Your Checked Bags Just Got More Expensive to Fly

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Are you a frequent flyer that travels for your business, or likes to take many vacations, or even just occasionally to see the family at the holidays? Well the airlines have just made it more expensive for you when you do any of these.

American Airlines is the latest carrier to increase bag fees, boosting the charge for one checked bag from $25 to $30 on September 19, 2018. The fee for second bag is now $40, up from $35. The airline said the changes are effective for tickets purchased September 21, 2018 and beyond. This is the first increase since 2010, the airline says.

The move comes a day after Delta Air Lines joined the higher bag fee parade. JetBlue Airways started the trend when it increased bag fees on August 27, 2018. United Airlines matched JetBlue's fees ahead of Labor Day weekend. Canadian carriers WestJet and Air Canada also boosted fees.

Bag fees have become big business for U.S. airlines since they started charging for the first and second checked bag in 2008 during the recession and oil price spike. Previously, the only bag fee charges were for excess bags and overweight and oversized bags.

Airlines collected $2.4 billion in bag fees in the first half of 2018, according to the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The same figure in the first half of 2008: $300.8 million. United started the bag fee frenzy in May 2008, charging $25 for the second checked bag. A few months later, American upped the ante, announcing a $15 fee for the first checked bag.

Southwest stands alone among the big 4 airlines. Southwest has resisted the trend, despite Wall Street's insistence that it is leaving money on the table. The nation's largest domestic carrier allows two free checked bags and trumpets that policy everywhere. Executives recently said, again, that there are no plans to charge for bags. They even give you lots of snacks at no charge.

Well, worry no more on this issue. There are ways to get around airline baggage fees. For tips to avoid these fees...Stay tuned for the next chapter post on this issue.