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JetBlue Refundable Fares

JetBlue, the discount airline carrier, is apparently growing up. What do I mean? I mean that the airline will soon begin testing refundable fares “as a means to garner more corporate business and generate new forms of revenue.” So they’re going to start acting like a real airline. Kidding, I think this is great news for consumers (although I have to wonder if it will cause prices to rise).

According to the press release,

The carrier aims to be more flexible in its refundable fare rules than its domestic competitors by allowing travel buyers to accumulate refundable fare credits and apply them to other travelers, Neeleman said. “We were already more flexible than nonrefundable fares with the other guys because you can switch names, but we’re going to the next step, the next generation,” Neeleman said. He noted some corporate travel policies don’t allow purchase of nonrefundables, saying the new fare would generate additional revenue to the carrier.

Of course they don’t. No business traveler buys non-refundable fares. That would be horrible. I couldn’t imagine having to explain to the accounting department the reason why I bought a second return ticket from a business trip was because the first was non-refundable and I had to change my travel date. I’m not sure who they’re considering their competitors, but I have to assume other discount carriers. That being the case, their policies may in fact be more flexible.

The whole credits thing seems a bit shady. I don’t consider it a refund if you don’t get your money back. Credits are not a refund and I bet they’ll have some sort of restrictions and designated time frame for use. We’ll see.