WASHINGTON D.C. – In response to WestJet’s news yesterday that it will start charging customers a checked-bag fee for their first bag, a senior JetBlue official was asked if the carrier would ever follow – and that exec didn’t exactly say no.
During The Hill’s Aviation Policy Summit yesterday held at the National Press Club, airline industry watcher and PlaneBusiness.com founder Holly Hegeman asked JetBlue Airways marketing SVP Marty St. George about whether JetBlue might follow suit.
MORE ONLINE: Southwest’s CFO vows not to charge bag fees
MORE ONLINE: 10 Frustrating parts of travel
MORE ONLINE: Worst view ever No. 11: The view from reader’s Fairmont hotel
While he said he couldn’t talk about future pricing per federal law, St. George said that JetBlue has been working on technology that will allow it to create “bundled packages” without elaborating on what the packages might contain. The technology should become available next year, he said.
“We’ll see what happens when that time comes,” St. George told the crowd of airline executives, federal regulators, lobbyists, pilots and reporters in response to Hegeman’s question. “At the end of the day, (the checked-bag fee) is another nuisance tax. If we ever go in that direction, we’d do it in a way (that passengers) don’t feel like they do when they fly Spirit, Delta or United.”
Currently, JetBlue’s website says it does not charge a fee for customers’ first checked bag:
At JetBlue, we want you to pack freely. That’s why we take your first checked bag for free. So go ahead, put in that extra pair of shoes or that “just-in-case” outfit. You don’t have to squeeze it all into your carry-on.
Also during the summit, Hunter Keay, a sell-side aviation industry analyst at Wolfe Research, represented the extreme other side of the fee argument.
Keay made no bones about the fact that he thinks airlines don’t charge passengers enough fees for services and things that cost them money as for-profit entities. But that’s another story! Stay tuned on TravelUpdate.com…