It Just Got a Bit More Expensive on American Airlines

American raises baggage fees, tightens way to earn frequent flier miles
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2024 5:55 AM CST
American Airlines Raises Baggage Fees
American Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at LaGuardia Airport on Jan. 11, 2023, in New York.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Going forward, you may have to open your wallet a little wider if you fly American Airlines. Passengers who check luggage are being hit with a price increase: The first checked bag will now cost $35 if you book online (it was previously $30), or $40 if you pay at the airport, reports Business Insider. A second checked bag jumps from $40 to $45, no matter how or where you pay. Meanwhile, those who earn frequent flier miles through the airline will only be able to do so from now on if they book directly through American, partner airlines, or preferred travel agencies, according to an airline release.

The last time fees were raised on American was in 2018, per the AP. That outlet notes how the airline first imposed bag fees in 2008, with a $15 charge for a checked bag to offset the increasing price of jet fuel, and "since then, they have become a steady revenue source for most major US carriers." CNN notes that airlines scooped up $6.8 billion in baggage fees in 2022, the last year for which figures are available from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

There are exceptions to the new surcharge, which was put into place on Tuesday: Customers who claim "elite" status in American's loyalty program, buy a premium-class ticket, or use an American-branded credit card will typically get one checked bag for free. Two of American's biggest rivals, Delta and United, currently charge $30 for the first checked bag and $40 for the second. Southwest still lets passengers check two bags for free. However, this latest luggage-fee increase probably won't be an American outlier. "Airlines tend to move in herds," Scott Keyes, founder of the travel site Going, tells the AP. "It's unlikely American will be the last." (More American Airlines stories.)

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