If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them: JetBlue Will Launch Basic Economy Next Year

Eric Salard [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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Basic Economy was created by Delta to respond to ultra low cost carriers like Frontier and Spirit. United quickly matched and made it even more restrictive by banning carry-on bags from basic economy fares.

American matched United’s more restrictive version before backpedaling and moving to Delta’s less restrictive version. Oddly enough United’s international basic economy fares are less restrictive than American’s and Delta’s, though their domestic basic economy fares are more restrictive.

Even with United’s harsh basic economy restrictions, there are still many advantages to buying them over flying Frontier or Spirit.

Airlines like Alaska and El Al have already announced their own plans for basic economy.

The holdouts have been JetBlue and Southwest.

JetBlue held onto free checked bags for a long time, but eventually gave in and even initiated the most recent round of baggage price hikes.

JetBlue announced today that they will launch basic economy fares next year. They wax poetic nonsense about inspiring humanity by offering more choices. That’s great spin, but at the end of the day, customers buying the cheapest fares will board last, won’t be able to make changes to their flights, and will have seating restrictions, though the exact details are still being determined.

JetBlue does point out that they will still offer everyone free WiFi, free carry-ons, free snacks, and free live TV. That’s nice, but basic economy is still an annoyance that clearly won’t be going away. Unless you fly Southwest, that is.

Do you fly Basic Economy or do you buy up to regular economy fares?

HT: mochjas, via DDF and TPG

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32 Comments On "If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them: JetBlue Will Launch Basic Economy Next Year"

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Disappointing. Won’t be long till the airlines limit baggage weight to 40lbs.


How will basic economy affect mosaic customers?


It is terrible. It is the most devaluating thing airlines have done to status. No carry on, almost no elite miles, no seat assigment so no preferred seats, good luck with carry ons, no upgrade chance.


I assume that with any airline, carrying its credit card has no impact on the basic economy restrictions?


I flew southwest this week with my family, hate it that you can’t select seats before


You can also buy up to early -bird check in or check in exactly 24 hours ahead.

Before I could use family boarding, if I was flying Motzei Shabbos/Yom Tov, I would buy early-bird for my wife and I would board regular. That way she could grab an aisle, and it was extremely unlikely someone would want the middle next to her.

I’ve flown Southwest about 5 times and have never had a problem, nor paid more than $15 total each way for me/wife/baby to sit together.

High end hobo

What about AS? They are one of the major carriers since the merger


I buy regular fare. I need some flexibility with my ticket. I recently flew AA with BA points and asked to change my seat at the gate. The rep was happy to help but told me that if I had the basic economy then I would have had to pay. Its a few dollars more but you dont have the headache.




Since jet blue’s award tickets directly correspond to.published fare rate and any given time, will that mean award tickets could be subject to basic economy restrictions as well?


What if I’m a Mosaic member, will I be able to book cheaper fares and still Enjoy all the benefits?

JetBlue Lol

Dan I’m a Delta Medallion member so I have loyalty I will admit

But JetBlue thinks they are now in the same category as AA, United, and Delta but they aren’t:
Aside for NYC- Fort Lauderdale, (and maybe Boston) they do not have tons of flight options the big 3 offer … business travelers NEVER fly JetBlue.

Also business flyers pay for regular economy on the big 3. Stripping the few things they have over the other airlines, will alienate the business flyer when flying personal.

Just a thought


Interesting thought. You think that JetBlue is having financial troubles? I didn’t really deeply research it, but is it possible they are starting to struggle and become desperate? Nothing in life is indispensable, especially airlines.


stock price has been long stagnent
capacity is great but the market has not really given them a pass


fake news
they fly lax and sfo from jfk many times a day and offer a significantly better premium and cheaper premium cabin. they also fly mint from boston and are expanding it as well
i know many business travelers who fly jetblue so your statement isnt fact


Sort of true. They are only strong on the coasts. Still, I fly JetBlue for business everywhere I can and although they do not offer the re-routing flexibility of the big 3, Mosaic on JetBlue is many times better for me than silver and gold on the others. JetBlue is usually more expensive than the others and I still choose them. However, like the other Mosaics here, I’m probably going to be unhappy…

Yechiel Z.

They don’t fly tons to Chicago – enough said!
Big 3 have a shuttle with plenty of flights.

JetBlue May have a flight or two, but no convinience shuttle to

Too busy to think now, but your a clueless person who thinks the country is Florida and California

That being said, the business customer many times jumps to earlier flights or delays to later flights.

In Chicago for example, big 3 can accommodate, JetBlue you are limited


Can’t beat em? I thought Jetblue was beating them in a niche way


Should we be scared that SW will be negatively influenced by all of this? The nuttier this gets the more unique they seem to be. Almost like how can they sustain their model without all the fees, even though they are they only airline that has consistently made money every quarter. The whole thing is really strange how they can be the only guys that do it


I just booked my first basic ticket for work JFK>RDU, it’s a day trip, I’ll have a small backpack only, I’m trying to anticipate the drawbacks, but it seems worth a shot