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American Airlines raises bag fees, limits miles for travel agency bookings

An American Airlines plane sits on the gate at Cancun International Airport on May 26, 2023.

Daniel Slim | AFP | Getty Images

American Airlines has raised the worth to ascertain a bag for the primary time in greater than five years and said it might limit which travel agency bookings are eligible to earn frequent flyer miles.

Passengers can pay $35 to ascertain a primary bag for domestic flights if the service is booked online upfront, or $40 in the event that they purchase the choice on the airport, the carrier said Tuesday. Both options previously cost $30. A second checked bag will cost $45, up from $40, whether purchased upfront or on the airport.

Travelers’ first checked bag on flights between the U.S. and Canada, the Caribbean or Mexico will likely be $35 whether upfront or on the airport.

American Airlines last raised bag fees in September 2018 together with other major airlines. Carriers are in search of ways to extend revenue as airfare has declined over the past yr. The last inflation report showed airfare fell greater than 6% in January from a yr earlier.

“Our cost of transporting bags is significantly higher” over the past few years, said Scott Chandler, American’s senior vp of revenue management and loyalty. “Fuel is a giant component of it.”

Airlines and other firms have been grappling with find out how to cover higher costs, similar to recent labor contracts, while pricing power has waned.

Other airlines have also recently raised bag fees. This yr, Alaska Airlines increased the charge for economy passengers to ascertain bags by $5 to $35 for a primary piece and $45 for a second bag. JetBlue Airways began charging most coach travelers $45 to ascertain a bag inside 24 hours of departure, up from $40. In advance, JetBlue is now charging $35 for the primary bag.

Passengers check in for an American Airlines flightsat O’Hare International Airport on October 11, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.

Scott Olson | Getty Images

“While we do not like increasing fees, it’s one step we’re taking to get our company back to profitability and canopy the increased costs of transporting bags,” JetBlue said in an announcement. “By adjusting fees for added services that only certain customers use, we will keep base fares low and ensure customer favorites like seatback TVs and high-speed Wi-Fi remain free for everybody.”

United Airlines and Delta Air Lines declined to comment Tuesday on potential changes to their policies. Southwest Airlines offers passengers two free checked bags.

In the primary nine months of 2023, U.S. airlines brought in $5.5 billion from baggage fees — including greater than $1 billion by American alone. The total was up 9% from the year-earlier period, and up greater than 25% from the primary nine months of 2019, in accordance with the Transportation Department’s latest data.

American’s frequent flyer members with elite status and a few American Airlines bank card holders will still receive a complimentary checked bag, it said Tuesday in announcing the changes.

The Forth Worth, Texas-based airline can also be reducing fees for barely chubby bags, so travelers will not should frantically remove items from their suitcases on the check-in counter. For example, customers can pay a fee of $30 on checked bags which can be as much as three kilos over a 50 pound limit, as a substitute of the previous $100 fee.

American also said on Tuesday that it is going to start limiting which tickets purchased through a 3rd party are eligible to earn AAdvantage frequent flyer miles, a move that goals to drive traffic to American’s website and the newest in a series of changes to this system. It said it is going to provide an inventory in April of preferred travel agencies whose bookings will still be eligible for the rewards credits.

Customers who buy basic economy tickets will only earn frequent flyer miles in the event that they book on American Airlines’ website.

The rise of airport lounges
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