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Want to get somewhere for cheap? Basic economy fares promise to do just that, unbundling the benefits of regular economy tickets like carry-on baggage, seat selection and standard boarding. Blue Basic is JetBlue Airways’ version of a basic economy fare, and while it promises to get you to your destination, it doesn’t offer much else.
Let’s take a look at Blue Basic on JetBlue, how to book this type of ticket and ways to get good value when flying Blue Basic.
What is Blue Basic on JetBlue?
Those who purchase a Blue Basic ticket can expect a no-frills experience, though they’ll still be seated in standard economy class seats.
Here's what to expect with a Blue Basic ticket:
Baggage allowance: Those flying in Blue Basic are only allowed a personal item, with the exception of travelers heading to or from London. These transatlantic flights allow both a personal item and a carry-on bag.
Boarding: Blue Basic customers board the plane last, behind everyone else.
Check-in: Like regular economy customers, Blue Basic travelers will use the economy check-in line.
Seats: Economy class seats are up to 18.4 inches wide and will vary depending on the aircraft you’re flying. Expect seat pitch to be anywhere from 32 to 34 inches. Blue Basic passengers can pay to select a seat before check-in.
Baggage delivery: Blue Basic passengers will have their bags delivered at the same time as other economy class bags.
Food: All passengers receive free snacks and drinks when flying with JetBlue, including those with a Blue Basic ticket.
Changes and cancellations: Unlike JetBlue’s other seats, Blue Basic fares incur a fee if you need to change or cancel your ticket. You’ll pay $100 for flights in North and Central America and the Caribbean and $200 for flights elsewhere. For same-day switches, you’ll pay a $75 fee and no fare difference, similar to other JetBlue fares.
» Learn more: Your guide to booking award flights on JetBlue
How to book a Blue Basic JetBlue ticket
Blue Basic tickets are available on all flights that JetBlue operates. Booking these tickets is simple, whether you’re paying with cash or redeeming your points.
First, you’ll want to navigate to JetBlue’s homepage at Jetblue.com.
From here, you can enter your desired flight route and dates. If using points, you can also tick the box titled “Use TrueBlue points.”
You’ll then be presented with the results of your search, which default to displaying Blue Basic pricing.
Note that JetBlue partners with American Airlines; on these flights, Blue Basic is not offered.
If you’re looking for other types of fares, you can toggle the search results on the left side of the page. Here you can compare Blue Basic versus Blue Plus, Blue Extra or Blue to see pricing and what each tier offers.
Once you’ve selected your preferred flight, you’ll be prompted with a notice that reviews all of the restrictions for Blue Basic tickets. You’ll need to acknowledge this before moving on with your booking.
You’ll then be taken through the checkout process, where you’ll verify your flight information and enter your traveler details.
During this step, you’ll also be able to select seats, add a checked bag, opt for priority security screening or add a pet booking.
All of these options incur an additional fee. The amount you’ll pay for a specific seat assignment will depend on where you’re sitting, as the example shows below.
Once you’ve selected or declined these options, you’ll be able to pay for and book your ticket.
» Learn more: How to redeem JetBlue points
What is the difference between JetBlue Basic and Blue?
There are several differences between a JetBlue Blue Basic and Blue fare, but the most consequential is likely the flexibility to change or cancel your ticket. JetBlue Blue Basic fares cost $100 to modify for flights within North America, Central America and the Caribbean, or $200 for other routes, whereas Blue fares can be changed for no fee.
Other differences include:
Carry-on bags are not allowed with Blue Basic tickets (except for flights to/from London), while Blue fares are allotted one, regardless of route.
Advanced seat selection is an added fee for Blue Basic fares, whereas it's included for Blue fares.
Blue Basic tickets board last.
Blue Basic tickets earn 1 base TrueBlue point per dollar spent, as well as 1 TrueBlue point as part of its online booking bonus. Blue fares and above, meanwhile, earn 3 TrueBlue points per dollar in either scenario.
Similarities across both fares include:
Both ticket types include one personal item, but no checked bags.
Both charge a $75 fee for same-day switches or standby.
