As predicted by @xJonNYC, American Airlines has just increased checked bag fees, creating a new record for bag fees among the legacy US carriers…
In this post:
American Airlines significantly raises checked bag fees
American Airlines has updated its baggage page to reflect new fees for tickets purchased as of February 20, 2024. The airline has drastically raised the cost of checked bags.
For context, below is American’s new baggage fee chart, for tickets purchased as of February 20, 2024.
Meanwhile below is American’s old baggage fee chart, for tickets purchased through February 19, 2024.
The one exception to the above chart is that the first checked bag fee for a domestic itinerary is “only” $35 if you pay for the bag online, in advance of your flight.
Just to highlight some of the most important points:
- For travel within the United States, the cost for a first checked bag has increased from $30 to $40 (unless paying in advance online), while the cost for a second checked bag has increased from $40 to $45
- For most short haul international travel, the cost of a first checked bag has increased from $35 to $45, while the cost of a second checked bag has increased from $40 to $45
As you can see, this represents a $5-10 increase on fees in many markets. While airlines have historically raised checked bag fees every so often in the past, it has almost always been by $5. Now we’re seeing a $10 increase on many kinds of checked bag fees.
As before, many passengers are entitled to free checked bags. In addition to first class passengers:
- Those with select co-branded American Airlines credit cards receive a free first checked bag for domestic itineraries
- Those with AAdvantage Executive Platinum and Platinum Pro status (as well as oneworld Emerald equivalents) receive three free checked bags
- Those with AAdvantage Platinum status (as well as oneworld Sapphire equivalents) receive two free checked bags
- Those with AAdvantage Gold status receive one free checked bag
Will other airlines follow American Airlines’ lead?
The major US airlines tend to follow one another. The last time we saw all the major US carriers match one another on increasing checked bag fees was backed in 2018. We’ve seen some minor adjustments since then, but nothing across the industry.
A few weeks ago, Alaska increased checked bag fees from $30 to $35 on the first checked bag on domestic itineraries. Now we’re not only seeing American match that, but surpass that, for those who aren’t paying in advance. Personally I think it’s highly likely that both Delta and United soon match American on this.
American Airlines has just considerably increased checked bag fees. We’re seeing the cost of checked bags in many markets increase by $5-10 per direction.
I can’t say I’m surprised to see airlines trying to find new revenue sources, given how much their expenses have increased in the past couple of years. I suspect this won’t be the last change we see to checked bag fees in the coming weeks.
If American is going to bump checked bag fees, it would at least be nice to see the airline improve service associated with these bags, by introducing a 20-minute baggage guarantee, like we see at Alaska and Delta. However, I know that’s highly wishful thinking.
What do you make of American increasing checked bag fees?