JetBlue is changing its practices to run more like other airlines, and people are going nuts.
While all other airlines save Southwest switched to charging for checked bags, JetBlue made a free bag part of its unique selling proposition
What does United charge for checked bags? $25, I think. According to Google Flights, and a NYC-Chicago round trip costs $303 on JetBlue, $250 on United. So you get your choice — pay your fifty bucks in extra airfare, or pay it in bag fees. I’m not sure why the former is more customer-friendly. It’s certainly not more friendly to me, since I rarely check.
Then there’s the seat issue:
Starting in 2016, JetBlue will stuff 15 more chairs on its Airbus A320s, bringing the seat count per aircraft to 165 from 150. That means JetBlue will fly its A320 at a higher seating density than many major competitors, including United Airlines (138-150 seats), US Airways (150) and Virgin America (146-149).
In other words: customer-friendly JetBlue is now operating at the same density as USAir and a higher density than United and Virgin Atlantic!
I sympathize with JetBlue here. People seem to want to pay a low base fare and then pay for things a la carte. Food in the airport is much better than it used to be and people would rather pay 10 bucks for a sandwich (or bring food from home) than buy a more expensive ticket and eat airline food. People would rather watch their own stuff on a tablet than buy a more expensive ticket and watch the airline’s stuff on a seatback. And etc. and etc. I think the one thing people do want is more room to sit. But if you want to pay $50 extra for that, you can do it on the big three by buying a premium coach seat at checkin.
OK, to be fair, this actually costs more like $50 each way. On the other hand, United Economy Plus gives you 37 inches of seat pitch; a standard JetBlue seat is 34, and a standard United seat 33.