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American Follows Alaska’s Lead, Raises Bag Fees

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Just months after Alaska Airlines became the first major U.S. airline to increase luggage fees across the board in more than five years, another airline has followed suit.

As of Tuesday, American Airlines has raised the cost of checking a bag on domestic flights from $30 each way to $40, although you can save $5 by paying online in advance, according to American's website. A second checked bag will now cost you $45, up from $40. It's the first time since 2018 that the airline has increased its baggage fees.

Flying to Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, or Guyana? Your first and second checked bags will now cost $35 and $45 respectively, a $5 increase for most of those destinations.

 

American Airlines new checked bag policy 

American is also upping the fee for bringing a pet onboard, from $125 to now $150 each way.

These new, higher baggage fees only apply to tickets booked on Feb. 20 and onward. If you bought your flight on Feb. 19 or earlier, you'll still pay the slightly lower rate for any bags you check.

Read our guide to American Airlines baggage fees – and how you can avoid them! 

After Alaska announced late last year it was raising bag fees in 2024, it was only a matter of time before other airlines did the same. JetBlue appears to have quietly raised its baggage fees, too, as first flagged by The Points Guy. As of Feb. 1, the airline is now charging $45 to check a bag each way, although you'll save that extra $10 by adding a bag to your flight in advance. That makes three U.S. airlines that now charge at least $35 for a bag on domestic flights no matter what.

While an extra $5 per bag may not seem like much, luggage fees are big business. U.S. airlines collected nearly $7 billion (with a b) on bag fees alone in 2022 … and they were on track to shatter that record in 2023.

 

us baggage fees chart

 

American flyers can avoid paying higher bag fees altogether by holding a co-branded AA credit card like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® or the Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite MastercardYou don't even need to pay for the flights with your card, simply holding it is enough to get free checked bags for you and up to four others on your reservation.

Unfortunately, this benefit only applies to domestic flights. Unlike other airlines that offer free baggage benefits to their co-branded credit cardholders, you won't always get a free bag heading to Mexico, the Caribbean, or Europe.

There's an even easier way: Pack in just a carry-on bag. Even the cheapest American basic economy tickets allow you to stow a carry-on overhead for free.

 

Bottom Line

American Airlines is following Alaska's lead, raising baggage fees for the first time in five years. A checked bag on domestic trips with American will now cost $40 each way for the first bag, up from $30, although you can save $5 by booking online, and a second checked bag will cost you $45 no matter what.

With American now charging more for checked bags, will its competitors like Delta and United follow?

 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

2 Responses

  • We are getting very close to the point where it will be cheaper to FedEx your clothes to your destination rather than check a bag….

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