This is a two-part update, and I owe both parts to reader Giuliana, who wrote first to tell me that JetBlue now allows you to reserve an in-cabin spot for your pet online. As of at least June 16, the language on JetBlue’s JetPaws page stated that “Pets can be booked online or you can call 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583).”
That’s unusual — previously, of the major U.S. airlines, only Virgin America and United (carried over from Continental’s policy) let you make your pet’s reservation at the same time you make your own online reservation. I celebrated noisily on Dog Jaunt’s Facebook page, because it’s a real convenience for travelers with pets — otherwise, you’re forced either to (1) make your own reservation online, then quickly call and add your pet to your ticket, hoping that there’s room in the cabin for her; or (2) make both of your reservations over the phone, incurring the fee for phone reservations.
Previously, JetBlue had sweetened the deal by waiving the phone reservation fee for calls made by travelers with pets, but those days are over. Now, they really want you to make all of your reservations on-line; as Giuliana discovered, they’re adding a big nudge in that direction by adding a $25 fee if you call to make your pet’s reservation. Tucked away in the FAQs — which you wouldn’t necessarily consult when planning your trip, because the FAQ link is located under the “At the airport” section of the JetPaws page — is a new note saying that “Pets may be booked on jetblue.com or by calling 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583) — a $25 booking fee will apply for reservations made over the phone” (emphasis in the original). That is, of course, in addition to the normal $100 (each way) pet fee that the airline charges.
So how does it work? I started making a fictional reservation for mid-July, and I learned that your pet gets added to your reservation at Step 4 (“Extras”) in the process, right after seat selection. Here’s a screen shot of what it looked like:
Put briefly, if you are planning to travel with your in-cabin pet on JetBlue, make reservations for both of you on-line to avoid significant processing fees. Hat tip to JetBlue for making on-line booking available (and thereby tacitly assuring you that your pet actually does have a reserved spot in-cabin — those spots are limited in number, and many airlines make them first-come-first-served), and for its continuing policy of awarding you frequent flyer points for your pet’s travel as well as yours. And another hat tip to Giuliana, for bringing both changes to my attention!