American Airlines Now Charges $15 For The First Checked Bag

American Airlines has just announced that it will begin charging a $15 fee for the first checked bag starting June 15. The airline also said that it would raise fees for things like “reservation help” and “oversized bags.”

CEO Gerard “$15 Fee For Knowing My Middle Name” Arpey said:

“The airline industry as it is constituted today was not built to withstand oil prices at $125 a barrel, and certainly not when record fuel expenses are coupled with a weak U.S. economy,” AMR Chairman and CEO Gerard Arpey said in a statement. “Our company and industry simply cannot afford to sit by hoping for industry and market conditions to improve.”

Well, damn.

American to begin charging for first checked bag [AP]

American Airlines to trim schedule, boost baggage fees [Dallas Morning News] (Thanks, Travis!)
(Photo: Zonaphoto )

Comments

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  1. PinkNightmare says:

    I don’t know why this is such a shock to me! I guess I’ll have to carry on and forgo any “liquid” products because I’m limited to “Travel-size toiletries (3.4 oz./ 100 ml container or smaller) that fit in ONE, quart-size, clear plastic, zip-top bag.” (per the AA website.) ARGH!

  2. Kajj says:

    Well then just be honest about making ticket prices higher! People can see right through all this nickel-and-diming. And this is just going to lead people to cram more bags into the overhead compartments. This is going to be a boon for the toiletries industry, though. Since people won’t be checking bags as often, they’ll be limited to the 3oz allottment and have to buy everything else when they arrive.

  3. lincolnparadox says:

    Just the cost of doing business, right?

    I wish that airlines would be forced to combine all of these fees into a single number for the WHOLE ticket price.

    Looks like Amtrak is my new best friend…

  4. missdona says:

    @Kajj: They do both, though. They’ll jack the ticket prices and nickel and dime us.

  5. ChrisC1234 says:

    The airline industry as it is constituted today was not built to handle REALITY. They’ve never been able to deal with reality, so why should now be any different?

  6. sir_pantsalot says:

    I wish they would also list the salaries and bonus amounts for the CEO and other top guys along with all of these fees. I am all for making money but when you are in charge of a business and it is not doing well then you do not get a multi million $ bonus.

  7. billbillbillbill says:

    These fees are getting ridiculous, if it costs X dollars to run the plane, then chare X for the tickets.

  8. basket548 says:

    Sounds fair to me. The industry is being crushed by high fuel prices. I’m all in favor of having a ticket be just that, a mode of transport for your person from point A to B. Seems to make sense to charge for extras, i.e., checking bags, reserving specific seats, or additional assistance as long as it’s clear up front. It also allows those who do not use those extra services to pay less for their flights.

  9. Refuse to pay it, refuse to fly AA. Write Arpey and every other airline CEO and tell them to stick it. Refusing to fly the airline will cause them to back down. Don’t take this lying down!

  10. sir_pantsalot says:

    @ChrisC1234: They know how to handle reality. If they get introuble the govt will bail them out with our money. That is their reality.

  11. delphi_ote says:

    So I won’t be flying American next month. Good to know.

  12. Short on details…

    Does this mean if you are already a ticketholder you won’t be grandfathered it? Seems a little odd to start hitting people with fees AFTER they’ve already agreed to a price AND paid you.

    I’ll see how it goes, I’m flying American overseas in June.

  13. Nissan288 says:

    honestly, if the issue is the cost of gas and fuel vs. weight, eventually they will have to charge ticket prices by total amount of weight you carry, yourself and any luggage you haul with you.

    ::dodges rocks from civil lawyers::

  14. oneTee says:

    this all comes down to the oil industry…why are prices so high while companies like exxon are recording record profits? THAT is the problem in my opinion.

  15. @lincolnparadox: Yeah, Amtrak, that’s cheap and efficient.
    /sarcasm

  16. Crymson_77 says:

    AA sucks, but at least they suck less than most. This is really sad…as if we haven’t given enough tax money to bail these aholes out as it is…

  17. Trai_Dep says:

    Subhead: American declares War on Clean Clothes.

  18. lhutz34 says:

    Sites like Travelocity have done a pretty good job so far of calculating “true” prices for flights so that you can get a meaningful comparison. If they’re smart, they’ll add a “checked bags” field to their search form, and suddenly, the AA flight that seemed like a deal loses out to an airline that doesn’t charge for the first bag. Problem solved.

  19. buzzybee says:

    @sir_pantsalot: Well, some might think the CEO deserves a bonus for “innovations” (fees) that keep the company alive and operational, especially with record fuel prices.

  20. Crymson_77 says:

    @The Count of Monte Fisto: I agree…tried to take Amtrak ONCE…never will again. After waiting 4 HOURS for the damn train, I walked down the street and hopped on a Greyhound bus in ten minutes. The saddest part is that, while the freight companies own the rails they are REQUIRED to yield the right of way to passenger trains from AMTRAK. The reason? Amtrak is OWNED by the US gubmint and it is the law. Is it ever practiced? Obviously, no….if it were Amtrak would be making money rather than sucking down our tax dollars like every other stupid gubmint stupidity…

  21. facted says:

    My problem with all these fees is I really don’t see them ever coming down once the economic climate improves.

    I’m also with the people who say that the ticket price should just include everything, including taxes. So should cell phone plans for that matter…(and everything else). How awesome would it be to walk around any store and know exactly how much something is going to cost you? I guess you could in a state without sales tax…(I live in NY, so no such luck).

  22. basket548 says:

    @oneTee:

    Because Exxon doesn’t set the price of oil, the free market does. Exxon extracts the oil and sells it for what the market will bear. Record profits have already been spurring more development of harder to reach oil, but as countries like China continue to demand more oil (yeah, US too, but we’re not the main pull on demand anymore) the price will simply keep on rising.

    If you’re that concerned about the rising prices, why not invest in an oil-focused fund? That way at least any rise at the pump will correspond with one in your portfolio.

  23. 12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich says:

    Oh good…this is going to make the security lines so much quicker as well as free up all that overhead compartment space…

    /sarcasm

  24. bonzombiekitty says:

    I know I may be in the minority here, but frankly I think charging the fees on the bags is a lot better than raising prices across the board. It should have been like this for a long time. It shifts the cost burden onto those that use up more fuel.

