As the coronavirus continues to spread, airlines are implementing new strategies to keep people flying. JetBlue, in particular, has announced that it will no longer be charging a change or cancellation fee for any of its routes – the first U.S. airline to do so.
JetBlue is the first U.S. carrier to waive the fee for flight changes or cancellations on all its routes. Other airlines, such as Delta, United, and American, have only waived those fees for flights bound to specific cities. The statement explains, “Due to evolving coronavirus concerns, we are suspending change and cancel fees for all new flight bookings made between February 27, 2020 and March 11, 2020 for travel through June 1, 2020.” This means that all fare types, including their restrictive “Blue Basic” fare, will not be subject to any fees if travel plans change.
It is important to note that if you cancel, the refund will not go back to the card the ticket was purchased on, but rather in the form of JetBlue Travel Credit to be used within 12 months. Furthermore, only the change fee will be waived for flight changes, so customers will still responsible for paying any fare differences.
Although this offers great flexibility to passengers, some Twitter users were unhappy with the decision to only apply the waived fees to new bookings. One user said, “If you are giving people who book now a chance to change or cancel flights without fees, why not extend that to those of us who are already booked? We are just as worried about the virus.”
Implementation of the policy was most likely done to encourage people to still book tickets amid the continued uncertainty of the virus’ spread. JetBlue CEO Joanna Geraghty said, “While authorities have not issued any travel restrictions to the locations we fly, we want to give our customers some peace of mind that we are ready to support them should the situation change.”