How Strict Is JetBlue With Personal Item Size?

Last Updated on March 3, 2021

JetBlue previously allowed all passengers to bring at least 2 bags as hand luggage. One carry-on bag and one personal item like a purse, small backpack, briefcase, or laptop.

New rules mean that soon passengers flying on Blue Basic fares cannot bring a carry-on on board. Blue Basic passengers are only permitted to bring one personal item that fits under the seat in front.

This post looks at the JetBlue under-seat bag, what capacity it has, and how strict JetBlue is at enforcing hand luggage rules.

The JetBlue Personal Item Size Limit

Here’s the restrictions again as a reminder.

JetBlue personal items must not exceed 17 x 13 x 8 inches (43.2 x 33 x 20.32 cm). There is no weight limit.

A diaper bag for an infant, an infant car seat, an umbrella, a walking stick, and duty-free items don’t count as your personal item.

Blue, Blue Extra, Blue Plus, and Mint fares get to bring a carry-on bag in addition to the personal item. These passengers get to use the overhead bin and, in fact, JetBlue will soon guarantee that overhead bin space will be available and pay compensation if it isn’t.

Most Blue Basic passengers can only bring the smaller under-seat bag and don’t get to use the overhead bins. However, if you are a Mosaic customer you’ll get to bring a carry-on and benefit from early boarding.

Active military and unaccompanied minors also get to bring a carry-on even if they are flying on a Blue Basic ticket.

One way for a Blue Basic passenger to get a carry-on allowance is to buy an “Even More Space” seat. The price for that varies depending on the route.

Needless to say, if you can manage to fly Blue Basic with only a JetBlue personal item you can save yourself some cash.

How Much Can A JetBlue Personal Item Hold?

If you managed to find a bag that was exactly 8 x 13 x 17 then it could have a capacity of 1768 cubic inches or 29 liters.

For comparison, a typical carry-on suitcase holds about 40 liters. So you’ve lost 11 liters packing space.

You’ll also lose more space if you bring a personal bag that is smaller than the permitted dimensions. So try to find a bag that’s as close to 17″ x 13″ x 8″ as possible.

For most short trips it’s perfectly feasible to travel with a 29-liter bag, you just need to learn how to pack light.

How Strictly Is Personal Item Size Enforced By JetBlue?

JetBlue doesn’t mind what type of bag it is so long as the dimensions are right.

For example, a backpack is considered to be a personal item on JetBlue so long as the dimensions don’t exceed 17 x 13 x 8 inches.

And JetBlue certainly used to be a little flexible about personal item size.

This passenger was told not to worry about an third of an inch. It’s rare to see airlines responding this way.

When this traveler wanted to bring an oversize personal item JetBlue didn’t entirely rule it out and was told “if there is room on the plane they might allow it”.

It seems like in the past JetBlue hasn’t been overly strict about personal items, but this isn’t always a good thing…

Keith was tired of JetBlue being too lenient and the consequent lack of overhead space.

I believe that the Blue Basic hand luggage rules are designed to combat the overhead bins filling up too quickly. Passengers should not need to gate check their carry on item if these new rules are enforced.

So expect JetBlue to become much more strict in the future about hand luggage size.

The Bottom Line

Don’t expect JetBlue Airways to give you a free pass, if your bag is larger than 17 x 13 x 8 inches it will be considered to be a carry-on bag.

Especially if you are flying on a Blue Basic fare!

If you turn up at the airport with an oversize personal item you will be made to check it at the boarding gate and charged $65.

JetBlue has always been a low-cost carrier, but JetBlue is now trying to compete with ultra-low-cost airlines like Spirit.

This means they are turning their attention to generating revenue from hand luggage. They will need to enforce the rules to generate that revenue.

The best thing you can do as a passenger is to learn to pack light and to get your hands on a bag that is under the personal item size limit.

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