JetBlue’s solution to insufficient overhead bin space is to entice people to pay just a little bit more to check-in their carry-on bag and avoid the hassle. That presents an opportunity to save money for the budget-concious traveler.
Currently under testing at Orlando International Airport (MCO), the proposition is simple: avoid the hassle of clearing security and fighting for overhead bin space by checking your bag early for $5.
Bags must be:
- no larger than 22-by-14-by-9 inches
- no heavier than 25 pounds
Simple and straightforward, isn’t it? JetBlue will still check your carry-on bag at the gate for no extra charge when the overhead bins are full, so this boils down to whether you want to lug your bag around or not.
A company spokesperson told Paxex.aero:
In an effort to streamline the travel experience, we hope customers will enjoy carrying fewer bags through security and a quicker boarding process at the gate. We look forward to gathering feedback on this trial from our customers and crewmember.
The way I see it, this option will be useful to those who are already checking a bag and don’t mind checking both of them and boarding with only a small personal item.
How You Can Save Money
But it also presents an opportunity for passengers looking to save money and willing to travel lighter. There seem to be no rules prohibiting both a “carry-on” bag to check and a second larger carry-on bag plus personal item as your actual carry-on. Therefore, if you can consolidate everything into a smaller bag, your checked bag fee can potentially drop from $30 (for up to 50 pounds and 62 linear inches) to $5 and you’ll still have a carry-on bag plus personal item as normal.
In that sense, I can see many thrifty passengers benefiting from this trial policy.
Is JetBlue inching toward charging a fee for all carry-on bags? That’s unlikely, though would not necessarily be surprising. At least for now, the option to voluntarily check your carry-on bag (and potential second carry-on bag) for $5 is $25 less than doing the same thing under previous rules. Thus, it could be worse.
What do you think of the new JetBlue $5 carry-on trial?