Major Airlines including JetBlue and United Increase prices for Checked Baggage
In the recent years there has been an overall increasing trend amongst the airlines to gain more out of the extra services provided by unbundling airfares and charging separately for all the add-on services like baggage check, seat assignments (nicer seats), early boarding, security check, meals, WiFi outside of the price of a ticket. In short, now it’s become more about charging a small fee for different elements of travel that were once a part of the price of a ticket.
Last year, U.S. airlines raised $7.4 billion alone from the fees on checked baggage and ticket changes, led by American, Delta, and United.
Just from the baggage fee alone, airlines collected more than $4.5 billion last year, and in the previous year 2016, the revenue was $4.2 billion, as per the U.S. Department of Transportation statistics.
In the spate of these increasing charges, another one came in when JetBlue Airlines suddenly increased their baggage fees by 20% for passengers who booked after August 27th and just hours later Air Canada and WestJet also followed the suite.
JetBlue raised the charge for the first checked bag from $25 to $30, and for the second bag from $35 to $40, and the third or more bags charge escalated from $100 to $150. The new fees affect fliers who bought tickets after Aug. 27.
That’s not all, according to the Bloomberg report, United Airlines also quietly made the same changes, citing justifications similar to what has been given by Jet Blue that they continue to make investments that make traveling on their fleet better. However, it worth noting that these baggage fee adjustments made by United have been done for the select markets – most of which haven’t been changed for the past eight years, told a United Airlines spokesperson in a statement. A similar justification was also given here. JetBlue also raised the fees for change tickets, but United said it did not change any other fees.
United Airlines recent decision of expanding capacity at three of its hubs potentially pushing demand, fares, and profits down only started to reap results by mid-July, as the gamble paid off when capacity started filling up leading to spiraling of the airline’s stock by over 20%. However, this decision is predicted to mitigate the upward surge made by the airline lately.
United customers who have the MileagePlus Premier status or those who have purchased a ticket with MileagePlus credit card continue to receive complimentary checked luggage.
Lastly, Air Canada and WestJet also increased checked bags from $25 to $30 for the first bag, $50 for the second bag and $100 for third or more bags.
In the spate of these decisions made by most popular airlines in the US, the spotlight on baggage fees is now on American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, which have already recently started charging $60 for passengers on the cheapest class of service on trans-Atlantic routes for the 1st bag.
Southwest Airlines remains to be the only large US airline that doesn’t charge from passengers for their first two luggage.
Airlines have added or increased fees for most of the extras in the wake of increasing jet fuel prices that have gone about 20% higher than last year. The increase eats into the airline’s profits consistently and so to overcome this, many competitive airlines have begun adding a new class of no-frills service charging for everything else than boarding a plane.
For affinity customers, FareMachine suggest ways to cut on these baggage charges. Those who fly often with a particular airline, there are ways that don’t involve cramming everything into your carry-on luggage. Premium class tickets are the perfect way to get an all inclusive deal. Joining an airline’s premium loyalty program or using certain airline-affiliated credit cards you travel most on are other ways to avoid these cost easily.