    I’d rather pay a base fee that is just to get me and a carry-on from point A to point B and have to pay for extras like checked bags. If I don’t have 50lbs worth of luggage with me, why should I have to pay a share of the other guy’s luggage? It’ll also help to keep people from packing things they don’t need to take with them. If more people take less unnecessary luggage, the airline uses less fuel, which drops the overall cost of the flight.

  25. Leah says:

    looks like my car and I will continue to be good friends, and I’ll also be giving more of my good money to Amtrak.

    I honestly don’t understand why the airlines can’t configure a business model that allows them to make profit without nickel and diming, but I suppose I’m no economist. Mostly, these new advances just guarantee that I’m going to try my hardest to travel without flying. Ten hour car trips are starting to look better and better.

  26. Leah says:

    @Crymson_77: I don’t know where you get your information, since every Amtrak train I’ve ever been on has had to yield right of way to the damn freight companies.

    For what it’s worth, there are a few Amtrak trains on certain routes that are known to be almost always late. There are also a lot that are almost always on time. For my money, riding Amtrak totally beats the airlines. No one rifles through your bags, you can buy a ticket and hop right on, and the pricing structure actually makes sense.

  27. @facted: Places with VAT generally have prices listed with VAT included (eg Europe). Meanwhile, I have to add 9% or 10% to everything. That makes those “dollar menus” really annoying…

    I can’t remember where I read this, but a study said that when prices are quoted with VAT included, it makes it much easier to levy ever-higher taxes on the people. That’s also my one gripe with the FairTax idea…when politicians are in charge (just like airlines, to keep it on topic), rates and fees tend to go up and never back down.

  28. bbagdan says:

    I am in favor of charging people based on the “services” they use. Why should someone who only takes a backpack pay the same as a morbidly obese person with two suitcases?

    However, rewards work (and sound) better than punishments. Therefore, airlines should start with a high all-inclusive ticket price, then deduct amounts for less luggage, less services, not a fat ass, etc.

  29. Buran says:

    @corporateamericabites: I haven’t flown AA ever since they lied to the St. Louis community/area, promised they wouldn’t gut TWA, promised their employees would be treated fairly, promised they wouldn’t screw us over, then did all of those things. Why should I reward pathological liars? The icing on the cake was one of their employees screaming at me on a discussion forum and telling me it was all our fault. Uh, what?

    Turned out that guy was lying about a lot of things, too, and hasn’t been back there.

    If AA behaves like this, why should I give them any business?

    Southwest all the way.

  30. Buran says:

    @Leah: Passenger trains used to yield to nothing. Pathetic how far things have fallen that inanimate freight that doesn’t care gets to move before humans, who do, can.

  31. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    @bonzombiekitty:

    Except they will still raise fees across the board, and then charge you $15 to check your bag.

  32. Crymson_77 says:

    @Leah: Here you go:

    [en.wikipedia.org]

  33. ironchef says:

    it might be cheaper to start Fedexing my luggage soon.

  34. joshthephenom says:

    For trips less than 10 hours I’ve started taking Greyhound. I’m not really a big fan of theirs in general, but when you factor in everything, it’s not that bad of a financial deal. Their fares are MUCH less, usually at least half the price if not more. The overall travel time is obviously longer, but I’m an hour and a half from the airport, whereas only 15 minutes from the bus station. That saves 2 1/2 drive time, plus having to be at the airport early. You also save daily parking fees which in my case are at least $10/day. By the time all is said and done, I’ve saved a ton of money in exchange for a few hours of my time. I usually take a book I’ve been wanting to read and my iPod and I’m all set.

  35. Landru says:

    basket548 = Shill

  36. basket548 says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!:

    “Except they will still raise fees across the board, and then charge you $15 to check your bag.”

    In some kind of crazy scheme not to be bankrupt, right?

  37. facted says:

    @bonzombiekitty: As Franklin said, the issue is that they’re not reducing the price that YOU pay. You are paying exactly what you paid before the insituted the $15 fee. I agree with the general principle that you described which is I understand it is what happens on the European low-cost carriers. However, they start with a rock-bottom price and then nickle and dime you.

    The US system has started with high prices and also nickle and dimes you. Doesn’t quite do the same thing.

  38. facted says:

    @ironchef: Not to mention it has a better chance of actually getting there :)

  39. basket548 says:

    @Landru:

    Not a shill, an economist. I’d like to pay $200 to fly cross country with two bags, a meal, and lots of leg room, but realistically it isn’t possible. On this blog, there tends to be a lot of bitching when prices rise or a new fee is added. I’m trying to present the other side of the argument.

  40. I’d be in favor of charging people and their luggage based on a “fixed seat base rate plus total cargo weight”. We’re all cargo, after all…

    But only if they make everything clear IN ADVANCE and have a rollout date. None of this after-the-fact nickel/dime crap.

  41. Crymson_77 says:

    @Landru: Agreed…shills…go elsewhere, we are too smart to take your line of bs and believe it…

  42. am84 says:

    GOD – I have a work conference every summer that is at least a week long, sometimes longer. I HAVE to check a bag. If all the other major airlines start doing this, I am so screwed.

  43. Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

    If I weigh 100 lbs and bring a 40 lb bag, why should I pay more than a 300 lb person with no bag?

    But I can also agree with all the new bag fees. Makes picking up my bring-everything-including-the-kitchen-sink mother from the airport much easier.

    I just really wish they’d slap a fee on people who bring stinky food into the cabin to eat during the flight.

  44. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    @basket548:

    Two problems here. One, people like to propagate the theory that because other people now have to pay to check their bags, their fares will go down ( or at least not be raised as much ) because they are no longer subsidizing the cost of transporting other peoples’ luggage. Just pointing out that this is false.

    Second, while they may have to charge more to avoid bankruptcy, aren’t they on a curve that says increasing prices will lead to fewer tickets sold, which will eventually lead to making less money than they would make by not raising prices? I’m not saying we’re there yet, but we’re getting awfully close.

