How to avoid paying mammoth sums for extra luggage as airlines hike prices of add-ons

United Airlines

United Airlines have increased luggage fees

Solen Le Net

By Solen Le Net

Published: 26/02/2024

- 17:03

Airlines have listed several reasons they are charging higher fees to travel with baggage essentials

Several airlines are charging higher fees for baggage space and other extras, adding hefty sums to ticket costs.

Base fees for bag check-ins are being increased for passengers who pay at the airport rather than online.

Several airlines that follow this price structure, including United Airlines, American Airlines, and JetBlue Airways, have increased their fees for extra luggage.

The difference in luggage charges was introduced as a way to incentivise flyers to process the transaction in advance, workers in the aviation industry have explained.

\u200bLuggage fees

Luggage fees tend to be higher at airports than they are online


Completing transactions in advance means employees can allocate more time to helping passengers who require help at airports.

An American spokesperson told CNBC: “It allows our team members to spend more time with customers who require additional assistance."

Frontier Airlines CEO Barry Biffle also confirmed that airlines prefer that passengers pay for luggage fees in advance.

“It incentivises people to get the transaction out of the way,” he said. “There are people who need legitimate assistance.”

The price update could prove particularly painful to families who may not have the option to travel lightly or plan their travels far in advance.

Airlines have been raking in record revenue since selling baggage space and other extras as travel costs increase.

The practice is deemed particularly helpful to low-cost airlines as it helps them keep headline fares down to a minimum while maximising spending from passengers.

Budget airlines generally give each passenger an allowance of one piece of hand luggage, small enough to fit under a seat.

Plane in the sky

Some airlines try to incentivise passengers to pay for their extras online


Additionally, seats are allocated randomly at the time of check-in unless passengers pay an additional at the time of their booking.

The policy has often been met with complaints from passengers who believe airlines force them to pay to sit together.

In a statement about its latest increase, a JetBlue spokesperson explained: “While we don’t like increasing fees, it’s one step we are taking to get our company back to profitability and cover the increased costs of transporting bags.

“By adjusting fees for added services that only certain customers use, we can keep base fares low and ensure customer favourites like seatback TVs and high-speed Wi-Fi remain free for everyone.”

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