Two major airlines, United Airlines and US Airways, have recently announced a new baggage policy that will require consumers traveling in economy class to pay a $25 fee for checking a second bag. This new policy applies for tickets bought after February 4th (US Airways) or after February 26th (United) for traveling within the 50 United States, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands or Canada on or after May 5, 2008. Other carriers are expected to follow.
Delta hasn't felt the need so far to tell you that beginning May 1, the fee will go into effect. It doesn't matter whether you booked your flight well before that date; if you're flying after May 1, you're paying for that second piece of luggage. At Delta, the fee affects both domestic and international flights (though business- and first-class and SkyMiles holders won't have to pay).
Northwest Airlines today announced changes to its luggage policies for coach class customers traveling within North America. For coach class travel on or after May 5, 2008, Northwest Airlines is matching several other U.S. network carriers and implementing a $25 charge for the customer’s second checked bag. The fee is applied each way. Coach class customers may continue to check one piece of luggage free of charge. These policies also apply to Northwest Airlink customers flying on Mesaba, Pinnacle or Compass Airlines.
Northwest Airlines’ Silver, Gold and Platinum WorldPerks elite customers, SkyTeam elite customers and passengers booked in full fare classes (Y or B) may still check two bags free of charge. Customers booked in first class can continue to check up to three bags free of charge.
All airlines currently allow one free checked bag, one carry-on and a personal item, such as your purse or laptop computer.
Other changes include an increase to $100 for three or more checked bags. Don’t expect to cheat the system by just buying a bigger suitcase. These airlines also increased the fee for over-weight bags from $50 for each bag that goes over the 50 pound weight limit, to $100 per bag.
American Airlines announced on Thursday it may start charging $25 to check a second bag. American said it filed a notice with the Canadian government indicating it may change its bag fee structure in Canada. That country requires 45 days notice to review such a change.
Only Continental and Alaska Airline has not announced a similar charge ... yet.
I think the next hurdle will be the "Battle of the Overhead Bin" .... when will the airlines start to charge for priority boarding? Hmmm ..... to be continued!