Baggage fees have proven to be a reliable way for the airlines to generate more revenue without raising airfares and Delta and Continental are increasing their checked bag fees for travelers flying in coach class within the U.S., U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and Puerto Rico. The charge to check a first bag is now $23 when paying online and $25 at the airport. A second checked bag will cost $32 when paying online and $35 at the airport. Elite members, U.S. Military personnel on active duty and all travelers in first and business class can continue to check two bags for free.
The checked bag fees are one-way so the total to check two bags roundtrip will be $120 when paying at the airport and $110 online. Previously, the fee for two checked bags roundtrip on Delta Air Lines was $100 at the airport and $80 online. Continental charged $100 at the airport and $90 online.
While many travelers checking bags will pony up the extra $20 or $30, one FlyerTalk member says that the increase in baggage fees has caused her to change travel patterns. “I’ll now fly to the nearest Southwest city to my destination, rent a car, and drive the rest of the way. I’m a scuba diver. I’m going to carry gear–renting potentially unserviced, possibly hazardous life support equipment at a destination is rarely an option. You’ve now added $120 roundtrip to my fare? This is a no-brainer.”
But speaking of Southwest Airlines, which is famous for its “no fee” mentality–the airline recently stirred up some Rapid Rewards members when it surveyed customers for their thoughts about a “New Fare B” which included, you guessed it, no free bags and a $15 fee for the first and second bags and $50 for each additional bag. However, a Southwest spokesperson said that Southwest has no plans to charge for bags.
Bottom line: After Delta announced its increase in checked bag fees, Continental quickly followed and this may spur a new round of fee hikes. Delta and Continental now have the highest checked baggage fees on domestic flights of all U.S.-based carriers. US Airways also charges $25 for a first checked bag and $35 for a second at the airport but its online fees are lower at $20 for a first and $30 for a second bag.