  45. basket548 says:

    @Crymson_77:

    OK, then, what’s your view? I’m perfectly up for debating mine.

  46. coan_net says:

    My Prediction:

    Someday you will walk into the airport, and step onto a large scale along with everything you are bringing on the plane (all bags, clothes you are wearing, etc…) – then your “total weight” surcharge will be charged to you for the total weight of what you are bringing.

  47. @basket548: We will never see pricing by weight though, as much sense as that makes. The ACLU among other organizations would be all over that. For every person who is overweight because of laziness there are others (myself included) who have a thyroid condition that causes problems. Also, can you imagine people at the ticket counter checking to see if weight on presold tickets match actual weight?

  48. Zclyh3 says:

    I guess American Airlines is going to be the one to avoid.

  49. Geminijinx07 says:

    @Zclyh3: Ahh… but just wait – as with almost all previous fees, the other airlines will soon follow suit and we’ll be screwed either way.

  50. RandomHookup says:

    Coming soon:

    Visit the lavatory for only $1 ($3 for couples). Exact change required to purchase a token from our flight attendants (because heaven forbid a business should be required to have change on hand).

  51. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    @Geminijinx07:

    You can still check two bags for free on Southwest.

  52. snoop-blog says:

    I’m most definately repeating previous commenters, but why can’t they just add all those fees together and charge you for one ticket? Nobody likes the word fees, especially because that word is usually connected to the word hidden, and therefore usually mean more cost the avg. consumer didn’t expect or budget for.

  53. basket548 says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!:

    Fair enough. Why is the first issue false? If person X is checking a bag and paying $15 more, then how am I not paying less by buying the same ticket and not paying to check a bag?

    And on the second point, you’re right. What Consumerist didn’t point out, however, is that AA is also cutting capacity, leading to less costs, etc…

    Supply/demand curves are nice in theory, but extremely difficult to figure out in real life, especially in America where flying on a plane has become commoditized. These fees are making different airlines to be essentially different products, thereby screwing up the whole model.

  54. cadillacman03 says:

    thanks! You just made my decision between United and American just that much easier. See you after you emerge from Chapter 11. Maybe.

  55. basket548 says:

    @Tracy Ham and Eggs:

    Think you meant to respond to someone else. I actually put forth that same opinion a couple of days ago in the Buddy Pass thread. I agree 100%, ideally would be cool, never ever will happen in real life.

  56. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    @basket548:

    What I’m trying to say is that people think the rate of increase of the base fares will decrease because of the airlines adding fees like this one. I say that because of the dire financial situation of most of the airlines, the base fare will continue to rise at the same rate, despite the fact that it does not do as much subsidizing of checked luggage.

  57. Exxon’s record profits work like this…

    Sell widget @ 10% profit
    sell 100,000,000,000,000 $ of widgets
    make 1,000,000,000,000 $

    or sell 1,000 $ of widgets
    make 100 $

    Both have the same markup just one number is “bigger” would you begrudge a company for making 100 bucks on a 1000 dollar item, I dont think so, but people get their panties all in a wad when you sell billions of dollars of oil a year and take down that same 10% profit, more like 6-7% in the case of oil companies.

    Dont be a sheep, actually read and understand some 9th grade finance before you cry foul on the “big oil boogie man”

  58. miran says:

    If bags were insured or you were offered guaranteed delivery, might be worth extra. (fat chance) Or maybe the airlines should outsource this to UPS and FedEx. They seem to do such a better job at package handling. And then if you wanted your bag to get there, you’d have a reputable company to turn to if it didn’t.
    Maybe arranging for pre-screening by TSA (in your presence) with secured and traceable advance shipment could be a “value add” shippers could offer.
    I’d have no problem sending my bag ahead (or flying with your advance bag on board) if I knew no one would be pilfering through my underwear on their lunch break while I’m buying replacements on my vacation.

  59. APFPilot says:

    @cadillacman03: United is right behind (if not in front of) them on the trail to bankruptcy. None of these fees bother me though what little business travel I can’t do on our planes I do on Airtran.

  60. Geminijinx07 says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!: Okay, so there’s ONE option for the moment.

    I have no problem with being charged for the second bag but to charge for the first bag, that just seems a bit off. Although … AirCanada already has options to choose to ‘save’ $3/$6 (can’t remember which) if you’re not checking any baggage at all. Perhaps that’s the way to get this past consumers without an outcry – make it that you’re ‘saving’ money by not checking a bag instead of paying extra. Same difference, consumer feels better.

  61. PinUp says:

    I wouldn’t mind the fee to check a bag so much if the price of a ticket sans bag was $15 less, then it would ((gasp)) actually give us the ability to choose only the services we need. Since that won’t happen, hows about they just give the mind games a rest and charge more for a ticket that includes a checked bag, beverage, and generic bag of nuts.

  62. basket548 says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!:

    Yep, definitely. And to poke more holes in my own theory, how would airlines know who would check bags and who won’t? That is, let’s say it costs $100 to transport a person and a bag. Do you charge $85 assuming that there will be a bag or $100 assuming that there won’t? Tough to say.

    (Actual answer: you charge $70 because that’s what everyone else is charging on the route and then lose money)

  63. ffmariners says:

    @Kajj: @lincolnparadox: @billbillbillbill:

    uh… if you make it one ticket price then people like me are subsidizing you taking two bags when I only take a carry on… I don’t understand why the consumerist is so appalled at this? They could easily just increase all ticket prices for $25 but that distributes the burden evenly…. but we do not all cost the airline at an even burden. Guess I feel I should get cheaper rates when I do not cost as much as the person next to me.

    @basket548: Exactly. Funny that you are the most logical yet are labeled a “shill.”

    @ Anyone: We all agree the airlines are unsustainable, so they have to raise prices. Don’t like it? You have alternatives. You want to lower the cost of your next flight? Pack lighter, you don’t NEED your whole wardrobe.

  64. delphi_ote says:

    @basket548:
    Fair enough. But I have a crazy idea…

    TELL ME ABOUT THESE FEES BEFORE I BUY A TICKET!

    As things stand, this practice is completely dishonest. It is an intentional deception to shake down their customers for some extra cash once they’ve already purchased a ticket.

