American Adds More Checked Bag Fees On International Flights

While free checked bags used to be the norm on domestic flights, that has changed over the past decade, and is now the exception rather than the norm. As a matter of fact, Southwest is the only major US carrier to not charge for checked bags anymore, and they market the hell out of it.

Free-Bags-Fly-Here

This has become a huge revenue opportunity for airlines for a variety of reasons. For one, the airlines want to keep their fares as low as possible at the time of ticketing as a way of getting people to book, as often people don’t factor checked bag fees in when they’re considering purchasing a ticket. Airlines even have an incentive to add checked bag fees rather than including them in the ticket cost, since they’re not subject to the typical federal excise tax that airfare is subject to.

While checked bag fees on international flights have also been added over the past several years, it has been a while since I’ve seen any changes on this front.

However, per the always awesome JonNYC, American is adding additional checked bag fees for travel to some destinations in Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America, including seasonal “surge pricing.” Here’s what JonNYC posted on FlyerTalk:

Effective today, several changes to baggage allowances and charges for Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America:

  • $25 first checked bag fee now applies to all of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean except for Panama City and San Salvador; previous exceptions such as Kingston, Mexico City, Santo Domingo are rescinded
  • New $40 second checked bag fee to Guayaquil and Quito
  • New $55 seasonal (high season from 7/26 to 8/10 and 12/9 to 12/24) second checked bag charge to Port au Prince, San Pedro Sula, San Salvador, and Tegucigalpa
  • New $40 seasonal second checked bag charge to Cali

New fees apply to tickets issued or reissued on or after July 26.

Luggage

All this at a time when airlines are recording huge profits with continued low oil prices…

Comments

  1. “All this at a time when airlines are recording huge profits with continued low oil prices…”

    That’s the point. They have the wiggle room to back out if this fails or causes a reduction in pass. numbers when they’re profitable.

  2. With them screwing up their AAdvantage program, screwing up the crediting flights to Alaska’s Mileage Plan thing, and now this, I have no reason to fly American. I fly a lot to South America but when my Alaska MVP expires I’ll move my flights back over to Delta. Until of course Delta does the same thing then we are screwe

  3. Eff you, American Airlines. Though this doesn’t affect people like me who have baggage fee waivers for status, etc., it harms more “normal people” who travel less regularly. Especially between these international destinations, there’s a bunch of diaspora who travel back and forth with extra bags. It’s these people who are gonna be stuck paying through the nose because AA is cheap af.

    For as much as we elites complain about the frequent flyer program devaluations and crap treatment from AA, I would say that the experience for less frequent travelers has gotten way worse.

  4. The nickel and diming continues. all of the airlines are going to continue to find new ways to extract more $$ for things we used to not pay for.

  5. Man, US carriers are shockingly bad. Feel sorry for you guys over there. Competition seems to be dying in the US airline industry (a la Virgin/Alaskan merger). How can BA (a partner airline) offer TWO free bags and these guys just screw people over even more? Record profits, mergers, more fees, it’s a joke… No wonder none of these airlines are ranked anywhere in the top 50. Sometimes regulation actually helps the customer and promotes competition.

  6. No wonder they are losing out to the Middle Eastern carriers. Snobbish and full of pride, major US carriers ought to mirror themselves on their products and services again. No wonder they are never ever on the Top 10 airlines in the year.

  7. @QR, I completely agree. Domestic first is what economy used to be 30 years ago (and is really the baseline for how you should be treated in the service industry), flying economy as an elite (better seat selection, possible extra legroom, early boarding, etc.) is what regular economy was 10 years ago, and infrequent, non-elite flyers flying economy are just subjected to the worst experience from start to finish. Can’t really blame the airlines though b/c it is pretty well proven that those infrequent travelers care only about price, so need to find ways to cut corners.

  8. All of this schmoozing about airlines trying to squeeze out a bigger profit even though they’re already making a lot of money seems silly to me. Is there such a concept of a company in the US deciding they’re already making enough money and choosing to become less profitable for the sake of the customers? I thought the point of every company in the US, and especially public ones, was to be as profitable as possible. Am I wrong?

