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JetBlue Basic Economy to Allow Carry-Ons—Which Airlines Still Charge for Overhead Bins?

JetBlue passengers with the airline’s cheapest class of tickets, known as Blue Basic fares, will be allowed to bring a carry-on bag onto the plane at no additional charge, the carrier announced this week

Previously, if you had a Blue Basic ticket—JetBlue’s version of basic economy—you could only bring aboard a small personal item that fits under the seat in front of you. Use of the overhead bins required purchasing a different fare. 

But starting Sept. 6, Blue Basic also entitles each passenger to one carry-on bag that fits in the cabin’s overhead bins and meets these specifications from JetBlue’s baggage policy webpage: “Carry-on bags must not exceed 22″ L (55.88 cm) x 14″ W (35.56 cm) x 9″ H (22.86 cm), including wheels and handles.”

Taking advantage of the new carry-on allowance depends, of course, on whether there’s still room in the overhead bins to accommodate the bags of passengers with Blue Basic tickets by the time those flyers get on the plane.

As JetBlue points out in its announcement, “Blue Basic customers remain the final group to board.” So “in the event of space constraints, [Blue Basic] customers may be required to check carry-on bags at the [departure] gate for no additional charge.” 

At least it’s free. JetBlue’s recently hiked-up fees for checked baggage are no joke. 

Per the announcement, Blue Basic fares are also subject to, among other restrictions, a cancellation fee that does not apply to any other fares. 

Which U.S. airlines still don’t allow a carry-on bag with basic tickets?

With JetBlue’s change, that leaves United Airlines as the only major U.S. carrier with a basic economy fare to not include a carry-on bag with its cheapest tickets for domestic flights. Unless flying internationally, United passengers with basic economy tickets are allowed only one personal item such as a backpack or laptop bag; those customers must pay extra to check carry-on bags.

Alaska Airlines, American AirlinesDelta Air Lines, and Hawaiian Airlines all include one carry-on per passenger with basic economy fares. (American, for one, didn’t at first but later thought better of it.)

United’s carry-on policy for basic economy is more akin to the practices of no-frills budget carriers such as Frontier Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Allegiant Air, and Avelo Airlines.

Those so-called low-cost airlines don’t offer basic economy fares because their standard seats are basic to begin with—and all of those carriers charge extra for overhead bins (and anything else they can think of). 

Southwest Airlines, meanwhile, remains the U.S. carrier with the most generous baggage allowance, letting each passenger not only bring a carry-on and a personal item aboard but also letting every customer check two bags, all at no additional cost. 

Related: Earlier this year, U.S. airlines raised baggage fees pretty much in concert.

Related: You should always pack these 8 essentials in your onboard personal item.