  65. Is there an entire industry that is as inefficient and mismanaged as poorly as the Airlines industry? I am saying no.

    I can’t think of a service industry that treats their customers worse.

  66. chiieddy says:

    Christ on a stick! This is getting ridiculous. I bought my AA tickets for June 28 back in December. We were going to ship most of our stuff ahead, now it’ll be all of it!

  67. kidgenius says:

    @basket548:

    Don’t worry, not everyone on here is a left-wing nut. I love how people complain about “record” profits. What exactly are “windfall” profits? Where’s the line? Is it a dollar value? Is it a percentage? Exxon only made 10% in profits last year. They took in $400bn in money, yet only had a profit of $40bn. If you had a company that did $500k in revenue, but you only profited $50k, should we tax the hell out of your “windfall” profits because you had made a 10% profit? Sorry to break it to the hippies, but 10% is not amazing performance. Honestly, the entire socialist..err…progressive(it sounds better ::rolls_eyes::) sect of this country is growing by the day and it’s getting absolutely ridiculous.

  68. Reminds of me the episode of South Park where Mr. Garrison creates “It”. Sure you have to stick a flexi-grip handle in your mouth and your anus, but it beats having to deal with the airline companies

  69. basket548 says:

    @delphi_ote:

    Absolutely. If the fees are not being grandfathered in, then that’s absolutely terrible business and customer service.

    …just checked. The new fees only go into effect for tickets purchased June 15 and beyond.

  70. EricaKane says:

    Start sending your luggage via Fed Ex Ground a few days before you fly!

  71. delphi_ote says:

    @kidgenius:
    Don’t you find it odd that you’re the only one talking about windfall profits. Maybe you could go find somewhere more appropriate to grind that ax?

  72. ffmariners says:

    @delphi_ote: Aren’t these fees posted on the company websites? And they obviously announce them very publicly… as seen by this news story.

    All you have to do is research which one would work best for your situation. Kind of like you would do when buying any other product or service.

  73. ffmariners says:

    @EricaKane: Lol at that bill. Cheaper to pay the luggage fees. Even with the discount I get from FedEx.

  74. tenners says:

    So if I’m paying $15 for my checked bag and it’s not there when I arrive, will I get my money back?

  75. @Leah: I agree Amtrak has positives, like less hassle and-especially if you have a sleeper-it’s a lot more fun and comfortable. On the other hand, they’re as unreliable as airlines, and it’s not exactly the most efficient way to get from where I live (Baltimore) to, say, LA or even Chicago.

  76. Geminijinx07 says:

    @tenners: LOL – wouldn’t that be sweet?

  77. kidgenius says:

    @delphi_ote:

    Actually, i’m not. basket548 was called out for being an oil company shill by landru and Crymson_77. oneTree mentioned profits first. notice how full.tang.halo’s post is almost identical to mine? I’m not the only one that is defending them. I’m not quite sure what point you are trying to make.

  78. delphi_ote says:

    It’s not clear at all from the article when or how they’ll be implementing this fee. ffmariners and basket548 are giving them the benefit of the doubt. Based on their history, I think that is very foolish.

  79. delphi_ote says:

    By “their history” I mean American Airlines’ history, not ffmariners and basket548.

  80. dmolavi says:

    pretty soon it’ll be cheaper to UPS or FedEx your stuff to your destination, than deal with all the fees.

  81. basket548 says:
  82. delphi_ote says:

    @kidgenius:
    profits != windfall profits

    You brought up windfall profits and the issue of taxing them. They weren’t being discussed here. You’re starting an argument with an imaginary foe.

  83. basket548 says:

    @delphi_ote:

    Haha, and thanks for clarifying…

  84. cyclade says:

    Standard behavioral economics being what they are, virtually all passengers are going to see the $15 fee and wind up jamming more stuff into carry on bags to avoid the charge because it’s a cost that they can see. So, if the argument is based on weight of what the plane is carrying, AA only stands to lose with folks bring bigger and heavier bags into the cabin to duck the surcharge. Raise the fare by $15 and few would blink, I bet. (And, AA would likely wind up “ahead” given that there are passengers that just aren’t carrying that much to begin with.)

    After flying pretty frequently during the last two years for work, I’ve come to conclude that carry-ons are the cause of so much delay and stress at the airport. Security screening with the silly gels/liquids requirement, the laptops in a separate bin rule, etc. are the first place where all of those carry-ons slow us down. Then, there’s the holdup during the boarding process when folks try to stuff their oversized bags into the overhead along with their second bag “personal item” which nobody wants under the seat in front of them (please get rid of that “personal item” rule, FAA! One small bag and that’s it, if anything. Stuff your purse into your bag, if you must). If everyone checked their bags, we’d all be through TSA’s nonsense and on the plane in no time.

  85. DeafChick says:

    Fuck that.

  86. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    @cyclade:

    If the airlines could that your checked baggage arrives to your destination at the same time that you do, then you might have a chance of seeing your dream come true.

  87. bonzombiekitty says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!: I don’t disagree that they will still raise rates across the board. It’s to be expected with higher gas prices.

    Just for easy to work with numbers, lets say that it takes a gallon of gas to fly the average person from point A to point B, and half a gallon of gas for the average checked bag. If gas prices go up, I should expect to pay the additional cost in sending me on that trip. But if I don’t check in any bags, why should I pay for part of the increased cost in carrying the bags of the guy sitting next to me?

    What would be sorta neat, but invasive and ultimately not functional but probably the most fair system, would be to charge by total weight. A much smaller base price for the seat and basic services, then you get charged an additional $x per lb of the total weight of you and your luggage. Skinny McBonypants doesn’t cost as much to carry as Fatty McGee.

  88. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    Whoops, forgot a word there…

    “If the airlines could guarantee…”

  89. delphi_ote says:

    Thanks for the link, basket548. Why this business of “on or after May 12, 2008″?

    I still think this practice is dishonest. Customers are going to buy tickets and get surprised by the fee at the counter. The fact that they have to pay it will be buried in pages of small text. Again, we don’t have any way of knowing how they’ll behave until they actually start charging the fee, but I think trusting them to do the right thing and prominently display this change in policy is foolish based on American Airlines’ history.

