JetBlue Takes the Lead in Raising Bag-Check Fees Again

(Bloomberg) -- JetBlue Airways Corp. has added another $5 to its fees for checking a first and second bag, setting a new benchmark that other major U.S. airlines will probably follow.

The airline has hiked the cost of checking a first bag to $35 from $30, and to $45 from $40 for the second bag. The price for checking a third piece stayed the same at $150. The fees are for domestic travel, which includes close markets like the Caribbean and northern South America.

JetBlue was the first major U.S. carrier in August 2018 to charge as much as $30 for checking one bag, and other airlines, including American Airlines Group Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc., quickly copied the move. Southwest Airlines Co. doesn’t charge to check a first or second bag.

“While we don’t like increasing fees, we are focused on keeping fares low and offering the features customers tell us they want most, such as the most legroom in coach, free Wi-Fi and seatback TV,” said Derek Dombrowski, a JetBlue spokesman.

The new fees apply to tickets purchased starting Thursday, the New York-based airline said. JetBlue customers can avoid the $5 increase if they check up to two bags online more than 24 hours before departure.

A production delay for Airbus SE’s A321neo aircraft has raised costs for JetBlue and forced it to slow capacity growth next year from its original plan. The carrier in November revamped its fare system to offer a no-frills option in response to competition from discounters like Spirit Airlines Inc. and larger airlines that adopted versions of the cut-rate ticket several years ago.

The fee increase was reported earlier by USA Today, which also cited a company memo published by Seth Miller, an aviation blogger.

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