The world's 3 biggest airlines have all raised their checked baggage fees

American Airlines

  • American Airlines has joined Delta Air Lines and United Airlines in raising the fee of one checked bag from $25 to $30, and of a second checked bag from $35 to $40.  
  • The change in price begins for American Airlines tickets purchased on Friday, September 21. 
  • This trend of adding additional costs to passengers in the form of ancillary fees is standard industry practice and has been used for some time. It is known as unbundling.

American Airlines has joined Delta Air Lines and United Airlines in raising the fee of one checked bag from $25 to $30, completing a hat-trick for the world’s three largest airlines and showcasing the industry-wide trend known as “unbundling.”

The change in price begins for tickets purchased on Friday, September 21.

With American Airlines’ announcement on September 20 to raise the fee on their first checked bag to $30 and a second checked bag from $35 to $40, the Fort-Worth-based carrier has quickly caught up to their national rivals.

United announced new prices for its checked bag fees on August 31. A few weeks later, on September 19, Delta declared that they would be raising their checked bag costs as well. American waited only one day to join their competitors. 

For all three carriers, fees for a checked bag are increasing from $25 to $30 for a first checked bag, and from $35 to $40 for a second checked bag.  

American Airlines website says that this is the first change in its domestic checked bag fees since 2010 and that they are simply following similar changes made by other airlines.

While Jet Blue set off this scramble on August 27 with their initial $30 first checked bag price hike, this trend of adding additional costs to passengers in the form of ancillary fees is standard industry practice and has been used for some time. It is known as unbundling.

Unbundling is the practice of separating various costs of services like baggage check, security check, seat assignments, meals, wi-fi use, and early boarding into their own price points. In short, charging little fees for different elements of travel. Unbundling first began in the late 2000s when airlines recognized the necessity of gaining extra revenue to counteract the higher price of crude oil, which had hit $132 a barrel in the summer of 2008.

According to Bob Mann, President of RW Mann & Company, an airline analysis firm with over 40 years of experience in the industry, American Airlines was the first to charge $20 for a baggage check.

“With that out of the box pretty much everybody else did it,” Mann said. “It was the first big gasp of how to get unbundling started.”

 

 

 

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