Written by 8:11 am Travel Views: [tptn_views]

Why airlines are raising baggage fees and charging more on the airport

Travelers arrive for flights at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on March 16, 2021.

Scott Olson | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Airlines are raising their prices to envision a bag — again. Just how much you it’s going to cost you, nonetheless, is determined by once you pay for the service.

United Airlines, American Airlines and JetBlue Airways are among the many carriers which have raised the price to envision bags this 12 months. Each of them charge customers more in the event that they check their bags on the airport or near their departure compared with paying to envision a bag online prematurely.

Carriers are encouraging customers to pay to envision their bags ahead of their flight, an approach the airlines argue will release employees at check-in areas and get travelers to their gates faster.

Earlier this week, American Airlines raised its checked bag fees for the primary time in greater than five years and adopted the two-tiered strategy that United, JetBlue and several other budget airlines have already got.

American Airlines customers traveling in coach pays $35 to envision a primary bag for domestic flights if the service is booked online prematurely, or $40 in the event that they purchase the choice on the airport, the carrier said Tuesday. American Airlines previously charged $30 for either service.

There are exemptions. Customers who’ve certain airline or other rewards bank cards, are traveling in a top-tier class or have elite frequent flyer status generally can check a minimum of one bag at no cost on domestic or short international flights.

Why does it cost less to envision a bag prematurely?

“It allows our team members to spend more time with customers who require additional assistance with their travel journey,” an American Airlines spokeswoman told CNBC.

American this week also said it’s reducing fees for barely obese bags, which used to force some travelers to remove items from their bags last-minute on the airport to fulfill the edge.

The different fee tiers is an approach ultra-low-cost airlines already needed to luggage fees.

“It incentivizes people to get the transaction out of way. It’s easier for them, and truthfully, it’s easier for us,” said Frontier Airlines CEO Barry Biffle. “There are individuals who need legitimate assistance” on the airport.

The prices differ depending on demand and other aspects. Most travelers who add on baggage pay the fee ahead of time, Biffle said.

How Delta moves 100,000 bags daily at the world's busiest airport

United first began charging customers more for paying for checked bags on the airport in 2020. On Friday, the carrier said it was raising bag fees by $5 for many flights in North America to $35 if customers prepay online a minimum of 24 hours before their flight, or $40 otherwise, starting with bookings made on Feb. 24. A second checked bag will cost $50, or $45 a minimum of 24 hours prematurely.

Why are airlines raising baggage fees?

Luggage fees are a giant moneymaker for airlines. In the primary nine months of 2023, U.S. airlines brought in greater than $5.4 billion from baggage fees, up greater than 25% from the identical period of 2019, in accordance with the Transportation Department’s latest data.

Airlines have argued that higher costs akin to labor and fuel, their biggest expenses, mean that they had to boost bag fees.

“While we don’t love 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 about its latest increases. “By adjusting fees for added services that only certain customers use, we are able to keep base fares low and ensure customer favorites like seatback TVs and high-speed Wi-Fi remain free for everybody.”

Ground operations employees load baggage onto a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 aircraft on the tarmac at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California.

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Southwest Airlines is an outlier amongst the big U.S. airlines. It allows customers to envision two bags at no cost. “That’s the best way it is going to stay,” Chief Operating Officer Andrew Watterson said.

“It doesn’t cost us $35, $40 … to handle a bag,” Watterson said in an interview. Many customers on major airlines bring carry-on bags to avoid bag fees, but Watterson said that would decelerate the operation, a giant deal for Southwest, which he said tries to show aircraft around for the following flight in 45 minutes, and even less for a few of its smaller Boeing planes.

“It does smooth the operation for people to envision it moderately than bring it on,” he said. “Overall, we expect the profit is a mix of some efficiencies but additionally customers coming back to us. A repeat customer business can’t be overstated. And once you treat your customers well, give them a good policy, they arrive back over and another time.”

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