  90. Kajj says:

    @ffmariners: Well, usually people who complain about “burdens” and “why should I have to pay for YOU” are the same ones who crab about tax dollars educating other people’s children or putting out other people’s fires, so I’m disinclined to join their side of the issue on anything.

    Also, those people are often much more of a “burden” than they realize. You may not check bags (Neither do I, by the way. Not since Virgin shipped one of mine back with tire tracks on it.), but I’ll bet your sense of entitlement and uncharitable spirit make you a much bigger drain on the flight attendants and customer service personnel.

    I’m not opposed to the checked-bag fee because I check a lot of bags. I’m just opposed to hiding rate increases in a pile of fees. I’d just like the airlines to be upfront about it so I can plan accordingly.

    And just because this fee doesn’t affect you doesn’t mean the next one won’t. People here are complaining more about the practice than the specific charge.

  91. kidgenius says:

    @delphi_ote:
    Ok, since you seem to lack reading comprehension, I’ll spell it out clearly. Commenters began complaining, much before I did, that we need to tax oil companies profits. Now, if you’ve been listening to the news the last few weeks, people such as HRC have been tossing words around like “windfall” profits. So, excuse me for assuming that when someone (oneTee) mentions “record profits” and that being a problem. So, basket548 responded to oneTee, and he was then called a “shill” for the oil companies by two other posters. So, I’m defending basket548. I’m saying that the oil companies did NOT have “windfall” profits, or excessive profits, or whatever word you choose to use. Heck, look at the time stamps, and full.tang.halo made almost the exact same point as I, yet you are calling me out? Again, you are either lacking reading comprehension, or you are just choosing to stick your fingers in your ears and yell like many of the other progressives.

  92. danseuse322 says:

    Dear AA:

    Bye Bye.

  93. vitonfluorcarbon says:

    Great, now every idiot who already tries to cram a dead body into a carry-on will be stretching the limits to make our in-cabin experience even worse! They better inforce the carry on policy or I agoing elsewhere!

  94. kepler11 says:

    how is Fedexing a bag going to save you money? They incur exactly the same fuel costs — it’s not going to be much cheaper. In fact, to send a 30 pound bag across the country costs approximately $90. Even to send it by their ground service costs $25, and it takes a week.

    This is a new reality.

  95. ottergal says:

    I understand that as the cost of your supplies goes up the cost of your service should follow, that makes sense. What doesn’t make sense to me is to make up that increase by charging for something unrelated. It’s like going to the grocery store and saying that due to rising milk prices, shopping bags are now $25. And sure, you can bring your own, but they have to be made of hemp and purple and you can only use one of your own anyway.

    If the fuel prices are driving up the cost of a ticket by (average) $25/seat then increase your price $25/seat.

    My prediction is that everyone will try to pack in overnighters, overfilling the overhead bins. Then you will have to gate check your bag. For free. Because like hell I’d pay $25 to check a bag when I followed their rules and they can’t keep up with their end of the bargain.

    Of course, I just won’t fly with American… so it’s a moot point.

  96. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    My five-person team had all of our checked bags lost for eight days by British Airways during the Heathrow Terminal 5 debacle last month. None of us but me had brought an overnight bag, so we were meeting at the laundromat for a while. Nothing could persuade us to check bags again unless we had absolutely no choice. So you might think I don’t care about this American Airlines thing.

    Guess again. I’m pissed off. American loses my business and the business of anyone I can talk into not flying with them. At my company, we have a certain amount of choice who we prefer to fly with, and I’m exercising it and telling the travel agency.

  97. Jenng says:

    The new baggage fee will take effect June 15, as the U.S. summer travel season gets under way. It excludes some members of American’s frequent-flier program, travelers buying full-fare tickets and passengers on international flights.

  98. TheBigLewinski says:

    @coan_net:

    “Someday you will walk into the airport, and step onto a large scale along with everything you are bringing on the plane (all bags, clothes you are wearing, etc…) – then your “total weight” surcharge will be charged to you for the total weight of what you are bringing.”

    When this happens, I’ll be sure to take-a-crap before getting in line.

  99. cybercjh says:

    I think now that the airlines are charging for checked baggage, they’re basically saying that transporting you and your bags are two distinct and separate services. Therefore, if your bags do not arrive with you (they’re misrouted, lost, etc.), the remedy should be an immediate refund of the checked bag fee. Only seems fair.

  100. ffmariners says:

    @Kajj: You couldn’t be more off base in your assessment of me. I actually do a lot of charitable work and donate as well. And I also think we should increase spending on education. The differences are plentiful. Education actually benefits society (whether or not I am in the school).

    You having the ability to bring an extra twenty pairs of clothes for free has no value to anyone but yourself. It is SELFISH to expect to pay the same price as me when you cost more. And I don’t think I ask the online personnel for special treatment… unless asking for a water when they ask what kind of drink you want is special.

    In any other industry… le sigh…

  101. LUV2CattleCall says:

    Yet when Skybus (R.I.P.) charged for bags, food, etc, people cried.

  102. miran says:

    @kepler11: 25$ for ground service is not bad, when it’s insured and not opened by strangers. Sure beats 15$ and lost.
    For a trip that I’d actually check a bag (2 weeks or more), sending a bag via fedex or ups wouldn’t be bad at all. The problem is that as I’m going to Ireland this summer, I’d have to wait for my bag to clear customs before I get it in Donegal. Otherwise I’d be shipping directly to my landlord there.

  103. Lambasted says:

    @basket548: It’ a sad state of affairs when checking a bag is considered an “extra service”. Who knew I was being frivolous because I check my luggage–as I tend to travel with more than just a change of clothes and a toothbrush. But I guess clean underware is just for wealthy people who can afford all of these extra premium services.

    No doubt, as we are a society of lemmings, all the other airlines with the exception of Southwest will follow suit with their own “extra service” fees. But for now, I will avoid American Airlines like the plague and pray Southwest flies where I need to go. Southwest is the only decent airline left out of the greedy lot.

