Baggage fees

Delta Air Lines became the third major U.S. airline, and the second U.S. legacy carrier, to raise bag fees when it quietly updated its baggage fee page on its website this week. Delta will immediately begin charging $30 for the first checked bag (up from $25) and $40 for the second (up from $35). The increases are the same ones made by United Airlines and JetBlue last month and are similar to ones made by Canadian carriers Air Canada and WestJet. The increase comes as no surprise to most of the industry — after United matched JetBlue’s increase, many speculated that the rest of the industry would follow.

American Airlines

American Airlines matched its main competitors on Sept. 21 and said it would start charging $30 for the first checked bag, a day after Delta followed JetBlue and United to up the charge from $25 to $30. It also said the second checked bag would be going from $35 to $40. Travelers in the carrier’s Premium Economy can check their first bag for free, but a second checked bag will cost $35. American Elite members are allowed to check up to 3 bags without a fee.

Delta Air Lines

As of Sept. 20, 2018, within the U.S. and Canada, Delta charges $30 for the first bag, and $40 for the second, for those in economy. Delta made the increase from $25 for the first and $35 for the second weeks after United and JetBlue did the same. Delta Premium Select and Delta One and up, get two bags up to 70 pounds for free, but the increase in those fares is typically more than what the bag fee addition would have been. Passengers who have a Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express get one free bag when they book with the card, plus a free bag for eight travel companions.

United Airlines

News broke earlier this month that United Airlines is matching the bag fees set by JetBlue. The carrier is charging $30 for the first checked bag (up from $25), $40 for the second (up from $35), and $150 for the third (up from $100). The fee for United flights to and from Canada for a second bag is now $50. United’s Premier Silver members are eligible to check one bag for free for travel within North America, while Premier Gold member are eligible for two, and Premier Platinum and 1K members are eligible for three bags free.

Other ways to get around bag fees

As the proliferation of bag fees across the industry over the last few years have made headlines, third-party companies have sprouted up that say they save travelers time and inconvenience by sending bags through a different avenue than on their airplane. One of those companies, Luggage Free, offers travel agent commission. According to Luggage Free, pricing for sending bags ahead of time is dynamic; it depends on the destination and type of bag, as well as the speed of shipping. According to Jeff Boyd, who is the founder and president of Luggage Free, the service serves “hundreds of thousands” of customers at the moment, and it’s growing. “Luggage Free enables agents to provide their customers with a truly luxurious and hassle free experience from end to end within many different price brackets,” Boyd told TMR.

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