NEW YORK, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- JetBlue Airways Corp. announced Wednesday that they will be reducing the legroom on planes by adding seats and implementing checked bag fees.
The pitch was given to shareholders after facing a stint of lagging financial performance. The move could be seen as the airline shooting itself in the foot, as the greater-than-average amount of legroom and lack of checked bag fees were what attracted customers to the airline.
The reduced seat plan would add 15 seats to their Airbus A320 planes, bumping the seat count from 150 to 165 and reducing the distance between seats from 34.7 inches to 33.1 inches. To be fair, even with the reduction in legroom, JetBlue will still theoretically have more legroom than most of its competitors.
The new checked bag fees would be part of a three-tier fare system to be launched in 2016. The cheapest tier will not offer a complimentary checked bag and could make it more difficult to change a reservation.
This move by the airline has been expected since Robin Hayes was announced as the future CEO in September. Analysts have also been pushing for JetBlue, which has been coming short of competitors in financial performance, to tighten their seats and their fares.
"Stop selling steak to customers who want hamburgers," wrote Barclays airline analyst David Fintzen.
JetBlue shares were up 2.5 percent to $13.04 in midmorning trading.