Delta, American Baggage Fees Raised: Why US Airlines Are Hiking Prices

Delta Airlines and American Airlines joined their rivals in raising baggage fees/ In this photo, passengers wait in line to reschedule flights at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, Sept. 26, 2014. Photo: Getty Images/ Scott Olson

By Pritha Paul, International Business Times

After Delta Airlines and American Airlines joined their rivals in raising baggage fees last week, the number of major airline companies who have revised their flight policies this year jumped to four.

The recent flurry of airline policy changes raised one question in every air traveler’s mind — why are airline companies scrambling to increase baggage fees all of a sudden?

Flight companies claimed the reasons for their decision to increase baggage fees include countering rising fuel prices as well as finding alternative ways to pay for additional amenities inside the plane such as free TV and movies. In a nutshell, it lets the airline companies maintain low ticket costs.

“Fuel prices are up over 33 percent this year,” JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes told Skift at the Aviation Festival, Travel And Leisure reported. “You end up having to pass those on. We’re about low fares. We hate increasing fares. But we had a couple of fare increases, and then we made the decision to increase the bag fee to $30 if you don’t buy it in the fare.”

“We can’t have the best on everything, but we want to have what makes a difference to the customer,” Hayes added. “We want to win there. And everywhere else, we just need to be competitive. And those products, they’re an investment, right? If you have more leg room, TV, and WiFi, it costs money to provide that.”

In 2017, 23 domestic airlines earned more than $4.5 billion in baggage fees, which was around $276 million more than what they made in 2016.

Here are some things to know about the hike in baggage prices by major airline companies:

Delta Airlines

After contemplating whether to follow its rivals, Delta Airlines finally gave in Sept. 19. Its revised baggage fees are as follows: $30 for the first checked bag and $40 for the second checked bag for travel within the United States and to Central America and the Caribbean. On the other hand, first bag fee for travel to Canada and Mexico was to be $30. The policy change was implemented starting Sept. 19, Motley Fool reported.

American Airlines

Following the footsteps of Delta Airlines, American Airlines also decided to hike its baggage prices. On Thursday it announced customers will have to pay $5 more for the first and second checked bags for travel in the U.S., Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean, CNBC reported.

The increased prices — $30 from $25 for the first checked bag and $40 from $35 for the second — will be implemented for tickets purchased on or after Sept. 21. Provision will be made for certain eligible AAdvantage members to fly without paying separately for the baggage.

“This is the first time American has changed its domestic checked bag fees since 2010 and follows similar changes made by other airlines,” a statement by the company said.


JetBlue Airlines was the first company to raise fees for the first two checked bags last month. It began charging $30 from $25 for the first baggage and $40 from $35 for second baggage starting Aug. 27.

United Airlines

United Airlines also revised its baggage fee almost immediately after JetBlue did, and starting Aug. 31, began charging its passenger $30 for first baggage and $40 for the second baggage within the U.S., Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Caribbean and Central America; the second checked bag to or from Canada was charged at $50.

“We are making adjustments to our checked bag fees in select markets — most of which have not been changed for the past eight years,” said United spokeswoman Maddie King. “These changes allow us to continue investing in the overall customer experience in today’s marketplace.”

Airlines that have not increased baggage fees

Although other airlines might change their baggage policies in the future, most of them have expressed no immediate plans of doing so.

Among them is Southwest Airlines, who continue to maintain their “bags fly free" policy, according to which passengers are not charged any additional fee for two checked in baggage. When the company’s CEO Gary Kelly was asked last month whether he planned to implement baggage fees, ticket change fees, and assigned seating in order to boost revenue, he firmly stated the airlines had no such plans.

Airline companies like Alaska Air and Hawaiian Holdings have also not laid out any plans to increase their baggage prices. While the former still charges passengers $25 each for the first and second checked in baggage respectively, the latter asks passengers to pay $25 fee for the first checked bag and $35 fee for the second checked bag for domestic flights.



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Business - U.S. Daily News: Delta, American Baggage Fees Raised: Why US Airlines Are Hiking Prices
Delta, American Baggage Fees Raised: Why US Airlines Are Hiking Prices
Business - U.S. Daily News
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