web Musings of The Global Traveller

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A charge for all checked bags

American Airlines (AA) has taken the low-cost carrier (LCC) approach with their latest baggage fee. All checked bags will be charged for most domestic economy passengers. Exemptions to the first bag luggage charge are given to those flying on first and business class fares or awards, or paying full economy fare, or an anytime AAdvantage award, or anyone with any oneworld elite status at the date of travel (as well as anyone else flying with them). Those passengers who are upgraded at the last minute (eg operational upgrades) will not be exempt from the fee unless they also fit another exemption category. Perhaps the list of exemptions will get simplified at some stage.

From 15 June, the first bag is $15 (each way), the second $25, the third $100, and so on. At least they haven't tried to put on the LCC spin of "it is a discount for no checked bags", as Australian airline Jetstar does for example.

Expect the overhead bins to be even fuller, at least until AA is forced to either back down or restrict and enforce carry-on items to 1 bag plus 1 personal item. Having elite status to enable boarding early will be more important than ever to claim the bin space by your seat.

As with fuel surcharges and the earlier introduction of baggage fees for the second checked bag, I'd expect other airlines to quickly follow suit.

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