US Airlines Increase Checked Baggage Fees: What's Behind the Surge and How Much More You'll Pay

Learn about the recent increases in checked baggage fees by US airlines, including American, Alaska, and JetBlue. Understand the reasons behind the changes and how they affect travelers.

Feb 27, 2024 - 02:40
Feb 27, 2024 - 02:41
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US Airlines Increase Checked Baggage Fees: What's Behind the Surge and How Much More You'll Pay
US Airlines Increase Checked Baggage Fees

Due to rising expenses for running their operations, US airlines have implemented a hike in baggage fees. American Airlines will now charge $40 for the first checked bag and $45 for the second, while Alaska Airlines has adjusted their fees to $35 and $45, respectively. Additionally, JetBlue has doubled costs for last-minute check-ins.

As the global aviation industry contends with mounting concerns over rising fuel prices and labor expenses, major US airlines, including Alaska, American, and JetBlue, have announced increases in their baggage fees.

Now, passengers checking in their bags at the airport will incur separate charges for each bag. However, airlines offer discounts on baggage fees for online payments made prior to arrival at the airport. This adjustment is aimed at streamlining check-in processes and expediting passenger transit through airport terminals.

The following US airlines have implemented increased baggage fees for domestic travel:

  • Alaska Airlines

  • American Airlines

  • Delta Air Lines

  • Frontier Airlines

  • Hawaiian Airlines

  • JetBlue Airways

  • Southwest Airlines

  • Spirit Airlines

  • United Airlines

Why the Rise in Baggage Fees?

Baggage fees represent a significant revenue stream for airlines. Recent data from the Transportation Department indicates that US airlines collected over $5.4 billion in baggage fees in the first nine months of 2023, marking a 25% increase compared to the same period in 2019.

Airlines assert that while they are reluctant to raise baggage fees, it is necessary to offset rising operational expenses. JetBlue, for instance, stated, "While we don't like increasing fees, it's one step we are taking to get our company back to profitability and cover the increased costs of transporting bags."

How Much Will You Pay?

American Airlines:

For domestic flights, American Airlines passengers will now pay $40 for the first checked bag and $45 for the second, up from previous prices of $30 and $40, respectively. Online prepayment discounts are available, reducing the first bag fee to $35.

For travel to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and Guyana, fees have increased to $35 (from $30) for the first bag and $45 (from $40) for the second.

Alaska Airlines:

Alaska Airlines has raised its checked baggage costs to $35 for the first bag and $45 for the second, up from $30 and $40, respectively.

JetBlue Airways:

JetBlue Airways, a New York-based low-cost carrier, has doubled checked baggage fees for passengers who check in less than 24 hours before departure. Travelers flying within the US, Caribbean, and Latin America will now be charged $45 for the first bag and $60 for the second bag if checked in within 24 hours of departure.

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