Starting today, American Airlines, the world’s largest airline, will charge customers $5 more for the first and second checked bags for travel in the U.S., Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and the Caribbean. The news was announced yesterday. With the increased fee, customers will now pay $30 (up from $25) for the first checked bag and $40 (up from $35) for the second, effective for tickets purchased beginning September 21st.
You can still get free checked bags if you have an American Airlines credit card, if you have Elite status or if you;re flying in Business class.
American Airlines is mimicking similar fee increases from other domestic airlines. Delta increased its fees just a couple of days ago, while JetBlue and United did so earlier this month.
Bag fees have become a billion dollar business for U.S. airlines since they started charging for the first and second checked bag in 2008 during the recession and oil price spike. Before that, the only bag fee charges were for excess bags and overweight and oversized bags.
Southwest is the only holdout. The nation’s largest domestic carrier allows two free checked bags. Alaska Airlines, the nation’s fifth largest carrier, is still sticking to its old prices for now, $25 each for the first and second bag.