JetBlue, Southwest Introduce New Fees, Rewards Policies

by  Molly Fergus | Mar 9, 2011
Jetblue airplane tailfin
Jetblue airplane tailfin / rypson/iStock

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It’s easy to gripe about the big, bad legacy carriers implementing fare hikes and unpopular new fees, but in the last two weeks, fan favorite airlines JetBlue and Southwest have ushered in a few penny-pinching policies of their own.

Last week, JetBlue – beloved for its unlimited snacks and seatback TVs – started charging flyers an extra $5 on some routes for its Even More Legroom fares, a class of seating that offers passengers slightly roomier chairs. Over-packers on JetBlue will also feel the pinch: The airline, which lets flyers check one bag for free, hiked fees on the second piece of luggage from $30 to $35; the new price kicked in March 3.

Two bags still fly free on Southwest, but the budget carrier’s rewards program saw a big shift March 1, when, for the first time, passengers began accruing points based on the cost of travel, instead of just the number of flights they’ve taken. Now, flyers who book the flexible (and pricier) Business Select tickets earn twice as many points as customers flying on the Wanna Get Away fares.

Of course, if you want a reason to hate on those larger airlines, Continental offers (even less) food for thought: As part of its merger with United, the airline stopped giving Biscoff cookies and pretzels with beverage service to economy flyers on domestic flights – a cost-cutting measure that follows United’s no-free-snack policy and saves a cool $2.5 million a year.

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