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Entries in Baggage Fees (8)

Tuesday
Nov062012

Spirit Airlines' $100 Carry-On Bag Fee Takes Effect

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- With all the political coverage over the past few weeks, it's understandable that one piece of airline news may have gone unnoticed by many travelers. But it's an important one: Tuesday's the day Spirit Airlines starts charging up to $100 for a carry-on bag.

Misty Pinson, a Spirit Airlines spokeswoman, said the timing of the new fee had nothing to do with the election and was "purely coincidence."

In fact, she said, "We absolutely do not want this news to be buried and have been actively working to make sure our customers are aware of this change, including emails to our customers and signs posted at our airports.  What's most important is that we truly do not want any of our customers to have to pay $100 for their bag."

Which begs the obvious question: If the airline does not want people to pay $100 for a carry-on, why are they charging up to $100 for a carry-on?

"The fee is intentionally set high to encourage customers to reserve their bags in advance, and it is meant to deter customers from waiting until they get to the boarding gate.  When customers wait until the boarding gate, this delays the boarding process for everyone," Pinson said.

With just two weeks until the busy Thanksgiving travel weekend, it's a fee people who still haven't booked -- and are considering a flight on Spirit -- need to factor into their travel budget.

Spirit said it's "Bring Less, Pay Less" bag program passes the cost of handling bags solely to those bringing bags rather than have everyone subsidize these costs.  The airline said the program has helped the company conserve the equivalent of nearly six million gallons of fuel in the last year alone compared to the rate of consumption before the introduction of the program.

Passengers who pay in advance will not have to pay $100 for their carry-ons.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct252012

Third Airline Adds Carry-On Bag Fee

NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In a trend that seems to be getting more expensive for air travelers, a third airline has decided to charge for carry-on bags.

The airline, Wizz, is a low-cost carrier based at London’s Luton Airport.  As of Oct. 24, the only free carry-on allowed is a bag that can fit under the seat in front of you.  Anything larger will cost 10 euros, or about $13.

The airline’s website said the reason for the change was to ”encourage passengers to bring smaller baggage on board and make the boarding process smoother and faster.”

The carrier flies from London to Central and Eastern Europe.

Wizz’s policy is similar to that of U.S.-carrier Spirit Airlines.  The carrier also charges for carry-on luggage.  The cost as of Nov. 6 is as much as $100 each way, depending how far in advance the passenger pays.  (Passengers who do not pay prior to boarding the flight will be subject to the $100 charge).

Allegiant Airlines, also a Las Vegas-based carrier, began charging for carry-on bags in April.  The cost is $10 to $30 and is route-specific.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep262012

Baggage Fees Cost Passengers a Record $1.7B

Matthew Peyton/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. airlines rang up more than $1.7 billion in baggage fees in the first six months of the year, the most ever collected in that period.

Delta Airlines collected the most in baggage fees with nearly $430 million from January to June, according to a report the Bureau of Transportation released Tuesday. United Airlines came in second with $351 million in baggage fees.

[ CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL REPORT ]

From carry-on to oversized items, U.S. airliners are raking in record revenues, a rare bright spot in an industry now suffering turbulence from soaring oil prices and rising labor costs.

The hardest hit has been American Airlines, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011.  American is locked in a bitter labor dispute with pilots, which has contributed to delays, cancellations and fury among passengers.  Earlier this month, American was forced to cancel 300 flights in one week.

But American’s $25 luggage fee has helped the ailing airline rake in more than $288 million so far this year, according to the Bureau of Transportation, which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“The travelers who haven’t gotten used to these fees need to get used to them quickly because this is a huge stream of revenue for the airline industry and it is not going anywhere,” says Genevieve Shaw Brown, ABC News’ travel and lifestyle editor.  “If anything, there will be more fees in the future.”

While most passengers find baggage fees costly, there is one airline that is taking customer concerns to heart.  Southwest Airlines is promoting its “bags fly free” policy as a way to gain business.  Southwest will allow customers to check two bags per passenger for free.  JetBlue allows one free bag per passenger.

