Coat Check, Please! Airline Solves the Winter-Travel Conundrum

What to do with that bulky winter coat when traveling from the east and midwest to Florida, California, or Hawaii? If you’re flying from New York on JetBlue, there’s a simple solution.

For travelers flying from cold-weather areas to more temperate destinations—think wintertime flights from the east and midwest to Florida, California, or Hawaii—the sticky question inevitably arises: What to do with that bulky winter coat? Wear it to the airport, and stow it during the trip? Or travel light and brave the frigid trip to the airport dressed in an Aloha shirt and flipflops?

If you’re flying from New York’s Kennedy airport on JetBlue, there’s a simple solution to the problem. Wear your coat to the airport, and check it at the CoatChex desk in the T5 terminal. In lieu of a physical claim ticket, the customer is visually linked with his coat, and needs only cite the last four digits of his phone number to retrieve it at trip’s end. The cost: $2 a day, or $10 for a full week. (That’s billed as “special promotional pricing,” so it’s apparently set to go up after the holidays.)

Given the inherently seasonal nature of the need for such a service, and what I would guess to be travelers’ low tolerance for paying much in the way of extra fees, this appears to be a precarious business model. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the CoatChex airport operation gone and forgotten by this time next year.

On the other hand, it’s always heartening to see companies tackle a travel-related problem head on. And props to JetBlue for giving CoatChex a chance to make a business case for its service.

Reader Reality Check

How much are you willing to pay to check your winter coat while traveling in a warm-weather climate?

This article originally appeared on

By Tim Winship

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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