $10 for a second checked bag for all flights within the U.S., Caribbean and Latin America. Note that the first price in the table below represents the cost of a checked bag purchased more than 24 hours before departure.

FareOff-peakPeak
Blue, Blue Basic, Blue ExtraFirst bag: $35/$45First bag: $40/$50
Second bag: $50/$60Second bag: $60/$70
Blue PlusFirst bag: IncludedFirst bag: Included
Second bag: $50/$60Second bag: $60/70

JetBlue explained the rate hike to TPG with the following statement.

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The cost of transporting bags has gone up significantly due to increased wages and higher fuel costs, and we remain unprofitable since COVID. 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. By adjusting fees for added services that only certain customers use, especially during periods of highest demand for limited space in the cargo hold, we can keep base fares as low as possible and ensure customer favorites like seatback TVs and high-speed Wi-Fi remain free for everyone.

For transatlantic flights during peak travel times, a first bag remains included for all fares except Blue Basic. JetBlue is increasing the first checked bag for Blue Basic customers by $5 and increasing the second checked bag by $10 for all customers.

As for what’s considered a peak time period, JetBlue explains on its updated website that “peak-season pricing applies to checked bags during high-traffic periods, including Presidents’ Week, Thanksgiving and Winter holidays, and peak spring and summer travel seasons.”

Translating that description to numbers shows that JetBlue’s peak pricing applies to nearly half of the year. Over the course of the next 365 days, JetBlue is charging higher bag fees on 158 days.

The longest stretch of peak pricing applies from June 2 to Sept. 3, which covers essentially the entire summer season. Even if you’re traveling on a quiet Tuesday or Wednesday in the summer, expect to pay more for a checked bag.

The full list of peak travel dates includes April 11-April 29, June 20-Sept. 3, Nov. 21-Dec. 2, Dec. 19-Jan. 6, Feb. 13-Feb. 24, and March 3-March 28.

JetBlue’s Mosaic elite customers, as well as those traveling in Mint business class, will still enjoy two free checked bags during travel. Those with the JetBlue Plus Card will also continue to receive their first checked bag for free.

Whether other airlines match JetBlue’s updated pricing structure is anyone’s guess, but as we’ve been reminded over the past few weeks, the airline industry largely ascribes to the “monkey see, monkey do” mantra.

Earlier this year, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue quietly updated their checked bag fees. A few days later, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines quickly matched the increased pricing.

Many of the carriers explained that these updates were being made to adjust to inflationary pressures.

In February, when JetBlue raised checked bag fees for the first time this year, the carrier shared a nearly identical statement to the one that it gave TPG on Monday.

In recent weeks, JetBlue has been working hard to return to profitability now that the Spirit Airlines merger is dead. The carrier has introduced new seat fees, raised checked bag fees (twice) and realigned its network to return to profitability.

Below you’ll find a table comparing the updated checked bag fees for domestic flights on the major U.S. carriers. Note that when two prices are presented, the lower one is charged for buying the bag before the check-in window opens.

AirlineFirst bagSecond bag
Alaska Airlines$35$45
American Airlines$35 or $40$45
Delta Air Lines$35$45
Frontier AirlinesVariesVaries
JetBlueUp to $50Up to $70
Southwest AirlinesFreeFree
Spirit AirlinesVariesVaries
United Airlines$35 or $40$45 or $50

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