US Airways Raising Bag Fees By $5 On Most Flights

Providing that you check your bags online at least one hour before your flight, US Airways says it will begin charging $20, instead of $15, for the first checked bag and $30, instead of $25, for the second. Those who choose to check bags at the airport can expect $25 for the first and $35 for the second, an increase of $5 per bag.

Elite frequent fliers, first-class passengers, and active-duty military personnel are exempt from the fees.

Here’s a lovely chart they have provided for your edification.


Baggage policy [US Airways]
(Photo:balmes)

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  1. bendee says:

    Jeebus, those bag fees are really getting up there.

    Once again it shows why I love the hell out of Southwest.

    • emilymarion333 says:

      @bendee: – totally agree with you! I really do not mind if my flight is an hour longer is I am saving $55 each way in in luggage fees!

      I travel to trade shows so I always have tons of luggage with me.

  2. Coles_Law says:

    Is it sad that my first reaction was “Good! It’s only going up by $5!” Sigh. Yay, Southwest.

  3. Sheogorath says:

    I flew on Continental a few weeks ago, and we were the only ones that checked bags.

    Seriously. We went down to the baggage claim and nobody was there. The belt came on and a grand total of two bags came out.

    I thanked the loaders through the flaps.

    • nybiker says:

      @Sheogorath: Ok, I’ll be the one to ask/comment: I realize that unless it really was just you 2 and the crew it is unusual, but how many people would you guess were on the plane? 10? 20? 100? Because once you start getting into the higher double digits, then you’re talking real unusual.

  4. slyabney says:

    I just bought a ticket with them knowing this for the holiday season. Even with the bag fee I saved $20 over the closest ticket. And almost $70 over another airline that was flying close to the same time.

    I still hate paying this stupid fee though.

  5. Shoelace says:

    Wonder when the bag fees will catch up with the ticket prices? If the fees get high enough are the airlines going to start limiting how much clothing people are allowed to wear on the plane?

    Heavy clothing fee. Excess clothing fee. Non-checked bag fee. Unessential items in cabin fee.

    Unless there’s an actual ocean between me and my destination I’d really rather drive now. It’ll cost me in other ways, but I won’t be paying bullshit baggage fees and I’ll know my bags will actually get to my destination when I do.

  6. BridgetPentheus says:

    I’m curious about the international/transatlantic fee isn’t that governed by more than a single US airline to change rules/fees? It’s very disconcerting especially since after 9/11 the Post Office discontinued sea mail and for those of us who move/have extended stays abroad what affordable alternatives are left? To buy everything new (or used) and then have to leave it each time, isn’t that just as much as an environmental damage, should the airlines then be required to recycle my stuff?

    • kepler11 says:

      @BridgetPentheus:
      You’re allowed 50 pounds of stuff in your 1st bag for no charge. Is that not enough? If you’re going for long term stays abroad or permanent moves — then maybe the airline wants you to think about whether there are more economical ways to ship your stuff. Besides, if you’re moving long term, is $50 too much to pay for an extra 50 pounds of stuff in your 2nd bag?

    • floraposte says:

      @BridgetPentheus: There are lots of ways to bring stuff abroad other than as checked baggage (see [www.avatar-moving.com] for some discussion).

    • oneandone says:

      @BridgetPentheus: I’m concerned about this as well. I always thought international flights had to provide 2 checked bags per person. $100 for a third isn’t unreasonable (or unprecedented), so that’s nothing new. But charging for the second is disconcerting.

      @kepler11: Some international travellers are expats visiting families back home, sometimes bringing large quantities of gifts and other items you can’t find too easily in the old country. Maybe those things should be shipped, when you’re faced with unreliable mail and shady customs practices, you develop a habit of shlepping 50 lbs worth of DVDs, makeup, crunchy peanut butter, and whatever else you know makes your relatives happy.

      There are also tourists who come to the U.S. to shop – the ‘empty suitcase’ crowd. Pack whatever you need for the trip in one suitcase, place that in another suitcase, and once you reach your destination, shop until you fill that redundant suitcase. Perhaps the people who drop a couple hundred dollars on clothes, electronics, and whatever else they buy won’t care about $50/person, but I wouldn’t be suprised if it caused significant grumbles.

      OTOH, that kind of tourist is probably less common now – and may never have flown US Airways in the first place.

      • floraposte says:

        @oneandone: I’ve never heard this “had to allow bags” theory–are you saying your impression was that this was some FAA or trade regulation? Seems odd and unlikely to me, but then some odd and unlikely things do end up required.

