JetBlue Targets Business Travelers With Refundable Fares

New York -- In a bid to attract more business travelers, JetBlue Airways plans to offer for the first time refundable fares, company chairman David Neeleman revealed yesterday at the Corporate Travel World trade show here.

"We're going to be testing it now very soon, in the next week or two; it's really just a technology issue we're working through," Neeleman was quoted as saying by Business Travel News, which sponsors the show. (Business Travel News, Corporate Travel World, and Mimegasite.com are all owned by The Nielsen Company.)

JetBlue's rules will allow travelers to compile refundable fare credits and apply the credits not only to themselves but other travelers as well -- flexibility that other carriers do not offer, according to Neeleman as reported by the publication.

At present, the low-fare carrier charges customers a fee of $30 per person, plus any applicable difference in air fare, to change ticketed flight schedules.

JetBlue is also considering whether to offer higher-paying passengers window and aisle seats next to an empty middle seat on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, according to Business Travel News. Those days represent a time of the week when business people typically travel but overall demand is generally down.

From its main hub at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, JetBlue flies to major urban areas across the country, including Washington, Boston, Chicago, southern Florida, southern California, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

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