American Airlines raising checked bag fees

Customers traveling with American Airlines will see increased fees for checking a bag on their flights for the first time in more than five years, the airline announced Tuesday.

Travelers will pay $35 for their first checked bag if purchasing online, or $40 if they buy at the airport, the airline said in a press release. The airline previously charged $30 for first checked bags.

The change applies to flights within and between the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A second checked bag will cost $45, for both those purchased online or at the airport, up from $40, according to the airline.

Most AAdvantage credit card members will get their first eligible checked bag for free on the airline’s domestic flights, the carrier noted.

Checked bag fees for Canada and short-haul international flights are also increasing by $5. The first checked bag will now cost $35, and $40 for the second checked bag, whether online or at the airport.

The fee changes will impact flights booked on or after Tuesday, the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline added. The airline said it’s the first time it has raised bag fees since 2018.

American Airlines is the latest of several carriers to raise bag fees in an effort to increase revenue, CNBC reported. Airline tickets fell by an estimated 6.4 percent over the year ending in January, according to data released by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Fees for slightly overweight bags will also be reduced on American Airlines flights. Those with bags three pounds over the 50-pound limit will now pay $30 instead of the former $100 fee.

The airline is also changing its policy for customers looking to earn points in its AAdvantage loyalty program, in an effort to get travelers to book directly with the carrier.

Customers will earn miles and loyalty points when they book directly with American and “eligible partner airlines,” or as an AAdvantage Business member or contracted corporate traveler. Customers can also earn miles and points through a specified list of preferred travel agencies, which will be released in late April. This change will begin for tickets issued May 1 or later.

“Basic Economy” fare tickets will only earn points when directly booking with American and its eligible partner airlines, the carrier added.

“We want to make it more convenient for customers to enjoy the value and magic of travel,” said Vasu Raja, American’s chief commercial officer. “Not only does booking directly with American provide the best possible experience, it’s also where we offer the best fares and it’s most rewarding for our AAdvantage members.”

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