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Alaska Airlines Follows the Competition, Raises Checked Bag Fees

Alaska Airlines

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Following the lead of their bigger competition, Alaska Airlines is raising the price of checking a bag from $25 to $30 starting in December.

It’s no surprise, as Alaska is late in the game with these fee increases other airlines made this summer. First it was JetBlue, who made the same increase in August along with a fee increase for a second checked bag. United followed suit soon after. Delta and American eventually did the same, too.

Alaska unveiled its own increase Friday, October 19 increasing the charge for a first checked bag from $25 to $30. A second bag is now $40 – up from $25.

These larger fees take hold for bookings made after Dec. 5. Alaska is also raising the price for overweight baggage from $75 to $100.

 

Our Analysis

Airlines’ follow each other’s lead, and that’s what we’re seeing here. Airlines love to make more money on fees, but tight competition makes them scared to be the first mover. JetBlue made the first move, giving their competition a permission slip to follow suit.

Among the big U.S. carriers, only Southwest includes checked luggage for free, as you get two bags with each ticket. Those free bags are integral to Southwest’s image, so don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

While an extra $5 each way may not be the end of the world, it’s still a pain. That’s why we tell flyers to pick up the co-branded credit card of the airline you fly. With few exceptions, these cards will cover the cost of a checked bag for you and several companions.

In Alaska’s case, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card gets a free checked bag for you and up to six companions on the same reservation. And luckily, it’s one of the airlines that doesn’t require you to use the card to get a free bag. Just having the card attached to your frequent flyer account is enough. Then again, you could follow our advice and fly only with a carry-on.

To learn more about these cards, visit the airline credit cards section of our Top Credit Cards page.

 

Bottom Line

Frankly, we’re surprised it took Alaska so long to follow suit with some baggage fee increases. And while it’s not shocking, it’s still a bummer for frequent Alaska flyers.

 

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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