Two airlines hike bag fees

January 12, 2010 4:01:42 PM PST
Flying just got a little more expensive, thanks to another increase in baggage fees. Delta announced a bag fee hike on Monday and now Continental Airlines is matching those new fees. It's going to cost you $25 for your first checked bag if you are flying Delta or Continental and it's possible other airlines may follow suit.

Bag fees are not exactly popular with the flying public.

"Of course everyone liked it better when it is free. I checked online and thought it said first bag free, but had to pay $20 coming and $20 now," said Elaine Fleming, who was traveling to Orlando.

Starting Saturday, the fees will go up for Continental Airlines passengers. Continental is joining Delta in raising the checked bag fees. Passengers checking one bag on Continental and Delta will have to pay $25 each way, the second bag costs $35 each way.

The extra bag fees are an added burden for families. The Aderinoye family is checking three bags. The new fees will add $75 to each leg of their trip, that's $150 added to the ticket purchase price.

"The price increase is very ridiculous because of the economy. We're going through a recession," said traveler Mutiu Aderinoye.

Industry experts say the added fees will help the airlines turn a profit in 2010. The new baggage fees apply to travel within the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. For some travelers it's enough to have them rethink flying altogether, even those coming all the way from Washington, D.C.

"I was going to drive down here on vacation, but got short notice of a business requirement and ended up having to fly, otherwise I would have been driving," said traveler Redmon Handy.

Travelers can get a discount by paying for their checked bags on line. If you pay online the first bag fee is $23, the second bag fee is $32, but those are still among the highest fees in the business.

The bag fees do not apply to first-class passengers or those in frequent flyer programs. You can also get an airline sponsored credit card that lets you wave the baggage fee, but there are annual fees. However those annual fees could pay for themselves in one trip, so it may be something worth looking into.