    The U.S should take a lesson from Europe and Japan about how effective and efficient train travel can be if widely implemented. We need high speed bullet trains crisscrossing this country as a viable alternative to air travel to keep the airlines in check. Maybe then luggage wouldn’t be considered a premium service.

    Amtrak shouldn’t underestimate the hatred people have for air travel nowadays. If Amtrak was smart (sadly they aren’t) it would capitalize on all this airline price gouging.

  104. Geekybiker says:

    This is a bad,bad, bad idea. People are just going to try to cram more and more into the overhead bins that already weren’t designed to handle the volume they get. Until every passenger has an in cabin assign spot in an overhead bin large enough to hold a roll aboard this fee is complete BS. Its going to make longer lines at security as people bring more through. Security will be slower since people will be trying to sneak stuff through and have to be searched more often, and it will lead to much anger and competition over bin space.

  105. Crymson_77 says:

    @basket548: I respectfully remove my earlier mention of you being a shill. Your arguments are coherent and fact filled. Sorry about that.

  106. Crymson_77 says:

    @Lambasted: Wholeheartedly agree on your Amtrak comment…if they weren’t run by the idiots that the government didn’t want in other departments, that would probably happen…you know, since the government doesn’t appear to know how to fire anyone…ever…

  107. chiieddy says:

    @Ash78: I’ve printed the current contract of carriage to contest this if they don’t.

  108. design_chick says:

    I just got back from my honeymoon where I had to fly AA from EWR to LAX (before continuing onto Australia). Anyway, I can’t believe that they force you to pay for food on that long of a flight! And if you want normal food, ie, a sandwich, it’s $10. We bought a can of Lays Stax because a whole can of those was only $3, by far the best deal. Our other option was a cheese plate for $5 that consisted of like 4 crackers and 2 cheese squares. WTF!

    Luckily, I had brought half of the sub I had for lunch so we shared that and our flight attendant gave us 2 warm cookies from first class since it was our honeymoon…. and champagne. At least she made it worthwhile.

  109. Crymson_77 says:

    @design_chick: You could always upgrade to Business or 1st class…those still get nice meals included…and probably the first bag too…

  110. Craig says:

    “The airline industry as it is constituted today was not built to withstand oil prices at $125 a barrel, and certainly not when record fuel expenses are coupled with a weak U.S. economy,” AMR Chairman and CEO Gerard Arpey said in a statement. “Our company and industry simply cannot afford to sit by hoping for industry and market conditions to improve.”

    Somebody call a wah-mbulance.

  111. kathyl says:

    Damn, this is part of why I avoid flying at all costs. Between the total loss of dignity going through security, juggling all of your things out of and back into their bags, people pawing through my alloted 3oz bottles of liquids, the nickel and diming of the airlines, the seats that barely leave leg room for a TODDLER and the utter lack of concern that any of their employees seem to have when you get inconvenienced or even plain old screwed over, and it’s just not worth the stress. It takes a trip of greater than 1,000 miles before I even consider buying a plane ticket. Bah.

  112. design_chick says:

    @Crymson_77:

    I’m not asking for a “nice” meal. I don’t mind if it is a crappy sandwich, just don’t make me pay $10 for it. Luckily, we never check our bags… we’re light packers.

  113. ViperBorg says:

    @The Count of Monte Fisto: Cheaper than that plane, I’ll tell ya that much.

  114. BigElectricCat says:

    How many times do I have to say it?

    FLY NAKED.

  115. enm4r says:

    Can they please start charging more for people who hang over my arm rest? I’ll that the $15 hit if I know they had to stand on a scale and be charged another $30 because they weight more than two of my checked bags and me combined.

  116. digitalgimpus says:

    So you buy a ticket you can’t refund (unless you pay extra)… then they jack up the price to actually use it.

    There’s got to be something illegal in there somewhere.

    On a sidenote: I think there are a couple of Amtrak employees lurking here. Amtrak police do indeed go through bags and screen passengers, it’s just more random than the airports, but it’s still done.

  117. choinski says:

    This is stupid. If the nickel and dime fees are meant to offset lost profits due to unexpected fuel increases, why not just have one fee – “Fuel is more expensive now fee” ? It would be more honest as to what the fee is about, offest a legitimate problem for the airlines, and underscore to the consumer fuel prices are the real issue. Fees for checking minimum luggage or reservation help make it appear those things are optional luxuries.

  118. Crymson_77 says:

    @digitalgimpus: I’d rather be checked rarely than be stripped search certainly…

  119. ChuckECheese says:

    @basket548: Ow! I skinned my knee on the astroturf!

    /astroturfer

  120. dcaslin says:

    @ottergal: You got it exactly right with the gate check issue. I fly all the time (though only Southwest recently, thank god) and, at least on SW, you’re kind of a jerk if you bring lots of large bags on and try to throw them in the overhead. They much prefer you to check your bags rather than deal with stuffing them in the overhead and deal with gate checking (that said, I am that jerk, I hate having my bags lost). So it seems that AA is setting up a pretty large economic incentive to make boarding their planes even more of a logistical pain. You’re going to have every jerk on the plane bringing his bag on, then fighting for overhead space and eventually gate checking. I can’t imagine they have a good system in place for charging for gate checking (plus, like you said, no one would stand for it). So, congratulations AA, thanks to this fee you’re going to have more late flights and fights with customers! Great idea!

  121. vladthepaler says:

    When I saw this, I scrolled up and voted for American.

  122. basket548 says:

    @ChuckECheese: Actually had to look up that term, never heard it before.

    Nope, just my opinion as someone who generally has a more economics-focused / corporate mindset. I like to pretend I’m a realist.

  123. humphrmi says:

    @basket548: You don’t get the point. They should find the FARE PRICE that prevents them from going bankrupt, charge that, and dispense with the stupid fees.

    Sheesh.

  124. Orv says:

    @Ash78: The FairTax would also screw over everyone who’s invested in a Roth IRA.

    @speedwell: Saw figures recently that showed British Airways loses more bags, on average, than the worst of the U.S.-based carriers. Pretty pathetic.

  125. krescendo says:

    Can we just let them go out of business instead of bailing them out? Let them compete like others have to and if they do… good riddance.

