Alaska Airlines has just revealed that it will be raising checked bag fees as of early 2024, and this has the potential to catch on at other airlines as well.
In this post:
Alaska Airlines raises checked bag fees to $35+
Alaska Airlines has updated its baggage page to reflect new fees for tickets purchased as of January 2, 2024. The airline will be raising the cost of checked bags, as follows:
- Through January 1, 2024, a first checked bag will cost $30, a second checked bag will cost $40, and additional checked bags will cost $150
- As of January 2, 2024, a first checked bag will cost $35, a second checked bag will cost $45, and additional checked bags will cost $150
As you can see, this represents a $5 increase in the fee for the first and second checked bag. The airline last increased the cost of checked bags in late 2018. Up until then, the first and second checked bag both cost $25, so that represented an increase of $5-15.
As before, many passengers are entitled to free checked bags. In addition to first class passengers:
- Those with the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card (review) and the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card (review) receive a free first checked bag for themselves and up to six companions on the same reservation
- Those with MVP Gold 100K status and MVP Gold 75K status (as well as oneworld Emerald equivalents) receive three free checked bags
- Those with MVP Gold status (and oneworld Sapphire equivalents) and MVP status receive two free checked bags
At least checking bags with Alaska Airlines is usually a pleasant experience, thanks to the carrier’s 20-minute baggage guarantee.
Will other airlines follow Alaska Airlines’ lead?
The major US airlines tend to follow one another. Interestingly all of the major US carriers (minus Southwest) increased their checked bag fees back in 2018. At the time, Alaska was the last of the major carriers to increase fees.
In early 2020, we did see United and JetBlue increase checked bag fees, but only if you don’t prepay online.
In this case, Alaska is leading the way with increasing fees with no strings attached. I imagine during the early stages of the pandemic, airlines didn’t feel like they were in a position to raise checked bag fees more consistently. However, with demand starting to once again normalize, I have to imagine that Alaska won’t be the only airline to make such a change. I wouldn’t be surprised to see similar announcements from other airlines in the coming days and weeks.
As of early 2024, Alaska Airlines will be increasing checked bag fees. The cost of a first checked bag will increase to $35 (from $30), while the cost of a second checked bag will increase to $40 (from $35). Since it has been five years since the major US carriers raised checked bag fee, and given how much inflation there has been, I suspect other airlines will take advantage of this opportunity as well.
What do you make of Alaska increasing checked bag fees, and do you think other airlines will follow?