JetBlue Goes Refundable

Fares, JetBlue

How many of you knew that JetBlue didn’t have a single refundable fare until today? I know, it seems surprising. You’d think that at least their full fares would be refundable, but they weren’t. Now they are.

08_01_29 b6refundsToday’s announcement shows that JetBlue is trying harder to appeal to business travelers in order to increase revenues. Apparently, they don’t want Southwest to be the only one getting in on this demographic.

So let’s say I’m a business traveler. I live in Long Beach and I now have an urgent meeting in New York that requires I fly out tomorrow morning and return Thursday night. I go to and I’m instantly annoyed that you have to choose if you want to see refundable fares or just the lowest fare. I wish they could show me both, but I’ll just do two queries to see the difference.

The lowest available fare is $717.50. The refundable fare is $1,117.50. Since this is a last minute trip and I know it’s going to happen, I’m probably not going to bother buying the refundable fare. But what if I think I’m going to have to take the same exact trip two weeks later but I’m not sure?

The lowest available fare is $397.50. The refundable fare is $1,117.50. Considering the change fee is $50 ($40 if you book online) plus the difference in fare, I’m probably still going to go with the non-refundable one assuming I’ll be able to use the credit in the future.

In other words, these top fares probably have limited appeal to most people, but that’s not to say they’re a bad idea. JetBlue might as well offer a refundable fare for those people who really like the flexibility and find that it’s worth it even at high prices. It can’t hurt revenue – it can only help.

If these end up becoming popular, JetBlue is going to need to be careful. Remember, they don’t overbook right now. Refundable fares tend to breed higher no-show rates (since there’s no penalty), so there will be pressure to starting overbooking.

But, I think it’s unlikely that we’ll see that happen, especially since these shouldn’t be huge sellers. It’s just another option for the business traveler that JetBlue can and should be offering, especially since they can make more money with it.

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1 comment on “JetBlue Goes Refundable

  1. Hmm.. One wonders if they’ve done the math and are comfortable with charging about three times as much to cover the no call no shows…

    Its probably more of a worry for the people who actually want their money back..

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