American Airlines Announces Checked Baggage Fee Hikes
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American Airlines Announces Checked Baggage Fee Hikes

A major domestic airline recently announced increased baggage fees for customers.

About AA’s new baggage policies:

American Airlines is increasing its checked bag fees in a few ways. Now, customers on domestic flights (including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rice, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) will need to pay $35 for their first checked bag when booked online or $40 if purchased at the airport. A second checked bag for these flights will now cost $45. Meanwhile, bag fees for short-haul international flights will be $35 for the first checked bag and $45 for the second (regardless of whether bags are paid for online or at the airport).

The airline does point out that flyers with AAdvantage status will continue to enjoy complimentary checked bags on American Airlines flights. Additionally, those with select AAdvantage credit cards can get their first eligible checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries as a perk of their card.

American is also making changes to its overweight and oversized bag policies. First, the airline will introduce a new pricing category for bags that are only slightly over their 50-pound limit. Starting April 17th, checked bags weighing between 50 and 53 pounds will be assessed an extra $30 charge. Previously, bags weighing 50+ pounds would see fees between $100 and $200 depending on weight (this pricing range will apply to bag 53+ pounds starting April 17th).

A similar change will apply to oversized bags measuring 62+ linear inches. Effective April 17th, bags measuring between 62 and 65 linear inches will be assessed an additional $30 charge, while bags 65+ linear inches will see fees between $150 and $200. Additionally, American Airlines is lowering its oversized bag limit from the previous 126 linear inches to 115 linear inches. The airline also says it will no longer allow javelins, pole vaults, or hang gliders to be checked starting April 17th.

In context:

This news comes after two other airlines — JetBlue and Alaska — have also increased baggage fees in recent weeks. In the case of JetBlue, first checked bags paid for more than 24 hours in advance come at a cost of $35, with second checked bags incurring a $50 fee. Checked bags paid for less than 24 hours in advance will cost even more, coming in at $45 and $60, respectively.

My thoughts:

No one likes to pay more for a service that, once upon a time, was completely free. Therefore, don’t expect travelers to be too thrilled with these bag fee changes. Nevertheless, I don’t anticipate many people will stop checking bags as a result, which is exactly why airlines are able to keep raising fees.

Of course, these higher fees also mean that products such as some of the airline’s co-branded credit cards that entitle passengers to free checked bags become a bit more valuable. That’s likely part of the calculation on the carrier’s part, but these cards could be winners for the right flyers. So, while these cards may be worth a look if you fly and check bags frequently, still be sure to look at all of the pros and cons to decide if a card is ultimately right for you.


Kyle Burbank

Head Writer ~ Fioney
Kyle is the head writer for Fioney. He is a personal finance nerd, constantly looking for new apps and services to test and incorporate into his own financial game plan. In addition to his role at Fioney, he's written for other publications including Born2Invest, Lifehack, and Laughing Place, as well as his own site Money@30. He also creates personal finance and travel-related videos for Fioney's YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 2 million views. Currently, Kyle resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife of 10 years. Together, they enjoy traveling (including visiting Disney Parks around the world), dining, and playing with their dog Rigby.

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