United Airlines started the trend, US Airways followed next, and now other airlines have followed. Northwest Airlines has announced that as of May 5, 2008, it will charge a fee for a second checked bag. Northwest will begin charging travelers flying in coach on a domestic ticket within the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean $25 one way for a second checked bag. If you have three or more bags, the cost will go up from $80 to $100 each way per bag, and if your checked bag weighs more than 50 pounds, you will pay double what you currently pay — from $25 to $50.
Northwest and SkyTeam elite members, customers on full-fare coach tickets (Y and B class) and customers ticketed on Northwest military or government fares will be exempt from the new fee. Passengers flying to destinations outside of North America will be able to check two bags at no charge, but if you have an itinerary originating in North America that includes a domestic stopover, you will be charged $25 for a second checked bag on the domestic segment of your journey. Coach class travelers can continue to check one piece of luggage free of charge.
Passengers flying domestic routes on Delta and Delta Connection-operated flights between all U.S. territories, which includes the U.S. Virgin Islands and Hawaii, will be charged $25 to check a second bag as of May 1, 2008. SkyMiles elite members and passengers flying in first and business class are exempt from the fee and will be able to continue checking up to three bags for free. The new policy will apply to all passengers on May 1, regardless of when their reservations were booked.
Continental’s new checked bag policy will go into effect on May 5, 2008, for passengers flying to destinations within the U.S., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada. Customers flying in coach will be charged $25 to check a second bag. Elite OnePass members, SkyTeam Elite and Elite Plus members, Continental Airlines Presidential Plus credit card holders and first and BusinessFirst passengers can check two bags at no charge. Passengers flying on certain coach fare types are also exempt from the new $25 fee.
It’s also been reported that American Airlines will follow with a similar second bag fee — along with, we suspect, just about every airline.