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BREAKING NEWS: American to Charge $15 for First Checked Bag

May 21, 2008 | Posted in: Airline News

What are they thinking??

American Airlines announced today that it will now start charging $15 for a passenger’s first checked bag (or, you will now pay $15 if you’re just checking a single bag).

American says, they took this step as part of a series of actions to help with the soaring cost of jet fuel.

The fee is effective for tickets purchased on or after June 15th. It does not apply to those who’ve achieved AAdvantage Gold, AAdvantage Platinum and AAdvantage Executive Platinum level (and there are a few other exceptions).

My first thought: if American is going to start acting like Ryanair (by charging for all checked luggage), at least tell us, where are the $1 airfare specials??

Does that fee guarantee the checked bag makes it to its destination?? Your thoughts, please!

27 Responses to “BREAKING NEWS: American to Charge $15 for First Checked Bag”

  1. Beth G. says:

    Carry on’s will become the rule and boarding will become even more of a nightmare!

  2. Jason says:

    That is just crazy. I hope others do not follow. The news agency should pick this story up and run with it. Enough is enough already.

    What if I fly without carrying a single piece of luggage including carry on? Should I get a discount on the ticket? yea right!

  3. Joe Rinaldi says:

    Rick, would you rather have $15 added to the base fare? This increased fee, while annoying, at least allows customers to opt out by carrying on instead of checking.

  4. Rick Seaney says:

    Hi Joe, What I am wondering is why the just didn’t up airfare. One reason could be that we have flipped over the tipping point where the economy prevents further people from absorbing higher tickets. Airlines are in a tough situation. I think the timing of this announcement is a bit odd considering the news cycle yesterday was all about how poor the airlines are for customer service. Your point is well taken on opting out and that is the theory behind “ala carte” pricing to make the out the door cost of your trip harder to compare and remove dthe “commodity” status of airline tickets.

  5. toomanyfeesalready says:

    Amazing, just amazing – what is next – a fee for a seat that is not broken or wet? A fee for a carryvon bag? A fee to use the bathroom? A fee to put a bag in the overhead compartment? This will create havoc – with just about all coach passengers attempting to take oversized and heavy bags on board. Personally I will wear three or four layers of clothing -even on the hottest day of the year (and probably be stopped by the TSA for sweating too much). IF I have to pay anything to check a bag – and then they lose it – not only should they refund the $15 – they should pay a fee to me for the inconvenience. Hopefully other legacy carriers will resist this attempt at gouging the public.

  6. John says:

    Joe, what makes you think that the airline will not also increase its base fares? Just because the airline has introduced a new surcharge does not mean that the airline will forgo increases in its base fare.

    Since airline pricing is only lightly regulated, it’s difficult if not impossible for consumers to determine whether these types of surcharges are necessary, or whether recent fare increases adequately compensate the airlines for increased fuel surcharges.

    One can empathize with the airlines with respect to increased fuel prices (we are all suffering at the pump), but I’m skeptical that these surcharges will go away in the future if fuel prices ever come down or cheaper alternative fuel becomes available.

    I concur with others that find this charge particularly offensive. Traveling with some baggage is an integral part of flying (with the exception of businesspeople are able to live out of an overnight bag) that it’s absurd for an airline to treat the carriage of baggage as an add-on. Just because airlines have gotten away with treating items like fuel as an amenity (vis-a-vis the fuel surcharge), does make this practice right — there are few passenger who could fly without fuel either. Base fares should be all-in / all-inclusive of the necessities.

  7. Cooney says:

    This just shows how absolutely out of touch American’s management is with the custom–I’m sorry, REALITY. The funny thing is, how is this a “value” to me???

  8. David Lloyd says:

    Crazy…Just more reason to fly SOUTHWEST AIRLINES.. They know how to treat their customers!
    I am not going to pay for luggage this is insane. Travelers have to go with check luggage due to security liquid carry on restrictions. The airlines are taken advantage of an already security aggravation and inconvenience.
    Hey everyone, fly Southwest Airlines so that can get their prices down!!