U.S. airlines also collected an additional $1.3 billion in fees for canceling or changing a reservation during the first six months of the year, according to the Bureau of Transportation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun122012

United Raises Second Checked Bag Fee on International Flights

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Earlier this month, United Airlines quietly raised the fee for a second checked bag from $70 to $100 on some international flights.

Passengers traveling on trans-Atlantic routes between North, Central and South America and Europe, the Middle East, India and selected countries in Africa will see the increase. On those routes, the first checked bag is free of charge.

Passengers traveling from the United States (except Hawaii) will pay $100 for the second checked bag to Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India, but $70 to South America (except Brazil and Venezuela) and $40 to Central America.

Here’s a link to a chart outlining the new fees on United’s web site.

United raised the fees on these routes from $50 to $70 just one year ago. This latest increase matches the one Delta made earlier this year when it raised second checked bag fees on the same routes.

The new fee applies only to tickets purchased after June 1, 2012.

Summer airfare to Europe is up 11 percent, according to Kayak.com.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
May252012

Airline Fees: Charges for Carry-Ons, Pillows, Water, Once Included, Now New Revenue

ICHIRO/Digital Vision(NEW YORK) -- The doors to a Boeing 777 used to be the gateway to adventure.  Now, when you get on a plane, it's more like the moment of truth -- for your wallet.

Airlines are adding on fees for almost everything, including amenities that were once complimentary.  So just how much is that flight you thought you paid for already really going to cost you?  By the end of your trip, you could spend hundreds more than you expected to.

Delta and other airlines are now charging around $6 to watch an in-flight movie.  Spirit Airways charges $3 for a bottle of water.  Allegiant Air charges between $4.99 and $24.99 for passengers to choose their own seat and between $17 and $25 for a pillow and a blanket.  And just last month, Allegiant announced it will start charging between $10 and $30 for passengers to have the privilege of storing carry-on bags in the overhead compartments.

But that cost is not quite as high as Spirit's carry-on price of $20 to $40.  The carrier has been charging for carry-on bags since 2010.  So which airline is going to be next?

"We're probably a few years away from other airlines following what Allegiant has done, but honestly, we're probably not that far off," said Sean Williams of Motley Fool, a financial services company.  "I think a lot of the airlines aren't going to have much of a choice to do this.  Many of them are losing money hand-over-fist if these fees aren't there."

A key reason people started to switch to carry-on was to avoid baggage charges that have also crept up in price in recent years.  On United, passengers will pay $100 for a third checked bag on an overseas flight, while Delta is charging $135 and American Airlines is charging $150.

Lately there is even the "book your seat" fee, an extra per seat charge at the time of booking on some section of some airlines to avoid the middle seat, or just to make sure you and your spouse are sitting next to each other.

In total, the airline industry brought in $2.6 billion in revenue during the first three-quarters of 2011 through these add-on fees.  Williams said Delta has brought in $656 million in just baggage fee revenue alone.

"They also are the leading airline when it comes to change-ticket fees," he said.

This seems bad for business, so why do the airlines do it?

"[The airlines] have no choice but to put out all these extra fees because they'd be losing money otherwise," Williams said.  "Between the added cost of planes, which just continue to be more expensive... they really have no choice."

One of the greatest costs to the airlines is the price of fuel.  Delta has considered buying their own refinery so that the airline can make its own fuel.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr032012

Allegiant Airlines to Charge for Carry-Ons

Comstock/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) -- Move over Spirit Airlines -- there’s another low-cost carrier about to make serious money off passengers’ carry-on baggage.

Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air confirmed to ABC News it will begin charging as much as $35 for carry-on bags for reservations made starting April 4. Reservations made prior to this date will not be affected.

Allegiant Air will be the second domestic airline to charge for carry-on baggage. The move mimics that of Spirit Airlines' 2010 fee charging passengers up to $45 for carry-on bags.