  7. Vandelay Import Export says:

    Seems like yet another reason to not fly this bunch of goniffs. Really these legacy carriers deserve to go out of business if they keep up with this.

  8. H3ion says:

    These fees will just keep on coming unless people vote with their feet. We no longer fly anywhere I can drive in less than ten hours. (Actually, it’s a lot less expensive and a lot more pleasant than flying, particularly if you have two or more people in the car.) Only when the airlines find that their customers have vanished, and they’re flying planes not only without checked baggage but also without passengers, will this nickel and dime stuff stop. The airlines are making billions from these fees and they’re not going to stop.

    • nybiker says:

      @H3ion: Sounds good to me. Now only if I was employed and had the money to have a car and go somewhere, I’d be planning my driving vacation.

    • baquwards says:

      @H3ion: I go by that rule now. If I can drive there in a day, I’m not flyin’.

      • H3ion says:

        @baquwards: When our children were college age we made all three the same deal. We would pay for any school they could get into provided we could drive there in one day. I defined “day” as 16 hours behind the wheel. Even then I wasn’t having anything to do with the airlines that I didn’t have to, and I was flying then at least once a week domestically and once a month internationally. All three decided to go to schools in the Mid-West but now live on the East Coast.

  9. star-d says:

    The airlines have these fees totally backwards. If they were smart, they would charge for carry-on bags (other than the personal item), and not charge for the first checked bag. That would help reduce the long delays in boarding, and the fee would end up being paid by business travelers who expedite their arrival by not checking in bags, instead of casual travelers trying to save a buck.

    There have been plenty of times where I’ve carried on a bag onto a United flight, only to have it checked in because the overhead bins are full. And they don’t charge in those circumstances.

    • MisterE says:

      @star-d:

      There you go giving them ideas to charge a fee for carry-on bags. These fees start next week!

    • scoosdad says:

      @star-d: I’d immediately switch my allegiance to any airline that changes to this model.

      But the difficulty with your scheme is the so-called “personal item”. How would that be defined and how does that differ from any other kind of carry on? Loophole…. “hey, this guitar case is a very personal item!”

  10. valkyrievf2x says:

    Well, seems like eventually they are gonna lose all business relating to the checked luggage. So far:
    -lost luggage is fairly common
    -can’t lock your stuff so that TSA or whomever can check it
    -stuff gets stolen and rifled through frequently
    -if stuff is stolen or damaged, no one accepts responsibility
    –to top it off, you are paying THEM for the privilege of being potential victims of theft. And this fee keeps getting bigger and bigger.

    Seems a bit like an unsustainable business model…

    • nybiker says:

      @valkyrievf2x: As for the locking your stuff problem, buy & declare a flare gun and you’ll have your stuff examined with you there and then never opened again without you being present (since you’ll have your own keys for it). Somebody posted a video link here about what he does for the shows he goes to and I have to say I was impressed. I watched the whole thing.

      • SarcasticDwarf says:

        @nybiker: Sortof. You have to have a firearm (or flare gun) in a locked case (non-tsa lock). Now, you can place that inside your larger bag, but your outside bag MUST have the usual tsa locks…so it is really not any more secure.

    • Shoelace says:

      @valkyrievf2x: When the theft and loss become bad enough I’ll be watching for the airlines to offer some kind of extra ‘insurance’. Baggage of passengers who choose to pay the protection money will be handled separately and tend to arrive unscathed.

  11. kepler11 says:

    enough with the “I’m going to fly Southwest” idiocy in response to stories like this (which are themselves a little bit pointless).

    Flying Southwest will not fix the legacy carriers because somehow the lack of your business got them to change. There is a structural difference between airlines like Southwest/Frontier/Jetblue, and American/United/Delta, etc. And if you don’t realize what that means, then please learn a bit more about the airline industry before you ask why American/USAir can’t be more like Southwest.

    Southwest cannot fly you to London. Southwest cannot fly you to Tokyo. And I don’t just mean because they don’t fly there right now. I mean that if they tried to do this with their friendly, fewer-fees, no-frills business model, they would fail. They would quickly realize that the high costs of flying long-haul to many destinations fed by a hub-spoke network require (yes, require) extracting every single possible dollar out of passengers who can afford it. That you have to charge change fees, baggage fees which no one until now was ready to pay, booking fees, just to stay alive.

