Airlines increase baggage fees – Telemundo Orlando (31)

Airlines are once again raising their prices for bag checks. However, how much it costs will depend on when you pay for the service.

Unidas Airlines, American Airlines and JetBlue Airways are among the companies that have increased checked bag prices this year. Each of them charges customers more when they check their bags at the airport or near departure than if they pay in advance online.

Airlines are encouraging customers to pay to check their bags before their flight, with airlines saying this approach will free up staff in check-in areas and get passengers to their gate faster.

Earlier this week, American Airlines increased its checked baggage fees for the first time in more than five years, adopting a two-tier strategy already adopted by United Airlines, JetBlue and several low-cost airlines .

American Airlines customers traveling in economy class will have to pay $35 for the first bag check on domestic flights if the service is booked in advance online, or if they purchase the option at the airport, the airline said Tuesday. If so then you will pay $40. American Airlines previously charged $30 for any service.

There are some exceptions also. Customers who hold certain airline or bank credit cards, who travel in premium class, or who have frequent flyer or elite status can usually check at least one bag for free on domestic or short international flights. Are.

Why does it cost less to pre-check suitcases?

“This allows our team members to spend more time with customers who need additional assistance on their travels,” an American Airlines spokesperson told CNBC.

American also said this week it was reducing fees for slightly overweight bags, which forced some travelers to remove items from their bags at the airport at the last minute to meet the limit. .

Different fee tiers are an approach that ultra-low-cost airlines already had for baggage fees.

“This encourages people to cancel transactions. “It’s easy for them, and honestly, it’s easy for us,” said Barry Biffle, CEO of Frontier Airlines. “There are people who need legitimate assistance at the airport.”

Prices vary depending on demand and other factors. Most passengers who add luggage pay the fee in advance, Biffle said.

United began charging customers more to pay for checked bags at airports in 2020. On Friday, the airline said it would raise the baggage fee from $5 to $35 for most flights in North America if customers pay in advance online at least 24 hours before your flight. , or $40 otherwise, from reservations made Feb. 24. A second checked bag will cost $50, or $45 with at least 24 hours’ notice.

Why do airlines increase baggage fees?

Baggage fees are a major source of revenue for airlines. In the first nine months of 2023, US airlines collected more than $5.4 billion in baggage fees, a 25% increase from the same period in 2019, according to the latest data from the Transportation Department.

Airlines have argued that higher costs such as labor and fuel, their biggest expenses, mean they will have to increase baggage fees.

JetBlue said in a statement about its latest increase, “While we don’t like raising fares, this is a step we are taking to return our business to profitability and cover the increased cost of carry-on bags. Are.” “By adjusting rates for additional services used only by certain customers, we can keep base rates low and ensure customer favorites, like seatback TV and high-speed Wi-Fi, are available to everyone. Be free for”.

Southwest Airlines is different from the larger US airlines. Allows customers to check two bags for free. “Things will continue to be this way,” said COO Andrew Watterson.

“It doesn’t cost us $35, $40 … to handle a bag,” Watterson said in an interview. Many major airline customers bring carry-on bags to avoid baggage fees, but Watterson said this can slow down operations, which is a big problem for Southwest, who said he gets to the next flight in 45 minutes. An attempt is being made to turn the plane. For some of its smaller Boeing aircraft it is even less.

“It simplifies the operation so people review it instead of getting bogged down by it,” he said. “Overall, we believe the benefits are a combination of some efficiencies as well as customers coming back to us. You can’t underestimate repeat customer business. And when you treat your customers well, provide them with a fair policy, they will come back again and again.

This article was originally published in English by Leslie Josephs for our sister network Go here for more from CNBC.

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