    I’m tired of being packed in like cattle, overbooked flights, flight attendants that are unresponsive or even rude.

    I once had an AA flight out of Columbus, OH once where the flight crew didn’t show up. WTF?

  126. captadam says:

    How long until we have a fee for carry-ons? And how long until wearing clothing costs extra? “Pants? Sir, those add weight! $10 fee!”

  127. Jnetty says:

    Anyone know if Jetblue has changed anything recently? I have 4 booked round trips with Jetblue in June.

  128. Comms says:

    Dear Big Airlines:

    I can’t wait till you all go bankrupt and leaner, better, smarter airlines come in to fill in the huge gaps your shitty, incompetent, companies have been incapable of filling. Unless of course the feds bail you out yet again like a bunch of welfare queens.

    Die in a fire,

    xoxoxoxox

    Comms

  129. Crymson_77 says:

    @Comms: You should have finished it like so:

    “Die in a fire with a stick up your ass so we can roast you like a marshmallow”

    :)

  130. basket548 says:

    @humphrmi:

    Oh, I get the point. The issue is that you’re defining fare price waaay differently than I am. I’m saying that fare includes transporting the person, period. You’re saying that fare price should include the person, his luggage, curbside check-in, a meal, and telephone customer assistance in booking (not trying to prattle on, but these are the things that airlines charge extra for).

    I contend that not everyone uses all these things, and hence airline pricing should reflect that.

    To see how it plays out, take two airlines, one with my policies, one with yours. When a consumer searches on kayak.com, they see both fares. Joe Sixpack will get all excited when he sees my lower fares, and hence book with me, even though it may end up costing him more with my method than with yours. Americans have by and large voted with their wallets on airfare, but now that the airlines offer essentially different products, consumers will have to become more educated about which airlines charge fees and for which services.

  131. Orv says:

    @basket548: Yeah, Internet price comparison sites encourage this sort of thing. Sort of like how the place with the cheapest price for anything on Pricewatch usually wants to charge you a $30 “handling fee.”

  132. fofy21 says:

    I wish the aggregate fare searchers (like Orbitz and Travelocity and the like) would start asking how many bags you’re checking along with all the other information at the beginning, and then when it comes up with all the flights and prices, it gives a true total price (including the flight price, the different bag fees, and all the taxes/surcharges).

    This way we can make an apple to apple comparision (and not get fooled that AA is $20 cheaper when with two bags it ends up being more expensive).

  133. TMurphy says:

    How about start making bags with one side made of aluminum, and the airlines start buying plane skeletons. They then pay you to use your aluminum-plated luggage to complete the hull of the aircraft. That way luggage is part of the weight of the aircraft itself, and not tagging along to eat fuel!

    Okay, so that idea is way too far out there for the airlines to actually use. I’ll be more realistic by making the airline charge you for the right to use your bag.

  134. capnpetch says:

    The problem with this is that it doesn’t mesh at all with the restriction on many items that can’t go on a carry-on. Basically, it’s a catch-22 in that it takes advantage of the security restrictions and makes you pay 15 bucks to take things that the federal government forbids from carrying on the plane.

    In other words, they are taking advantage of the security threat to make some extra cash. I think it is time for Congress to get involved.

  135. retiredone says:

    go ahead and ship your bags as suggested. Then the airport gestapo will have fun pulling you out of line and inserting fingers where fingers are not meant to go

  136. azntg says:

    Coming up next on Eyewitness News… an airline that charges for collecting and scanning tickets from you at the gate. Stay here and we’ll have more for you in just a moment.

  137. rellog says:

    @basket548: Ugghhhh…. Exxon is one of the companies speculating and driving up fuel prices. Add to that their refusal to build new refineries and that’s what they are making record profits.
    ‘Course I don’t mind too much. Americans are finally being forced to conserve. Wow, what a concept…

    Though I’d like to see all that money doing something more productive than funding oil companies CEO compensations… I say tax the hell out of the oil companies and anyone working in them… and put it toward paying down the deficit and paying for the war that is making them rich…

  138. trujunglist says:

    @kidgenius:

    I dunno, I’d take 1% of $40 billion and not complain a bit if the government took the other 99%. Then again, I’m not a multi-billion dollar company that needs to pay R&D costs for… drilling.. err, I mean.. cleaning up… err I mean, polluting? Wait, wtf do they do that benefits anyone?

  139. Jesse says:

    I can see a charge for oversized luggage or people who feel the need to bring 8 suitcases. However, being charged extra for the suitcase that each ticket holder takes is excessive.

  140. overbysara says:

    I don’t have a problem with charges for oversized or excess luggage… but the FIRST CHECKED BAG??? the reason I check a bag is to make life easier for everyone I’m boarding with by not needing to find empty compartment space and hold up the line. goodbye american airlines.

  141. humphrmi says:

    @basket548:

    You’re saying that fare price should include the person, his luggage, curbside check-in, a meal, and telephone customer assistance in booking

    I said no such thing. Please go back and read my post. I’ll thank you to not put words in my mouth.

  142. basket548 says:

    @humphrmi:
    But you also don’t want any fees…I don’t see how that’s different. What does your fare price include, then?

  143. Birki says:

    Does AA have self-check-in at the counter? If so, will I need to stand in another line to pay the $15 per bag? Self check-in is often timesaving and hassle-free but it won’t be if the baggage handlers have to collect the fee from all passengers checking bags. And if I check in at home via computer, will I then have to stand in line at the counter to pay for the baggage?
    AA – just raise the cost of each ticket by $15 instead of adding to the hassle and labor at the counter.

  144. basket548 says:

    @rellog:

    I agree with you that more of oil companies’ revenue should go toward construction and R&D.

    However, Exxon clearly is not speculating themselves, as they are selling the oil. Can’t sell something to yourself.

  145. Crymson_77 says:

    @capnpetch: I think that is an incredibly astute point…this might fall under usury laws…

  146. Crymson_77 says:

    @basket548: Don’t be so sure of that…worst things have been done in the commodities markets…

  147. Lambasted says:

    Am I the only one who cannot access Page 2 of the comments? It kicks me to a results page for posts with “Fees” tags

  148. joellevand says:

    Meh, I haven’t flown AA in years, after they twice stranded me in DFW by delaying my inbound flight so that it arrives as the connecting flight is departing, then they say it’s not their fault I missed the flight, as the connection was technically still on the ground when my flight arrived.

