Home Airlines Careful, JetBlue – People Can Work The System Of Your New Program To Their Advantage

Careful, JetBlue – People Can Work The System Of Your New Program To Their Advantage

by SharonKurheg

A couple of days ago, Seth from PaxEX wrote a post about a new carry-on bag fee pilot program that JetBlue was launching. His post goes into much more detail, but briefly, JetBlue is trialing a program wherein they are offering to charge you $5 to check a carry-on sized bag at the check in/bag drop.

I see the positives of this – besides not having to shlep your carry on bag everywhere around the airport, it should make boarding go faster, which would be JetBlue’s main objective. But I also see how people could easily and quickly work the system to their advantage, if JetBlue decided to make it a permanent thing at all the airports they service. Here’s how…

Unless you’re in a special category, JetBlue currently charges $30 to check your first bag, $40 for your second bag and $150 per bag for every bag after that. From JetBlue’s website:

Screen Shot 2019-10-23 at 12.54.22 PM

So let’s say you have your standard piece of luggage, that you know you’re going to pay $30 to check. What’s stopping you from bringing one carry on bag that you check at the bag drop for $5, and still having another carry on bag that you’ll bring onto the plane and put into the overhead, the same as usual?


I realize this isn’t in the “spirit” of the program. I mean, it certainly wouldn’t help get everyone loaded as quickly as possible, because you’d still have a carry on bag (it’s everyone putting their carry on bags into the overheads that take the most time). But it would certainly save you money, no? And if you’ve been burned like me, where an airline has lost your luggage for a day or two, you’re going to want to have 24-48 hours’ worth of your stuff with you, just in case.

JetBlue’s new plan for a “typical” traveler:

Check 1 large bag = $30
Check 1 carry on bag at airport = $5
Outcome: $35 and ready for takeoff much faster

Working the system:

Check 1 large bag = $30
Check 1 carry on bag at airport = $5
Bring 1 carry on bag with you = free
2 carry-on bags are only about 25-30% smaller (+/-) than your second large bag that would have cost you $40 to check
Outcome: $35 that would have normally cost you $70 = savings of $35, and you still have a bag to keep with you in the overhead

I’m sure if this pilot program of theirs is successful and they decide to make it system wide, they’ll have developed all sorts of rules that would negate my idea.

But when I read Seth’s post, it’s the first thought that came to my mind.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary



Seth Miller October 23, 2019 - 5:19 pm

There are even more “profitable” ways to game it. But that also means carrying more crap yourself. Most people aren’t going to be happy wrangling two bags versus one in that context.

SharonKurheg October 24, 2019 - 12:06 am

You’re probably right. And who knows what kinds of limiting factors JetBlue would add into the equation, should they decide to make it a permanent, nation-wide change.

But as a Hufflepuff wit a ribbon of Slytherin, that’s how it struck me 😉

Scott October 23, 2019 - 7:03 pm

Simple solution is boarding passes indicate no carry on allowance, passengers with a carry on treated like a 3rd bag and no way around it


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