United Airlines Is Hiking Fees For A Second Checked Bag On International Flights

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Photo: Flickr / j3net

Chicago-based United Airlines has again raised the fee it charges for a second checked bag on trans-Atlantic flights, this time from $70 to $100.The move, which began June 1, comes despite falling jet-fuel prices and “increasing scepticism surrounding the [European Union] economic outlook,” noted airline analyst Hunter Keay, a Wolfe Trahan & Co analyst, in a report.

With the increase, United matches a January fee hike by Delta Air Lines, which raised the same fee from $75 to $100, or to $80 with online check-in, Keay noted.

“This change reflects an increase in costs associated with carrying bags, such as fuel and handling,” United said in a statement.

A year ago, United raise the fee — which applies to the second checked bag on U.S. flights to Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India — from $50 to $70.

Additional profit from the fee should be “modest,” with a revenue increase of about $30 million, according to Keay, who also notes that such bag fees tend to be levied on leisure travellers, without premier status.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see American Airlines and US Airways raise the same fee “in the near future,” Keay wrote. Those airlines currently charge $60 and $70, respectively, for the same checked bag.

Maybe more important, the increase might signal future fees for a first checked bag on trans-Atlantic routes, he said. Airlines typically don’t charge for that now.

Industrywide, passengers have been paying less in bag fees in recent years. However, that’s more likely due to “passengers modifying their behaviour than anything else,” he wrote.

Also on June 1, United lowered its fee for a second checked bag on Micronesia routes from $70 to $40.

See a breakdown of United Airlines baggage fees.

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