    I’m not excusing the majors for providing surly “service”, fees up the wazoo, and high prices — those are partly the legacy of the labor market for airliens. But you might realize that there is a structural reason that all the major airlines charge the fees that they do, and have the fares they do. It’s not because they want to be crappy — smart people have tried to fix the legacies, and do you think that not a single major could come up with a way to avoid charging baggage fees? Are they so stupid that they couldn’t figure it out? No, it’s because they have to do it.

    The major airlines in the US are not going to be fixed just by you flying Southwest, or “voting with your feet”. The best thing that could happen is for one or two of the majors to consolidate (yes, that means higher fares in the short run, consumers), and entry of new carriers prohibited, so that airlines could build up some reserves to operate comfortably, and bring back the service that will make you happy in the long run.

    • nybiker says:

      @kepler11: I’m not questioning your points, but I was wondering: what are ‘airliens’? :-)

      • knackeredmom says:

        @nybiker: Airliens will be what airlines take out on your house or vehicle so that they can be assured of full payment of all their fees: baggage fee, loan application fee, recorder’s fee, notary fee, payment of fee fee.
        /snark

    • knackeredmom says:

      @kepler11: I don’t think that the point of those who say they’ll fly Southwest instead is to teach legacy carriers a lesson. It’s a matter of personal economics. Perhaps it is better stated as, “When a Southwest flight is available, I’ll take it instead of being nickeled and dimed by US Air.” You are correct that SW cannot fly everywhere that legacies fly, but for domestic travel SW is a fairly common option.

      • supercereal says:

        @knackeredmom:

        When a Southwest flight is available, I’ll take it instead of being nickeled and dimed by US Air.

        On all non-business flights I’ve needed, I’ve always gone with the cheapest airline, regardless of which one it is. In virtually every case, that choice wasn’t Southwest because they were always more expensive (by a fair margin). Personally, I won’t start complaining about baggage fees until they start bringing the cost of the non-Southwest flight up significantly.

    • Psychicsword says:

      @kepler11: When I say that I will fly Jet Blue or south west, it does mean a lost customer for US Airlines. I used to take US Airlines from Rochester NY to Boston, MA because they have the only nonstop. Now I will go Jet Blue because it is worth the layover and extra 15 minutes for total flight time.

    • jamar0303 says:

      @kepler11: But the difference is that on int’l routes you have international airlines with better service than US-based airlines competing. Can’t fly Southwest to Tokyo but you can take JAL. Better-looking and nicer flight attendants, not to mention airplane food that’s actually palatable. Virgin Atlantic for trips to London (and if the legacies, or rather, their lobbyists, were out of the picture they’d have full integration with Virgin America too). Same thing. Didn’t I even show that in the case of JAL they even turn up cheaper and better for domestic trips of comparable distance? I’d be 100% happy if AA went bankrupt and JAL (heck, any European/Asian airline, I’m that tired of crap service) picked up the remains, stupid protectionist US airline ownership regulations notwithstanding.

    • MisterE says:

      @kepler11:

      Too bad the management wont get the idea until they file for bankruptcy protection because of declining revenue as a result of people voting with their feet. Common sense be damned.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @kepler11: You sound like someone else I know.

      “Southwest is a substandard carrier with no growth potential. It will never be a threat and it is not worth our resources to acknowledge their existence.” – Bob Crandall, former CEO, American Airlines, to an investor asking how they plan on handling their nearby competitor.

  12. Crabby Cakes says:

    The just steels my resolve to cram all my stuff into my carry-on suitcase. I’ll be packing quite a bit less for my trans-continental flight in 2 weeks!

  13. chaitea says:

    My dad’s in Sarasota, so USAir is the only way for me to fly direct, non-stop from DC. I’ve been lucky with their prices, but boy am I glad put off buying my ticket until after I could take advantage of the recent Morning Deal of a free trial of Silver Preferred status for 90 days: [www.bestfares.com] (Free upgrades, baggage fees waived, etc.)

  14. fs2k2isfun says:

    Just fly 25,000 miles or 30 segments a year on one alliance, its really not that difficult, especially if you are in a non-hub city.

  15. dohtem says:

    How are international carriers dealing with baggage? Are they increasing their fees as well?

    • Jevia says:

      @dohtem: To my knowledge, at least for European airlines, they’re “bad socialists” where the airline is at least partly subsidized by the government, so they provide such things as meals for 1 hour flights, free bags, toys for kids, etc.

  16. thebluepill says:

    Do like I do.. Carry an over-sized Carry-On Bag, stuffed to the gills.. If they cant fit it in the overhead, they will tag it and put it in the cargo hold for free..

