What the #$&! is going on with airline baggage fees?

By | October 9th, 2011

Check this out: The latest luggage fee numbers, as reported by the federal government, show that the major airlines are collecting less for our checked suitcases. They haven’t returned to the early 2007 levels, which were still pretty reasonable, but well off the highs reached in the second and third quarter of 2010.

What’s going on?

A few theories …


Airlines are not being as strict with their baggage policies. That may be true, but I doubt it. At a time like this, when every airline is pinching pennies, I’m more inclined to believe agents are being rewarded for charging the most luggage fees.

Passengers are traveling lighter. Oh, yeah. If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

Air travelers are trying to carry more on the plane. That’s my favorite theory. I think passengers are unwilling to shell out more money for their tickets, and are trying to take it all on the plane with them. Pity the flight attendants.

These numbers will almost certainly drop because of the Transportation Department’s new disclosure requirements for baggage fees.

For airlines, it looks as if the gravy train that was baggage fees has left the station.



We want your feedback. Your opinion is important to us. Here's how you can share your thoughts:
  • Send us a letter to the editor. We'll publish your most thoughtful missives in our daily newsletter or in an upcoming post.
  • Leave a message on one of our social networks. We have an active Facebook page, a LinkedIn presence and a Twitter account. Every story on this site is posted on those channels. The conversation ranges from completely unmoderated (Twitter) to moderated (Facebook and LinkedIn).
  • Post a question to our help forums or ask our advocates for a hand through our assistance intake form. Please note that our help forum is not a place for debate. It's there primarily to assist readers with a consumer problem.
  • If you have a news tip or want to report an error or omission, you can email the site publisher directly. You may also contact the post's author directly. Contact information is in the author tagline.