    Fucking bastards. Go out of business already!

  149. mshbnyehud says:

    Even though I am an elite member of AAdvantage, I hate this change. Why?

    1) Family members who are not traveling on the same record locator as me will be charged for luggage checked.
    2. More passengers will now attempt to carry-on their luggage, causing further departure delays, clogged overheads, heated exchanges with flight attendants on board flights where luggage must be checked at the gate (do they pay $15 or don’t they pay?)
    3. Slower check-in process (even though I get to check-in at the First Class line) because more personnel will be needed as gate agents to process the extra $15 baggage fee; and
    4. More passengers choosing other carriers instead of AA (as a result of this policy change) thereby causing AA to reduce domestic flight choices for loyal customers like me. This checked baggage policy announcement is wrong-headed. Why not just raise ALL FARES by $15 each way?

    I can’t wait for the next policy announcement…..

  150. basket548 says:

    @Crymson_77:

    Haha, true. But certainly not legally. And if Exxon is running the tape on oil, I’m all for every kind of punishment to be thrown at them.

  151. pshah says:

    @basket548: Thats the spirit… let the country goto hell, But as long as you have a fund with companies that are run by greedy bastards (oil company CEOs) you are all set !! whooo hooo !
    “Record profits have already been spurring more development of harder to reach oil,” as opposed to researching alternatives since oil is sooo profitable and what is their incentive to stop??? schmuck

  152. pshah says:

    @rellog: ditto… put the ceo’s behind bars for crippling this country’s economy

  153. humphrmi says:

    @basket548: You’re still having trouble reading my post, so I’ll re-iterate it here:

    dispense with the stupid fees

    The STUPID fees are:

    - Fees to book a ticket. Their business does not run without people booking tickets.

    - “Fuel Surcharge”. Their business does not run without fuel; the cost of fuel should be included in the fare.

    - Baggage fees (especially for one bag). I’m sorry but just because you don’t check check bags doesn’t mean that others should pay. The concept of getting leisure travelers with a reasonable amount of luggage to their vacation destination has been a basic premise of air travel for decades.

    Basically any fee that is an inherent component of the airline running their business with customers is stupid.

    Fine, they want to charge me for a meal – whatever, food costs money. And checking bags at the curb? HAH! Guess who’s complaining about that fee! Not the customers, that’s for sure. I could care less about that one. It’s the skycaps, who used to take home as much money per year as pilots, and now find their tips are affected by another undisclosed fee.

    To be quite honest, the airlines could be smart about fees. There are times I would pay cold, hard cash to skip to the VIP security line even though I’m flying coach. There are times I would pay extra to be on a flight that turns off the cabin lights as soon as the plane reaches cruising over O’Hare and doesn’t turn them back on until they are right on top of Heathrow. If the airlines could get their heads out of their butts and figure out how to offer more value, they could earn a fortune.

  154. u1itn0w2day says:

    Just call it a fuel charge for goodness sake.Don’t disguise it,don’t pretend it’s something else just call it for what it is-a fuel charge,a we want to make a profit charge.Baggage charge my butt.

    What kills me you wind up eating that fee even if you don’t check a bag for now at the destination you’ll wind up buying the stuff you could’ve packed in the past.And when you go back your faced with the same decision;do I leave this stuff,throw it out,give it away or pay the bag fee?.

  155. basket548 says:

    @humphrmi:

    I can read your post, just didn’t know what you meant by stupid fees, and I made a poor assumption by thinking that you meant all fees. Thanks for spelling them out. I think that the only thing that the airlines are claiming is inherent in their business is getting a person from A to B. They’re definitely moving toward a model of charging for everything else, ‘basic premises’ of air travel be damned.

    I agree that consumers have been led to expect a certain product for booking a ticket, and now we have to modify our expectations. However, until people start realizing that they need to factor in all costs when searching for flights online, the airlines want the ‘fare’ to be as low as possible.

    Do any airlines even add a fuel surcharge? I’ve never seen one, but fuel prices have been the stimulus for several recent rounds of price increases.

  156. czarandy says:

    Great. I don’t see why I should subsidize those who travel with bags when I never do it.

  157. Geminijinx07 says:

    Thinking about it more and more, I’m not all that opposed to these kinds of fees but I think they’re a bit steep in themselves. $15 for 1 checked bag? Where did that number come from? Would people object so much if it was $5?

  158. B Tex says:

    I’m sorry to say I worked for AA for 7 years. What a crooked company. It’s pretty bad that a common aircraft fueler can work his way up to become a managing director of aircraft maintenance not based on skill, but his sucking ass abilities. Mark Romanelli and Troy Sokolowski both are simple foul mouthed losers who eventualy screwed up and got what they desivered….fired for embezzelment. But a company that values ass kissing over actual skills…can only go one direction, crashing down like the planes they maintain.

  159. mparlett says:

    Has anyone mentioned that these fees are per flight? So you can plan to double them for round trip…

  160. ThePlaz says:

    @RandomHookup: No you got it wrong. You have to buy the token from an automatic machine at the terminal. There is a $5 surcharge from buying it from a flight attendant (even if the machine is out of order). [Thanks Septa for that idea!]

  161. SuvarnaGauze says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!:
    Bingo. Here’s the Reader’s Digest version.
    The following fees will increase effective Wednesday, May 21st:

    * Oversized bags – changing from $100 to $150
    * Domestic Ticket Change Fee – From $100 to $150
    * International Ticket Change Fee – from $100 – $200 to $150 -
    $250
    * Reservations Service Fee – from $15 to $20
    * AAdvantage Award Ticket Fee – from $15 to $20
    * External Reservation Handling fee – from $15 to $20
    * Airport Service Fee – from $20 to $30
    * Travel Center Service Fee – from $20 to $30
    * Pet In Cabin Fee – from $80 to $100
    * Checked Pet Fee – from $100 to $150
    * Unaccompanied Minor Fee – from $75 to $100