MIAMI — JetBlue Airways may start charging passengers for first checked bags next year. Currently, JetBlue and Southwest are the only two U.S. airlines that allow passengers to check their first bag free. Although, Southwest Airlines is also tossing the idea of charging for the first checked bag as well.
On JetBlue, the first bag is free, but passengers must pay $40 for second checked bags and $75 for the third checked bags per flight.
During the first quarter earnings conference call, the airlines’ president explained that checked bag fees could come in different fare bundles to give passengers more choice. This could be similar to American Airlines’ system. Instead of purchasing the “Choice” fare, passengers can pay a little more for “Choice Essential” which allows customers to check one bag.
JetBlue plans to use its partnership with Datalex to provide the much needed technology to be the base for a new merchandising platform. This would allow passengers to have more choice and expand self-service capabilities.
Southwest is looking at the different ways it can raise revenue, and CEO Gary Kelly said the company is looking into this as well. Vinay Bhaskara, Airchive’s Senior Business Analyst, says that “after discussing baggage fees more candidly in past conference calls, CEO Gary Kelly pulled back a little from those comments during this quarter’s conference call, but the long term incentives are just too strong. Even a $10 bag fee would have generated $306.57 million in additional revenues for Southwest this quarter, and a $25 bag fee in the vein of its network peers would have generated $766.41 million.”