    Added bonus, its with you on the flight and you get it at the gate at the end of the flight..

    • farcedude says:

      @thebluepill: I tried that once, but I felt like ‘that guy’, the one who is holding up the entire line trying to get his obviously too-big bag in the overhead space, and who then has to drag it all the way back down the aisle to the front to get it gate-checked when it won’t fit. Not saying that that’s what you’re like, but that’s what I felt like.

      • SarcasticDwarf says:

        @farcedude: Just ask at the desk for a gate check tag and they can give it to you beforehand. So many people bring oversize bags (or there are too many for the cabin) that they always allow you to gate check it BEFORE you get on the plane.

      • shepd says:

        @farcedude:

        There’s no such thing as “that guy” when significant fees are involved. If someone complained or even sneered at me, I’d ask them if they’d like to pay my baggage fees. You don’t? You mean you’re just sore I figured out how to game the system? Oh.

      • TheWillow says:

        @shepd: yes there is that guy, and I hate that guy. I’m not sore you figured out how to game the system- it’s not that hard to figure out. I’m sore that you feel saving yourself a few bucks is SO MUCH MORE important than me making my connection. Just pack less.

        Your actions affect other human beings. It drives me crazy that no one seems to realize that or care anymore.

  17. squikysquiken says:

    Charging on the second for international flights, that’s a first, isn’t it ?

  18. HiPwr says:

    At what point is it cheaper to send it FedEx or UPS?

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @HiPwr: fedex and UPS are both slower than carrying it with you.
      it might be cheaper on the 3rd bag, but remember that each bag has its own maximum weight limit (50 lbs, iirc)
      if you send a 50 lb bag from CLT to TPA, via second-day air saturday delivery, it would cost $95. 2nd day air (for monday deliv.) is $79.77. UPS Ground (also end-of-day monday) is $26.77
      it really depends on how important the stuff you have with you is, how long a trip you’ll be on, how far the trip is… whether or not the hotel you want to stay at will accept a package on your behalf if you aren’t there… or if your friend/relative will keep a 50-lb box for a day before you get there

  19. Trance1861 says:

    @Psychicsword: “Now I will go Jet Blue because it is worth the layover and extra 15 minutes for total flight time. “

    Seriously? It’s a little over an hour to fly directly from Rochester to Boston. Jetblue’s nondirect flights take 4 hours.

    So, saving the $35 baggage fee is worth 3 hours of your time?

    • seamer says:

      @Trance1861: $35 is more than some people earn in 3 hours, so I would say it’s worth a crappy layover.

    • TheWillow says:

      @Trance1861: Last week, I flew from JFK to Rochester and then Rochester to Dulles (with a layover at JFK) for ~190 (after fees).

      Cheapest non-stops were from Delta for ~400 (before fees).

      Yeah, $200 for an extra 2 hours is completely worth it to me.

  20. Jevia says:

    I’m just glad that at least when my family travels to France to visit family this Christmas, we get a bag for each kid. So we get 4 bags for all of us, even though our toddler doesn’t really need her own bag. We’ll be able to bring 4 moderately filled suitcases (or maybe 3 suitcases with an extra bag-type case packed inside another suitcase) that will leave enough room to bring back presents without having to use

  21. dvdchris says:

    US Air can go to hell

  22. subtlefrog says:

    Am I the only one not edified by the chart?

  23. LafinJack says:

    What about transpacific flights, or do they only go east of the US?

  24. dougp26364 says:

    I’m learning fast to travel with only carry on luggage, even if it has to be gate checked. Doing laundry can be a pain but, at $40 RT per person or $80 per flight for the wife and myself, I think I can spend a little time washing a few clothes.

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      @dougp26364: Woolite works very well and comes in little travel-size bottles, or you could decant it into a TSA bottle. Also works if you run out of regular detergent at home, like I did last night. :P

  25. RedwoodFlyer says:

    @supercereal: Are you comparing a fully refundable ticket with the Southwest ticket? Because Southwest let’s you cancel any flight on any fare for no penalty.

  26. maggiethecat says:

    Flew for the first time on US Airways last week to SF. Paid the $15 in advance but was sweating it because I was borderline at almost 50 pounds for suitcase. I’m not promising anything but they totally did not weigh my bag on either end of the trip. As opposed to when I have to fly Delta (ugh), US Airways was seriously on time or even a wee bit early. No pretzels, no refills, but no bullshit either.