Tourism February 22, 2024 | 8:14 am

American Airlines adjusts baggage fees and policies to encourage direct bookings

American Airlines has announced adjustments to its baggage fees and policies in a strategic move to encourage customers to book tickets directly with the airline for enhanced benefits such as earning frequent flyer points.

Starting soon, the cost of checking a bag on a domestic flight with American Airlines will see an increase from the current $30 to $35 when done online, and $40 if purchased at the airport. Similarly, the fee for a second checked bag will see an increment from US$40 to US$45, applicable for both online and airport transactions.

This marks the first adjustment in baggage fees by American Airlines since 2018. The introduction of baggage fees dates back to 2008 when the airline, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, implemented a $15 fee to tackle the surging costs of jet fuel. Over the years, baggage fees have evolved into a significant revenue stream for major U.S. carriers, with American Airlines leading the industry by accumulating $1.400 million in baggage fees in 2022, as per the latest available figures from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

In addition to domestic changes, American Airlines is also raising baggage fees by $5 for short international flights, encompassing destinations such as Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The new fees for these routes will be $35 for the first bag and $45 for the second.

Typically, American Airlines offers complimentary checked bags to customers with elite status in the airline’s loyalty program, those purchasing premium class tickets, or utilizing an American-branded credit card.

To provide some relief to passengers with slightly overweight or oversized bags, American Airlines will implement graduated fees. Instead of the full additional fee, which can range from US$100 to US$650, graduated fees will begin at US$30 for bags weighing no more than 3 pounds (1.36 kg) or exceeding limits by three linear inches.

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