Are you a JetBlue frequent flier? Too bad if you answered yes. Thise skies are going to get significantly less friendly starting real quick. According to yesterday's Wall Street Journal, they're adding fees for checked bags and cutting legroom-- all in the name of squeezing a couple of more dollars into the bottom line ($450 million by 2018).
JetBlue said it would start offering new basic fares that don’t include a complimentary checked bag, as part of three new fare classes the airline is introducing next year. Along with Southwest Airlines Co. , JetBlue had been one of the last two U.S. airlines to offer all fliers at least one free checked bag-- despite widespread adoption of bag fees by their peers in recent years.I wonder when they'll end the free Wi-Fi. Wall Street never approved of their client-oriented service approach and reacted very positively to the austerity announcement, of course, sending the stock up. New CEO Robin Hayes told happy Wall Street analysts that "Even with the changes we’re announcing today, I’m confident that our customers are going to still feel that JetBlue is offering a better experience than anyone else." He said he expects "a lot of noise" from customers but feels confident they'll shut up eventually and take what they're given. Their only rationale is, literally, the rest of the U.S. airline industry is much worse.
JetBlue also said that starting in the third quarter of 2016, it plans to increase the number of seats on its Airbus A320 aircraft to 165 seats from 150. The new seats will reduce JetBlue’s average legroom by almost 5% to 33.1 inches per seat, which is still the most average space among U.S. carriers. The new seating configuration will also require a fourth flight attendant on those A320 aircraft because of federal rules that require one attendant per 50 seats.