American’s charging for the FIRST checked bag
May 21, 2008
This is a bit more outrageous than the skyrocketing ticket prices, and the charge for an additional checked bag: American Airlines plans to start charging $15 for the first checked bag on June 15th. The free preview blurb on WSJ states that the fee applies to “some fliers” but as I can’t read the whole article, I don’t know which statement is more accurate. Now, I can understand limiting the additional checked bag: reducing that much extra weight, or receiving some compensation for it to offset the costs of gas makes sense. They’ve got to be able to do business, after all.
But, charging for the first checked bag? What’s next, carry-ons? They should understand that their cost-cutting measures will soon reach the point of diminishing returns. In an informal poll, more than half of the poll takers indicate they’d rather stop checking bags than pay the fee. And in a lot of cases, that’d be my reaction. But for long distance flights where not checking a bag isn’t an option? I just won’t even fly American. And if they start losing passengers, if they’re flying more seats than people because it’s not worth it to pay an extra $40 ($15 for the first, $25 for the second) for checking two bags, that rather defeats the purpose of cutting costs and increasing revenue, doesn’t it?
Perhaps my reaction is a little extreme. After all, if the ticket prices are low enough to stay competitive, even taking the checked bag fee into consideration, perhaps this isn’t a bad move on American’s part. It is in line with the trend towards a la carte services that most airlines have taken with food and other amenities.
What do you think? Will you continue to fly this airline, and if so, would you pay to check your bags or will you become a super-carry-on packer?