Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Baggage fees: Not all airlines are the same.

United and Continental are the latest to join Delta's baggage fee increase, pushing domestic charges to $25 for the first checked bag and $35 for a second checked bag.

Within the world of legacy carriers, however, not all airlines are equal.

If you're a Star Alliance elite flyer--for instance, a Continental Platinum--you can fly with United or U.S. Airways and pay no baggage fees.

Not so for SkyTeam! Delta waives baggage fees only for its own elite members, not for those of SkyTeam partners.

Of course, not having to pay these sorts of "junk fees" is definitely a selling point in favor of airlines that don't charge them: JetBlue checks one bag for free and charges $30 for a second bag, and you can check two bags for free on Southwest.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New year, higher bag fees!

Delta Air Lines is raising its fees for checked bags on all flights flown on or after January 12, 2010. The new rates for domestic1 flights are:
  • $23 for the first bag, with an additional $2 surcharge for paying at the airport (rather than prepaying online); and

  • $32 for a second bag, with an additional $3 surcharge.

If you bought your ticket prior to January 5, 2010, you'll be "grandfathered" in at the old rates. Anyone who bought tickets on or since January 5, though, should anticipate paying the higher fees.

Now, I tend to be pretty defensive of the airlines these days, because they've lost so much money and continue to lose money despite these fees. But I've about had it with these luggage fees. Why does it cost as much to fly a single bag from Point A to Point B as it does to rent a car for a whole day?

If fares are too low, raise fares. Quit with the gimmicks.

1 Domestic flights are those flown between the 50 United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Canada.