Thursday, June 19, 2008

Is the Airline Bag Fee Going to Go Away?

A firestorm of protest erupted from many fliers last month after American announced it would begin charging non-elite customers $15 to check their first bag for most coach-class tickets within North America. Quickly, industry observers began wondering out loud if other airlines would match the fee. Finally, about three weeks after AA, United and US Airways both matched the fee. With that, three legacy carriers and one low-cost carrier -– Spirit, which was the first to add such a fee –- had moved to charge a fee for even one checked bag. But, conversely, that also left most discount airlines and three legacy carriers –- Continental, Delta and Northwest -– still allowing fliers to check their first bag for free.

That's unusual says's Ted Reed, who writes airlines "typically … act in concert when imposing new charges or higher ticket prices, fearing the competitive impact if one carrier charges more than another." And, he adds that "with the industry so clearly split, it remains questionable whether the charge will stick." Aviation consultant Robert Mann tells Reed: "Some of the carriers may have decided this is the one thing that drives customers over the edge, towards choosing someone else."

Personally I think that all the fees that are being heaped on customers are making flight attendants and airline employees look like hookers, holding out their hand every time you ask for something, waiting for $5 here and $10 here. For business travelers it is a real pain, I have to make sure I carry a wad of $10 bills with me every time I take a flight for all the charges, just put it on my ticket.

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SheR. said...

No my friend. I don't think so in the near future.
In the UK, I had to book airline tickets and remember to add on my baggage else I would have to pay for it at a counter where there is always a long queue. 15 pounds not USD, mind you!

What we do then? Stuff everything into our hand luggage. And carry a coat to stuff more items even in the summer. Saves a whole lot! Ha!