I have been following the rules in my battle with Air Canada over charging extra to carry my Strida bike; clearly I should have just complained on the right websites. Well in fact I did, posting on TreeHugger, but Air Canada doesn't read it. Carl Larson ran into the same problem with JetBlue, but got onto Consumer Report's site Consumerist. That got action, fast.
His discussion at checkin sounded much like mine at Air Canada:
"What's in the box?" asks the lady at the counter.
"A folding bike, some clothes, and some cheese." I say.
"That's $50." she says, blankly.
Obviously, the conversation didn't end there but eventually, despite threats of unchecking it and rechecking it again as a "metal sculpture," "velocipede," or "personal mobility device", I pulled out my credit card, paid the fee, and started making some phone calls. The phone calls went nowhere. "It's policy." is all got and it's true; Jet Blue, unlike other airlines, does not make any exception for small bicycles.
However after it hit Consumerist, the response was very different. JetBlue responded:
"Thanks for helping to bring this to our attention. We pride ourselves on our customer service and when we’re faced with a situation where policy doesn’t make sense in practice, we’re always ready to correct or clarify. On reading your article, and Carl’s post on BTA4Bikes.org I reached out to our Airports team to address the policy which lacked the definition needed to accommodate situations ‘outside the norm’ such as customers traveling with folding bikes.
Our bicycle policy has now been updated to reflect that Customers traveling with a folding bikes in a bag that fits within the standard checked bag weights and dimensions (62 inches in overall dimensions and 50 pounds in weight — see our baggage requirements here) will not be charged the Bike fee and will be treated like any checked bag.
Thank you again for helping us keep JetBlue attentive to the needs of our customers."