  9. Denyse says:

    People will try to carry all their bags on. It will back up flight times and the $15 will have to be paid as passengers get turned around w/ their bags as they try to borad. There will be NO ROOM in the above compartments for 1/2 the people…then what?
    I want to know what they will do when they loose the bags? I want NOT ONLY my $15 back- but I want a surcharge for the inconvience back also!!!! To charge me for a service that is a necessary part of flying is pathetic- just go ahead and incease the ticket fees so we all know the bottom line rate! For a family of 5- that $15 adds up! She we not travel w/ clothes or toiletries???

  10. johnny k says:

    …. I just wanna know when they’re going to add the surcharge for flushing the toilet as where this surcharge and every other CEO excuse, scam, rip-off surcharge should go……this is as bad as trying to sell extended warranty on toilet paper……………

    Futures in camels looks very promising these days…..

  11. Jordan says:

    Why don’t they charge the carry on baggage? That way the boarding and unboarding process goes faster. What’s another 15.00 dollars on a ticket price? Now the lines for check in will take even longer being that they need to process everybodys credit cards!!!

  12. Terry Moore says:

    The solution is simple. Ignore the boarding group number on your ticket, and board last. After all, you have a reserved seat (no fee so far), and it’s not going anywhere. Bring your luggage on board and of course there will be no room because the overheads are all full. So now they will be required to take your luggage and check it anyway, at no fee.

  13. Elliot Campbell says:

    So let me get this straight: this is from the same airline that got rid of “More room throughout coach” because passengers wouldn’t pay an extra $20 dollars a flight for a seat. Did revenue management approve this latest idea while everyone from marketing was on vacation???

    I’m stumped. And I also feel very sorry for the American FA’s. Maybe instead of using the $15/bag to cover fuel, they should use it for a medical fund to treat all the FA’s that are bound to be injured trying to break up fights over overhead space (as if overhead space isn’t hard enough to come by already). And what happens to the guy who loses – I can actually see management insisting that FA’s take a checked bag payment from someone who fully intended to put it in the overhead bin but can’t because there is no space.

    What exactly has this world come to?

  14. Dixie Petersen says:

    This $15 fee is ludicrous! Just in case you do not know what that means, the dictionary defines ludicrous as, “…causing laughter because of absurdity; provoking or deserving derision; ridiculous; laughable….” and that is exactly what this $15.00 fee is.

    Trying to fly these days is already stressful enough. Now, juggling more carry-on luggage, or trying to fit more into smaller carry-on size bags, will make it even more stressful. It’s impossible to stuff all that is needed for any trip lasting more than 48 hours into carry-on luggage. What about those that have medical needs requiring additional baggage space? Are they going to be further penalized?

    Have these American Airlines “powers that be” ever tried to board a plane in coach class, and find room for even one piece of carry-on luggage? The rules for the size of the carry-on is already being violated right and left. Overhead storage units are always jammed within minutes after boarding starts, with over-size luggage taking up what inadequate space there is before half of the plane is full. How are people suppose to travel any more if they can’t take the luggage they need to enjoy the trip. Are fees going to go so high, the typical person cannot afford to fly at all?

    Perhaps those that make these kind of decisions should be forced to fly under the same conditions as the majority of their passengers — those that basically keep the airlines in business.

  15. Maximillion says:

    Really…. Simply don’t fly American Airlines.

  16. Marti Verfurth says:

    American is already “priced out of business”! Not only does this fee represent their greediness, they offer no “guarantees”! Will all luggage arrive on time for your arrival, will it also be in the excellent, clean condition that it was sent?
    What does one get for this money?
    Please share all these comments with the other airlines. This is absurd!

  17. steve kimball says:

    American and all other air lines are in business to make money. Be best was to fight is to tell American how you fell and take another airline

  18. Ed says:

    Amazing, The AA just found the way to squeeze that dollar form their customers, airport fee, customs fee,taxes,expired air-miles(use it or lose it) lower lbs in baggaged, that’s what their looking for, transporting cargo in an air passanger airplane… that’s where their money is at. so,… you need to take from one end to add to the other end to increase profit.

