In many ways, air travel has changed for the better – but there’s never been a time when air passengers have felt more “on their own”. A la carte fees and ever changing policies have alienated customers, creating a transactional “pay for play” game. For years now, JetBlue has dissuaded trends, going it alone with passenger friendly benefits – but a wave of changes – changes their “customer friendly” position.

The Who

JetBlue has been an industry leader in passenger experience, with flexible ticket change fees, best price guarantees and other confidence inspiring programs. The airline is introducing a wave of changes, which diverge from the core values of their ‘passenger friendly’ image.

The What

Specifically – JetBlue has cut their “best price guarantee”. Previously the airline would match the lowest price paid, within 14 days after a customer purchased a fare. If a lower fare was found within 14 days of booking, a voucher would be issued for the difference in price. JetBlue has amended this policy to offer vouchers if a cheaper fare is found, only within 5 days of booking. This represents a 9 day devaluation. Additionally, JetBlue is eliminating free standby for alternate same day flights. Any changes to flights on the day of travel will now cost $75. Previously, if a seat was open, someone could standby for nothing, or confirm the seat for $50.

The When

These policies are effective immediately, and were issued without advanced notice. This is a huge blow for many passengers who favored JetBlue for flexibility on the day of travel, or for peace of mind when booking tickets, fretful of price drops. There’s no way to see this as anything other than unfriendly to passengers.

The Why

Incremental revenue is the new favorite pet of the airline world. Making money without flying planes is the way forward. Adding unfriendly fees, and eliminating previous pricing assurances will mean more cash going into JetBlue and less going out. At the end of the day, everyone is out to make money – but these moves could cost JetBlue more than they realize.