JetBlue President and Chief Operating Officer Joanna Geraghty said this week at Skift Global Forum that she wants the airline to continue to differentiate on service and product. But will a cheaper, stripped-down type of ticket help the carrier do that?
JetBlue Airways Corp. will offer its own version of a basic economy fare, saying its “success is at risk” if it doesn’t match the discounted, no-extras tickets being sold by larger rivals.
The change will be part of a broader shakeup of JetBlue’s fare system that will debut next year, President Joanna Geraghty told airline employees in a message Friday. JetBlue’s version will retain services like free Wi-Fi and a carry-on bag and personal item at no charge, she said.
The new lowest-price option will compete with basic economy fares offered by larger rivals like American Airlines Group Inc. and deep discounters including Spirit Airlines Inc. Those tickets, which generally don’t allow changes, seat selection or early boarding, were created to appeal to passengers willing to sacrifice some services for much lower prices.
“At JetBlue, we never liked the ‘no frills’ approach,” Geraghty said. But “customer behavior suggests our success is at risk if we do not disrupt this market by lowering fares without sacrificing the experience.”
JetBlue shares rose 0.2 percent to $19.42 at 1:09 p.m. in New York trading. They have fallen 13 percent this year.
Her message didn’t offer details on features or a brand name for the new basic economy ticket. Customers buying the lowest fare “will agree to some limits, which might include boarding order, seating and change/cancellation flexibility,” she said.
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.
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Photo Credit: A JetBlue aircraft is shown. The airline will start offering a cheaper fare with pared-down perks. JetBlue Airways
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