On Tuesday, JetBlue Airways announced a new basic economy fare option known as Blue Basic. The airline is the latest carrier to roll out a bare-bones fare as a part of the broader restructuring of its ticket options. While the airline claims the move comes as a result of customer feedback, saying that they’ve “heard [us] loud and clear,” this move puts the airline on par with the competition, as basic economy fares have proliferated in recent years.
JetBlue first announced its plans to introduce a basic economy fare more than a year ago in an effort to attract more price-sensitive flyers who would otherwise turn to budget carriers like Spirit and Frontier or the basic economy fares offered by Delta, American, and United.
One way JetBlue plans to separate itself from competitors is by allowing its basic economy passengers to bring a standard carry-on bag in addition to a personal item free of charge. United, Spirit, and Frontier only allow a personal item that fits under the seat if you’re traveling on a budget fare, while Delta and American both offer complimentary carry-on bags as well.
JetBlue’s new fare options
The biggest change is JetBlue’s new fare option called Blue Basic. While it comes at a lower price, it also comes with fewer perks.
For instance, advanced seat selection isn’t included on Blue Basic tickets, though it is offered on all other fares. Instead, Blue Basic flyers will be charged a fee if they choose to select their seats more than 24 hours before departure. Passengers will also board last and aren’t given the option to change or cancel flights without forfeiting their fare.
The airline’s TrueBlue rewards program also treats Blue Basic passengers differently. Flyers will earn just one TrueBlue point per dollar spent (or two points if you book on JetBlue.com or the JetBlue app); other JetBlue fare types earn three points per dollar (or six points if you book on JetBlue's website or app).
There’s also a catch: you cannot redeem TrueBlue points for a Blue Basic fare. So while you can earn TrueBlue points with the airline’s basic economy fare, you can’t use them to purchase Blue Basic fares.
Onboard services, such as free snacks and drinks, free WiFi, and live TV, will still be included.
Blue Extra (previously Blue Flex)
JetBlue is also replacing Blue Flex with its new Blue Extra fare option. The two free checked bags that came with the Blue Flex have been scrapped and are now only available to Mosaic members or those that have JetBlue Plus credit cards.
However, there are still no fees for ticket changes and cancellations. This made Blue Flex the most flexible fare option offered by JetBlue, and that continues with Blue Extra.
Is JetBlue’s new Blue Basic fare right for you?
As noted by Business Insider, when basic economy fares are introduced, prices often aren’t actually substantially lower than the previous lowest fare. Instead, airlines can charge you a premium for choosing a standard fare or collect extra fees on basic economy fares, such as the added cost of purchasing seat assignments.
While this may be the case, every traveler has different priorities. Even a slightly lower fare can be favorable to those who don’t have a seating preference or don’t need the flexibility to change or cancel a flight.
If you're a frequent JetBlue flyer, their co-branded credit cards should be on your list of the best airline credit cards for perks. While Blue Basic bookings don’t include a checked bag, JetBlue Plus cardholders will still be able to utilize their free first checked bag perk for all fares — including the new basic economy fare. JetBlue Plus cardmembers will also earn an additional six points per dollar spent, which is on top of the two points per dollar you earn when you book on JetBlue.com or the JetBlue app.
TrueBlue Mosaic members also get added perks on Blue Basic tickets, including two free checked bags and early boarding.
JetBlue’s new basic economy fare might be a great option for travelers simply looking for a seat at the lowest price to get them to their destination. You’ll still get all of the same free onboard services JetBlue offers its passengers, and at a lower price.
But if flexibility and the option to choose your seat early is important to you, one of JetBlue’s higher fare options might be the way to go. Alternatively, you can compare the best travel credit cards offered by JetBlue for the rewards and perks you want.
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JetBlue Plus Card
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