If you’re planning on flying this fall, get ready to spend a little more money than usual. While airline prices are at record lows and there are many, many cheap flights out there if you’re a bargain hunter (and lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time), several American and Canadian airlines raised their baggage fees over the last month to compensate for rising fuel prices.
But which airlines have raised fees and what does this mean for you?
Which airlines have raised their fees?
At the end of August, U.S.-based airline JetBlue announced increased fees for their checked bags. Days later, Air Canada and WestJet also increased their checked bag fees, followed shortly thereafter by United Airlines. For a few weeks, it seemed that the remaining two major U.S. carriers, Delta and American, would keep their fees the same, but just last week, they both announced increases. Motley Fool posits that the latter two were “just testing the waters” and waiting to see how the increases would affect sales.
How much are we talking here?
The good news? The fee increases aren’t too bad. In most instances, anyways.
JETBLUE: The first airline to announce increased fees, JetBlue announced the first bag will jump from $25 to $30.
UNITED: Following JetBlue, United’s first bag fee will jump from $25 to $30.
WESTJET: The first bag will cost $30—up from $25. The second bag goes from $30 to $50.
AIR CANADA: Air Canada implemented the same fee jumps as WestJet: from $25 to $30 and from $30 to $50.
DELTA: For destinations within the U.S., to Central America and the Caribbean, the first bag fee jumped from $25 to $35; from Mexico to Canada, the fee increased from $25 to $30. For international travel, Delta is raising their brand new Basic Economy first-bag-fee from $50 to $60.
AMERICAN: The last holdout among the major U.S. carriers, American has increased their prices from $25 to $30 for the first checked bag and from $35 to $40 for the second.
What about other airlines? Will they follow suit?
So far, there’s no sign that airlines like Alaska and Hawaiian will increase their fees. That said, oil prices have consistently risen—as much as 15 percent since August– and, as JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes told Skift after the announcement, it was either increase baggage fees or increase ticket fees.
“Fuel prices are up over 33 percent this year. […] We made the decision to increase the bag fee to $30 if you don’t buy it in the fare,” Hayes said.”
To be perfectly honest, it sounds like six of one, half a dozen of another. So don’t be surprised if you’re expected to shell out a couple more bucks in order to check a bag or two on your way to the Lihue Airport. And hey, if you’re still salty about checked bag fees, which were first implemented in 2008 to the ire of travelers, there’s always Southwest, which has promised customers that checking bags will remain free.