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Is JetBlue abandoning the budget traveler?

Budget travelers have enjoyed the low prices and extra perks of JetBlue for years. But recent moves by the airline indicate a shift in its focus toward a more business-minded clientele—and with each new service the airline adds, one has to wonder if its discounted seats will become fewer and fewer.

Case in point: JetBlue says it will begin testing refundable (and, presumably, more expensive) fares, in hopes of attracting a more corporate clientele. The airline is also experimenting with a few other concepts geared towards the business traveler, including a “virtual first class,” which would give frequent travelers the chance to choose between a window and an aisle seat, foregoing the dreaded middle seat. (Result? Fewer choices for the budget traveler who pays less for his or her seat.)

It’s becoming clear that JetBlue is no longer focused exclusively on the leisure traveler, but it’s still too soon to know for sure what that will mean in the long run. Me, I’ll continue to book the carrier’s low fares as fast as my fingers can type—and hope there are enough seats to go around.

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