WATCH: New Era For JetBlue Is Underway
JetBlue Airways, long a holdout on charging for bags, began a new era on Tuesday with a different airfare pricing structure and the onset of baggage fees.
The New York-based airline has instituted its Blue, Blue Plus and Blue Flex pricing options on fares. Fliers who choose a Blue fare will pay $20 to check their first bag online or at a kiosk, while the fee for checking in at the airport counter goes up to $25. A second checked bag costs $35.
Blue Plus tickets are more expensive but include the cost of the first checked bag (with a second checked bag still at $25). And a Blue Flex ticket is more expensive still but includes the cost of two checked bags.
Any customer flying with a third bag that needs to be checked must pay $100.
According to CNN, there is an average $15 difference between Blue and Blue Plus fares and around an $85 difference between Blue Plus and Blue Flex.
Why did JetBlue cave after all these years? Do the math. The company was under pressure from investors and Wall Street to improve its bottom line, and the 26 largest U.S. airlines took in a combined $1.6 billion in fees in the first quarter, up 7.4 percent from the same period last year and the highest amount for a Q1 since the Bureau of Transportation Statistics first started keeping such records on ancillary fees in 2008.
With JetBlue’s decision, that leaves Southwest as the last major domestic airline not to charge baggage fees.
"Why hold out as the only carrier to not charge for the first two checked bags? Simple — our customers hate those fees," Southwest's chief commercial officer Bob Jordan wrote in a blog post last year.
WATCH: TravelPulse founder Mark Murphy appeared on CBSN July 1 to discuss JetBlue's new baggage fees, along with new airline access being made available to Cuba, and the emergence of Blade, a service being billed as "Uber for helicopters."
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