JetBlue latest to refund laid-off consumers

If only employees had this much assurance when they go to work each morning.

JetBlue Airways Corp. this week announced it will give full ticket refunds to eligible passengers who booked and paid for flights and then were involuntarily laid off from their full-time jobs, according to a Wall Street Journal story.

Maybe they and other companies should find a way to reimburse any of their own employees who are laid off. Just kidding -- I was laid off at a newspaper last year and while I support customers having rights, I'm waiting for workers about to be laid off to have some rights too.

Anyway, the JetBlue offer is for U.S.-originating travel booked between Feb. 1 and June 1, although it could be extended.

It's one of the latest companies to offer help to consumers in this recession.

If the person listed on the itinerary personally paid for the ticket, they can apply for a refund up to 14 days before the scheduled departure of the outbound flight. Passengers are normally assessed a $100 change fee on the nonrefundable tickets and can use the remaining ticket credit for a new trip. Exclusions to the new program include group bookings and flights bought with frequent-flier points.

It sounds similar to Hyundai's Assurance Deal, where the car dealer will take a Hyundai back if the car buyer loses his or her job within a year. It's a good way to avoid having a car you can't afford, and it won't affect your credit.

A JetBlue spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that the airline noticed that passengers are waiting to the last minute to buy tickets, a sign of nervousness about their finances.

Harley Davidson, while not offering a refund when buying its entry level motorcycle, the Sportster, is offering new buyers the chance to trade up within a year and get the entire new value of their Sportster in the trade. It's not like Hyundai's deal of getting most of your money back, but it does offer a chance to buy a less expensive Harley when you're unsure about your job and where you'll be in a year.

Aaron Crowe is an unemployed journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read about his job search at

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