    Let’s not complain to much, change airline to Delta airlines … lets try giving them the business and see what’s going to happens.

  19. Susie says:

    AA has just lost a whole family of loyal customers. We will be changing our credit card (that applies purchases to frequent flyer miles). Their current service is lacking in customer service. It isn’t just paying for the 1st checked bag, it is trying to board with so many others dragging on their over stuffed luggage that is too heavy to be lifted into the overhead bin and likely not to fit, anyway. All this will take extra time, then our flights will be delayed. There will be missed connections and therefore, missed business meetings. I predict that AA will get less of the fees paid but more of the above-mentioned problems. Road rage in the sky might be expected from customers who are fed up with paying more, more, more and nothing in return. Perhaps, not even their luggage intact after paying this fee.

  20. Bryan says:

    This is crazy! The airlines were pulled out of their terminal fall after 9/11 with some 12-15 billion dollars in tax payer bail outs provided by non other than good ole U.S. government. Unlike Chrysler, who paid their billion dollar loan back to the tax payer early, the airlines have made no attempt to repay their loans. How about they take one for the team on this one!!! Southwest was the only ariline that did not take hand outs after 9/11 because they had a real business plan in place. Humm, airline welfare, interesting!

  21. Trudi Frank says:

    People need to read the airling baggage for carry on or checked luggage, it is spelled out what you can bring.

    All airlines do have a carry on requierment of size and how many.

    Carry ons are limited to 1 bag of a certin size and 1 small personal item like a purce, computer,etc. Plus a coat or jacket. So trying to get it carried on will not work.

    As it is now when I travel the over head bins are full and if you can’t fit it in it will bw taken and put on as a checked bag.

  22. Steve Filson says:

    Bryan, sorry my friend but you got that one wrong. Post 9/11 saw the creation of the Airline Stabilization Board where a line of creditors made available 15 billion dollars. Only a small portion of that line of credit was granted and all of that was paid back with interest. The line of credit was only underwritten by the Federal government if the loan defaulted. The ATSB, after it was all said and done, actually made a profit. Not one tax dollar came out of our pockets for that.

  23. Drew says:

    If the purpose of additional fees is to either reduce fuel costs by decreasing the baggage weight on board or to increase revenue to cover that fuel cost, then surely it makes more sense to charge for every additional bag and not for the first one. If as a result of this short sightedness, there is an increase in the already often abused carry-on baggage then I hope that the FAA will consider the safety issues and take appropriate action. Incidentally, Ryanair could reduce their weight and costs by removing the copious amounts of chewing gum stuck on the backs of the seats in front of you.

  24. Elliot Campbell says:

    Ah, now i found my favorite part of this whole you can pay for your first piece of checked luggage.

    According to the story in the New York Times, “American does not plan to offer refunds if suitcases do not arrive with the plane.” Is this even legal? But regardless, now you can be paying for them to “carry your bag,” only not only is there no incentive for them to make sure it gets to your destination with you, they are actually encouraging more lost bags. After all, if the customer has paid the fee and has no recourse, why would they? I guess once your passengers are already this PO’d, there’s really not much harm.

  25. Al says:

    Regarding the checked baggage fee,does this make any sense?—-Charge $10 for one carry-on of a certain size and allow no more than one per passenger, whether it’s a PC, small bag or whatever. Don’t charge for one checked bag and $10 for a second bag all within size and weight restrictions. This will guarentee enough overhead space for each passenger. Your thoughts?

  26. Daphne Morris says:

    This is backwards. They should only allow one carry on and then charge $15 for an extra carry ons. This would improve travel time. How much fuel is wasted while everyone’s trying to find a spot for their oversized bag?

  27. Alain D. says:

    Running an airline in a license to print money.
    The fact that the US airline industry is in the red shown how poorly this industry is managed.
    Even with high fuel cost, they could take good care of their customers by being upfront and increasing their fares accordingly.
    A charge for checking liggages is an insult to the passengers.
    Why not cut the extravagant salaries of the CEOs ?

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