The Lowdown On U.S. Airlines’ Rising Baggage Fees

One unfortunate trend in the airline industry recently is increasing fees for checking bags on flights. In the last several months, most major airlines, including Delta, WestJet, Air Canada, and JetBlue have increased their baggage fees. Last month, American Airlines joined the list.

Now, passengers are paying as much as $30 extra dollars to check their first bag on an American Airlines flight. If they need to check a second bag they can add another $40 to their trip cost.

The news couldn’t exactly be called a surprise, as most airlines follow each other when it comes to trends like this. As of now, Southwest is the only major airline left that isn’t charging additional fees for the first checked bag. The reason for the increases, as described by most of the airlines, is to help in providing a continually improving customer experience. While that may be true, most customers view the additional fees as anything but an “improved” customer experience.

There are still some slight differences between the airlines, though, especially when it comes to the accepted weights and sizes of the bags. Here’s a deeper look at each of the major airlines and the new fees.

American Airlines will now charge you $30 for your first checked bag.  A second bag will cost you an additional $40. Beyond that and you’d better start learning to pack light, because a third, fourth and any additional bags will cost you $150 and $200, respectively. Oh, and if any of your bags exceed 51 pounds you can tack on an additional $100 for overweight charges.

Delta is pretty much identical in its baggage fees, although if you’re traveling between the U.S. and Canada you can expect a slight increase in each of the categories.

JetBlue is similar, but overweight bags will set you back a good deal more. You’ll pay $30 and $40 for the first two bags, respectively. Expect to fork over $150 for your third bag and beyond. However, any bag between 51 and 99 pounds will cost you an additional $150.

United Airlines follows suit with $30, $40, and $150 for the first three bags each. Prices vary a bit depending on whether you fly between the U.S. and Canada

Finally, Air Canada and WestJet will charge $30 for the first checked bag and $50 for the second. Additional bags go up from there.