    Now, if you want to make an argument that nickel and dime’ing customers will cause you to lose customers and therefore become less profitable, that would be a different story. But then again, if all airlines nickel and dime, then that wouldn’t be a deciding factor for customers to leave one airline, and choose another.

  9. Think about who they are charging with ‘seasonal’ extra fees for second bags to places like El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti. Those ‘high season’ dates are not aimed at the American tourist but at the Salvadorans, Hondurans, and Haitians who live in the US and are going back to the homeland to see families. They usually have a lot of luggage because they are bringing a lot of consumer goods back to relatives. AA realizes that those people will have to pay a higher 2nd bag fee, so they maximize the revenue on those ‘coming home’ flights.

  10. This is another example of their poor marketing or Project Teams. Made a lot of messes and poor execution of new projects before. I can understand charge for domestic but not international or vice versa, very straight forward, but now:

    “Effective today, several changes to baggage allowances and charges for Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America:

    $25 first checked bag fee now applies to all of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean except for Panama City and San Salvador; previous exceptions such as Kingston, Mexico City, Santo Domingo are rescinded
    New $40 second checked bag fee to Guayaquil and Quito
    New $55 seasonal (high season from 7/26 to 8/10 and 12/9 to 12/24) second checked bag charge to Port au Prince, San Pedro Sula, San Salvador, and Tegucigalpa
    New $40 seasonal second checked bag charge to Cali”

    CONFUSED YET???

  11. Hahaha, this is why AA is crap. I don’t get why you keep raving about them when they just screw over their customers.

  12. @John “How can BA (a partner airline) offer TWO free bags and these guys just screw people over even more?”

    I’ve got 2 words for you: Fuel Surcharges (or whatever they are calling them now).

    I’ll happily take a checked bag fee, that I don’t have to pay anyway since I have an AA credit card, over several hundred dollars in surcharges. 😉

  13. I have a flight Caracas – Miami – Chicago – Dublin – London – JFK – Miami – Caracas.

    Before I got 2 free pieces.
    Could someone tell me what I get now after this change, and if I have to pay for any bags?

    We will need to take 2 each.

  14. Is that picture showing all the luggage a single FA takes onboard or one who is dead-heading?? It’s been my experience the worst abusers these days are the FAs themselves. And b/c they board sooooo early, you don’t realize how many bags each has until de-planing.

    One flight I was on had 6 employees going to some training. 4, I noticed, had 1 large bag, 1 med. bag (in overhead) and 1 under-the-seat bag w/ one having that bag in OH as well.

  15. @Robert Hanson, “I’ll happily take a checked bag fee, that I don’t have to pay anyway since I have an AA credit card”, your AA CC only gives a free checked bag on domestic flights, not international ones.

  16. If the US would simply tax baggage fees at some exorbitant rate, say 50%, and at the same time make it illegal for airlines to pass that tax on to the customers in the form of higher bag fees (i.e., they limit what fees could be charged for bags), then they would put a stop to this nonsense, and as a side light, this would raise enough revenue to fund more TSA check personnel to cover the increased cost of checking all those carry-on bags which people bring onboard to avoid the ridiculous bag fees.

    That would thus reduce the wait times that non-precheck people have to endure at the major US airports.

    The airlines created the problem of security lines; they should be held accountable and made to pay for the fix to that. It’s INSANE that a customer should have to wait more than maybe 10 minutes to get through security.

  17. I am more offended by being forced to sit through their pathetic on-board credit card come-ons.

    A really thoughtful and considerate operations decision, that one.

  18. I was traveling on AA stock ORD-JFK-CDG, Booked in P/J for the entire trip.
    The ticket was issued in late May 2016, and read 3pc of 23kg /51 lbs
    Upon checking-in at O´Hare, I was informed that this was changed to 2pc of 32kg,

    A bit late to be informed when already packed and in the airport

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