Blue Basic and Blue fares charge extra for expedited security access through the airline's Even More Speed program.
Ways to get good value on JetBlue flights
If you’re booking a Blue Basic ticket, you’re likely interested in getting a good price for your flight. Here are several other ways to find value when flying JetBlue, from transferring points to earning elite status, to looking at other fare options.
Find cheap cash flights
JetBlue operates on a dynamic pricing system for its reward flights. This means that the number of points you’ll redeem will be directly tied to the cash price of a flight. Your best bet for good value — whether with cash or TrueBlue points — is to find a cheap cash flight.
To do so, flexibility is key, but so is knowing when to look for inexpensive fares. For example, NerdWallet’s research shows flying midweek is often cheaper than taking a weekend trip, and booking farther in advance can also get you more savings.
Transfer in your points
JetBlue partners with three different flexible point currencies, which means it’s easy to earn plenty of TrueBlue points. Each currency values its points slightly differently when it comes to transferring them to JetBlue:
American Express Membership Rewards: 125 Membership Rewards = 100 TrueBlue points. Terms apply.
Chase Ultimate Rewards®: 100 Ultimate Rewards® = 100 TrueBlue points.
Citi ThankYou Rewards: 100 ThankYou points = 100 TrueBlue points (Prestige and Premier cardholders) or 80 TrueBlue points (Preferred cardholders).
These three partners feature multiple points-earning cards that come with the following welcome offers:
Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
The Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.
Citi Premier® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
American Express® Gold Card: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.
By signing up for one or more of these travel cards, you can get a good start on earning enough points for an award ticket on a JetBlue flight.
» Learn more: The best travel credit card welcome bonuses right now
Earn elite status
JetBlue has one permanent tier of elite status: Mosaic. Those with elite status on JetBlue receive a bevy of benefits, including free checked bags, complimentary premium seats and extra bonus points when flying.
Here’s an overview of the perks Mosaic elite members enjoy when flying JetBlue:
Two free checked bags.
Free carry-on bag.
Additional 3x points on JetBlue flights.
Free in-flight alcoholic beverages.
Free same-day Even More Space seat, if available.
Access to the Even More Speed security lane.
Early boarding and a dedicated boarding lane.
Waived fees on same-day changes and standbys.
Holding elite status with JetBlue almost entirely negates the pain points of flying in basic economy, though you’ll still need to pay for seat selection more than 24 hours in advance.
In addition to Mosaic status holders, active duty military members and unaccompanied minors are always able to bring a carry-on bag, even when flying Blue Basic.
Book an Even More Space seat
If you’re already planning on paying for a seat with your Blue Basic ticket, you may want to consider springing for the Even More Space add-on. In addition to extra legroom, these tickets come with several different benefits that are especially useful for those flying basic economy:
Carry-on bag included.
Early access to overhead bins.
Even More Speed security lane.
All JetBlue flights feature these Even More Space seats, though the cost will vary depending on your specific flight.
» Learn more: JetBlue sweet spots
How does JetBlue basic economy compare with other airlines?
In NerdWallet's annual analysis of best airlines, JetBlue ranked in the middle of the pack in terms of best basic economy tickets for travelers. It beat out heavy-hitters like Delta and United, but placed behind American and Alaska.
We compared all of the full-service U.S.-based airlines' basic economy tickets and rated them on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest.
JetBlue's ability to cancel or make changes basic economy fares for a fee helped it stand out (in a good way) among other airlines, most of which do not allow changes at all. Otherwise, the restrictions on JetBlue basic economy tickets are pretty standard. The airline's score was negatively impacted by the inability to bring a carry-on bag that goes in the overhead bins. Blue Basic fares only include one carry-on item that fits under the seat.
Blue Basic on JetBlue, recapped
Blue Basic isn’t for everyone. Although it’s cheap, it also features several restrictions. These include the lack of a carry-on bag, boarding the plane last and fees when changing or canceling your ticket.
However, there are ways to extract good value out of these basic economy tickets, especially if you’re a JetBlue elite member. Otherwise, buying an Even More Space seat will entitle you to a few extra perks — just be sure to find a cheap cash flight to maximize your value.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card