Jetblue charged Carl $50 to check a small box. If Carl hadn’t mentioned that there was a small foldable bike in the box, his package would have been checked for free…
Picture this: It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m checking in at Jet Blue’s fancy new T5 terminal at JFK. I’ve only got one piece of luggage to check ’cause that’s all you can check for free on Jet Blue these days. The item mustn’t weigh over 50 lbs. and its combined outer dimensions must be under 80″. The box I put up on the scale weighed 43lbs. and was under that size.
“What’s in the box?” asks the lady at the counter.
“A folding bike, some clothes, and some cheese.” I say.
“That’s $50.” she says, blankly.
Obviously, the conversation didn’t end there but eventually, despite threats of unchecking it and rechecking it again as a “metal sculpture,” “velocipede,” or “personal mobility device”, I pulled out my credit card, paid the fee, and started making some phone calls. The phone calls went nowhere. “It’s policy.” is all got and it’s true; Jet Blue, unlike other airlines, does not make any exception for small bicycles.
Delta and American Airlines both let passengers check bikes in boxes without the charge. The reasoning is clear: luggage handlers don’t want to deal with a bike. A box? It might as well contain a cadaver or a lobster collection so long as it’s easy to pick up and toss on a conveyor belt. Next time Jetblue asks what you have in the box, don’t feel compelled to talk yourself into a surcharge.
Update: Jetblue responded to Carl’s post by changing their policy.
Thanks for helping to bring this to our attention. We pride ourselves on our customer service and when we’re faced with a situation where policy doesn’t make sense in practice, we’re always ready to correct or clarify. On reading your article, and Carl’s post on BTA4Bikes.org I reached out to our Airports team to address the policy which lacked the definition needed to accommodate situations ‘outside the norm’ such as customers traveling with folding bikes.
Our bicycle policy has now been updated to reflect that Customers traveling with a folding bikes in a bag that fits within the standard checked bag weights and dimensions (62 inches in overall dimensions and 50 pounds in weight — see our baggage requirements here) will not be charged the Bike fee and will be treated like any checked bag.
Thank you again for helping us keep JetBlue attentive to the needs of our customers.