American Airlines is the first airline to implement a charge for travelers who check one bag. Almost all of the U.S.-based carriers charge for a second checked bag, but there are rumors circulating that others are considering following American’s lead and charging for a first checked bag. Most passengers who purchase coach tickets on or after June 15, 2008 will be charged $15 each way for the first checked bag and $25 for a second checked bag. With the new baggage policy, it will cost you a total of $80 to check two bags roundtrip. The policy only applies to travelers flying on American Airlines, American Eagle or AmericanConnection flights within the U.S., Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Canada. There are some exceptions to the new policy — elite AAdvantage and oneworld members and customers flying on full-fare coach, business and first class tickets are exempt from the new baggage fee. AAdvantage members traveling on an award ticket in first and business class or an AAnytime award are also exempt.
In response to the baggage fees, Loews Hotels will reimburse guests for their baggage fees through Sept. 1, 2008. Guests can present any bag fee receipt at the front desk upon arrival and receive up to a $30 credit per room per stay. The Baggage Buy Back Rebate is available at Loews 18 properties in the U.S. and Canada. As we mentioned in last month’s issue, Kimpton is also reimbursing hotel guests up to $25 in baggage fees through Sept. 9, 2008.