Passengers who pay online and in advance for carry-on bags on Allegiant will pay $10 to $30 for their carry-ons. The prices are route-specific. This, too, is similar to the Spirit Airlines carry-on bag fee; for example, a person could pay as little as $20 for the carry-on bag if they’re a member of the airline’s $9 fare club and payment is made at time of booking.

Passengers on Allegiant will be allowed one personal item such as a purse or laptop bag free of charge. Anything larger, however, will incur the fee.

When Spirit Airlines made its carry-on fee announcement, it was met with outrage from the traveling public. But today, it seems the airline’s low fares have trumped the anger first felt. Spirit tells ABC News, “Our carry-on bag program has been a huge success and well received by customers and our crew members.  It has reduced the number of carry-on bags, which in turn has led to speedier, smoother and safer boarding and deplaning.”

Allegiant Airlines, which was already charging for checked bags, has profited in a time when many companies have struggled. The 2011 fourth-quarter earnings report noted it was the airline’s 36th consecutive quarter of profitability. The airline reported a 10-percent increase in total fares compared with Q4 2010 and a 20-percent increase in total operating revenue.

See where Allegiant flies.


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug082011

Faulty Scales Can Mean Higher Luggage Costs at Nation's Airports

Raygun/Cultura/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Airlines have come under fire recently for their many fees, including the ones they charge passengers for overweight luggage.  But are those fees legitimate?

Reporters from ABC's Good Morning America and ABC News affiliate stations across the country went along with inspectors from the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Weights and Measures Division recently, checking the accuracy of airport luggage scales.

The NIST inspectors, along with ABC News' reporters, found inaccuracies that could mean a big difference for travelers.

At the Mesa Gateway airport in Phoenix, Arizona, the inspector, accompanied by a reporter with local ABC affiliate KNXV-TV, tested five scales.  Four of the scales did not pass inspection, and two had problems so severe they were closed until they could be fixed.  One of the problem scales did not zero out, while the other fluctuated wildly.

The airlines charge stiff penalties for overweight luggage.  For each bag weighing just one ounce over 50 pounds, Delta Airlines, for example, charges $90, and American and United Airlines each charge $100.  For bags that weigh more than 70 pounds, the fees shoot up even higher.

Of the 144 scales inspected at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in the past year, six were out of compliance.  Bags weighed on those faulty scales seemed heavier than they actually were -- a discrepancy that costs travelers even more.

Scales fail inspection if they are even one-half of an ounce off the correct reading.

On a later, surprise inspection at LAX, NIST inspectors found no faulty scales, but only about 15 were tested that day.

GMA itself researched inspection data from 10 other airports.  Of the 2,615 scales GMA inspected, 5 percent were off.

The biggest offenders were John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, both in New York.  At JFK, 8 percent of the scales were wrong and, at LaGuardia, 7 percent were incorrect.

In some of the nation's busiest airports, scales were surprisingly accurate.  In Atlanta, only two of 264 scales were faulty.  At O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, just three scales were off.  And Dallas had only seven bad scales at its high traffic airport.

Before you start thinking that the airlines are out to get you, it's actually the airports that bear responsibility for servicing and monitoring the scales.  And, according to one of the inspectors, broken scales often make bags seem lighter, favoring passengers.

But there is something that passengers can do if they suspect a scale is off.

If a scale reads over or under the zero mark even before a bag is placed on it, ask the ticket agent to hit the reset button.  Moving your bags around also often changes the weight on a scale.

Another option is to ask that your bags be weighed on another scale.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun212011

Spirit Airlines to Charge for Printed Boarding Passes

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(MIRAMAR, Fla.) -- Spirit Airlines was the first to charge customers for carry-on bags, and now the airline plans to charge another fee that travelers are sure to not like.

The airline on Tuesday said it will charge $5 to have one of its ticket agents print a boarding pass. The fee can be bypassed by checking in online and printing a boarding pass at home.

The airline says most customers check in online and print at home anyway, and the fee helps keep airfares low.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio