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Checked Bag Fees

M&M

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The price of oil is at a 5 year low, gas prices are below $1.50 (at least in Houston), Cruise lines are refunding the fuel surcharges, so why are airlines still charging checked bag fees?
At the time they implemented the bag fees (at least in the case of Continental), they cited the high fuel costs and the fact that the added weight of checked bags was making the planes use more fuel.
So you would think that they would now remove those check bag fees. Is there any pressure being put onto the airline carriers to eliminate these fees?
 

wcfr1

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Brother in law works for Continental in Houston and he repeated what I have read elsewhere. They are locked into fuel contracts at a higher price and hey, they are making money on those fees. No plan on giving them up as long as they are making money off of them.
 

M&M

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Brother in law works for Continental in Houston and he repeated what I have read elsewhere. They are locked into fuel contracts at a higher price and hey, they are making money on those fees. No plan on giving them up as long as they are making money off of them.

While I'm sure that they are making money on those fees, I can't help but think that customers aren't too happy with them. It makes me consider flying Southwest (for the first time) on some of my flights. I'm sure others are doing the same.
 

Judy

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I flew Southwest for the first time recently. I was very happy with them for their lack of checked bag fees and other reasons too! No fees for first and second checked bag. No charge for on board snacks. And the flight crews were cheerful! I will fly Southwest again whenever they serve my destinations :D
 

Keitht

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European based Low Cost Carriers are introducing the charge to discourage checked baggage. Their view being that they can faster turnaround if passengers have hand luggage only. The charges were introduced by some well before any fuel price increases.
 

Carolinian

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European based Low Cost Carriers are introducing the charge to discourage checked baggage. Their view being that they can faster turnaround if passengers have hand luggage only. The charges were introduced by some well before any fuel price increases.

Since I try to travel with only hand luggage, I would much rather they implement this charge than some others. That way those who pack the extra pounds of luggage can pay the cost of transporting it and those of us who usually don't will not have to contribute to the cost of doing so.

EasyJet has my favorite luggage policy. Their only weight restricion on hand luggage is that one person must be able to heft it into the overhead by himself.
 

Keitht

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EasyJet has my favorite luggage policy. Their only weight restricion on hand luggage is that one person must be able to heft it into the overhead by himself.

It's amusing isn't it the way the airlines change the rules as and when it suits them. Until fairly recently most European airlines had very strict hand baggage weight limits, supposedly on safety grounds. "Just think of the damage it could cause if it fell out of the overhead locker" was the standard response to anybody caught over the limit.
Suddenly heavy bags are no longer a problem. ;)
 

harper53

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I agree this policy is the pits. Last week was our first time flying since the new rule, almost everybody carried luggage on plane. It makes the loading and unloading of the cabin go much slower. I don't really see how the airlines are making much money on this since most people weren't checking any luggage. What's next, a fee to use the restroom?
 

TSTex02

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Airline Industry Analyst

I read an article by an airline industry analyst over the weekend that said airlines will do their best to keep the extra service fees they have now and are likely to add more as they can. They see extra fees as a new profit center and the American public is largely (but reluctantly) putting up with them. Kinda like when the Federal Income Tax was instituted as a temporary tax "just for a year or two." Temporary ... Yeah right. But as long as we have alternatives like Southwest Airlines let's use the free market system to our best advantage.
 

Patri

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Southwest is an option, but on a matching flight, they were WAAAAY more expensive than another airline that did charge for baggage (although for my trip I reserved just under the wire and paid no fees). So it pays to compare.
I resent the fees too. They charge because they can and people have no real outlet to fight it.
Remember the good old days when we got hot, tasty meals? My memory really is getting fuzzy on that.
 

Carolinian

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I read an article by an airline industry analyst over the weekend that said airlines will do their best to keep the extra service fees they have now and are likely to add more as they can. They see extra fees as a new profit center and the American public is largely (but reluctantly) putting up with them. Kinda like when the Federal Income Tax was instituted as a temporary tax "just for a year or two." Temporary ... Yeah right. But as long as we have alternatives like Southwest Airlines let's use the free market system to our best advantage.

You ought to see some of the European legacies which charge more for a fuel surcharge, even with todays oil prices, than for the fare. Fortunately the European LCC's are trending toward an all-in fare instead of fuel surcharges but you still pay for the optional items like checked baggage and drinks onboard. Personally after past experiences with the baggage mishandlers / luggage throwers employed by airlines, I have had a preference not to check luggage for a long time.
 

Talent312

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I flew Southwest for the first time recently. I was very happy with them for their lack of checked bag fees and other reasons too! No fees for first and second checked bag. No charge for on board snacks. And the flight crews were cheerful! I will fly Southwest again whenever they serve my destinations :D

I posted this here on TUG back on May 22nd...
I [saw] an interview of Herb Kelleher, the recently retired of Chaiman of Southwest, this morning on CNBC, who, when told of AA's new $15 fee for first checked bag was rather startled and surprised: "Is that right! Wow!"

He recovered by saying he was sympathetic to AA becuz they were not hedged against the price of oil they way that Southwest was, and according to independent studies, SWA had the best financial base and [was the] least likely to succum.
 

TSTex02

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Hedging Oil Prices

SWA was very wise a few years ago to hedge their oil reserves. Through the last couple of years they have enjoyed "cheap" fuel costs compared to their competitors. But hedging goes both directions. Now with oil below $40 a barrel SWA is stuck with one of the highest fuel costs in the industry.

IMHO, all things considered (more than just lowest fare) I would much rather enjoy a "customer friendly" flight on SWA, where I am more of a "guest" rather than a "captured passenger," than tolerate a trip on one of their compteitors.
 

Carolinian

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SWA was very wise a few years ago to hedge their oil reserves. Through the last couple of years they have enjoyed "cheap" fuel costs compared to their competitors. But hedging goes both directions. Now with oil below $40 a barrel SWA is stuck with one of the highest fuel costs in the industry.

IMHO, all things considered (more than just lowest fare) I would much rather enjoy a "customer friendly" flight on SWA, where I am more of a "guest" rather than a "captured passenger," than tolerate a trip on one of their compteitors.

Too many airlines these days treat their passengers as self-loading cargo.
 
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