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Business News/ News / World/  US airlines announce hike in checked baggage fees: Here's why and how much more you will need to pay
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US airlines announce hike in checked baggage fees: Here's why and how much more you will need to pay

US airlines have increased baggage fees to cover rising costs. American Airlines will charge $40 for the first checked bag and $45 for the second. Alaska Airlines has raised fees to $35 and $45. JetBlue has doubled costs for last-minute check-ins.

It is believed to help the carriers free up staff members at check-in desks and get passengers to their gates faster. (Pixabay)Premium
It is believed to help the carriers free up staff members at check-in desks and get passengers to their gates faster. (Pixabay)

As the global aviation industry grapples with worries of rising fuel costs and labour expenses, the airlines in the United States have announced a hike in checked baggage fees. Airlines such as Alaska, American, and JetBlue are among those that have increased their baggage fees.

Now, if a passenger wants to check-in their bag at the airport, they will have to pay separately for every bag they want the airline to carry. However, the airlines suggest that if you pay online, prior to entering the airport, you can avail of some discount on the baggage fees.

It is believed to help the carriers free up staff members at check-in desks and get passengers to their gates faster.

Here are the US airlines that will charge you an increased baggage fee on domestic travel:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Spirit Airlines
  • United Airlines

Why have the baggage fees increased?

Luggage fees form a significant factor in revenue source for the airlines. US airlines collected over $5.4 billion in baggage fees in the first nine months of 2023, the Transportation Department's most recent data showed. This was over 25 percent more than the same period in 2019.

Airlines have said that even though they don't like increasing baggage fees, it will help aviation companies cover the increased costs.

"While we don't like increasing fees, it's one step we are taking to get our company back to profitability and cover the increased costs of transporting bags," JetBlue said in a statement about its latest increases. 

"By adjusting fees for added services that only certain customers use, we can keep base fares low and ensure customer favourites like seatback TVs and high-speed Wi-Fi remain free for everyone," it added.

According to CNBC, citing an American Airlines spokesperson, it allows the airline's team to spend more time with customers who require additional assistance with their travel journey. The airline also said it is reducing fees for slightly overweight bags.

In November, the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations head, Senator Richard Blumenthal, said he was looking into airline costs for baggage, seat selection, and ticket modifications.

How much will you have to pay?

American Airlines

To check in a bag on American Airlines domestic flights, passengers will have to pay $40 for the first bag and $45 for the second. Earlier, the prices were $30 and $40, respectively. If you pay the check-in bag fees online beforehand, you can avail a discount. The first bag cost $35 after the discount.

For flying to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and Guyana, the passengers will have to pay $35 (up from $30) to check in one bag and $45 (up from $40) for a second.

American Airlines had said that no checked bag hikes had been announced since 2018. The airline has also claimed that it reduced the charges on enormous and heavy bags, stating that this is their "lowest fee ever."

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines increased their checked baggage costs from $30 to $35 for one bag and $40 to $45 for another bag.

JetBlue Airways

A low-cost airline based in New York City, JetBlue Airways, doubled checked baggage costs for customers who check in their luggage less than 24 hours before the trip. Those flying within the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America would be charged $45 for one bag and $60 for a second bag if they checked-in within 24 hours before departure, the company's website said.

 

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Published: 27 Feb 2024, 10:32 AM IST
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