Airline Baggage Fees Getting Even More Outrageous

As I write this I’m on my way home from a weekend business trip to Florida. A few minutes ago I was rushing through the busiest airport in the world to catch my connection, and I was complaining under my breath about lugging my carry-on and backpack. Then my eye caught the headline of today’s USA Today.  It made my load feel a lot lighter, and my wallet a little heavier.

Here’s the headline in case you missed it: “Airline bag fees as high as $450.”  The report begins by saying:

The era of the $400 airline fee has arrived. For an overweight checked bag weighing 71-100 pounds, Continental Airlines is charging $400 on most international flights, and American Airlines is charging $450 on its Asian flights. United Airlines charges $400 for checking bags weighing 71-99.9 pounds on flights to another continent.

While I don’t have an overweight checked bag, I’m not headed overseas, and certainly not faced with a $450 baggage fee, the rise in airlines fees bothers me almost as much as hearing the pilot say, “Tighten your seat belts, we’re in for a bumpy ride.” I’ve complained more than once here about how the airlines continue to gouge passengers on fees. A family of five, like mine, could pay as much as $600 in round-trip bag fees. That’s outrageous. I can’t afford that. Can you? That’s why I like to fly that “bags fly free” airline as much as possible, and lug around carry-ons when I have to fly something else.

It’s obvious I’m not the only one who tries to avoid the baggage fees much like a pilot flies around a storm. While waiting at the gate in Florida to board the first leg of my trip on a 757 where bags DON’T fly free, I looked around at the other passengers. You would’ve thought the cargo hold was empty of checked bags. It seemed like everyone was hauling a carry-on. And it also seemed they were all (me included) elbowing for a spot  to get on board first to find precious overhead space in which to put that carry-on. I lost. Even though my seat was near the front, I had to squeeze my bag in one of the last overhead spots… near the BACK of the plane. If you fly, you know that’s not a recipe for a quick escape to catch your connecting flight (at the world’s busiest airport).

The USA Today story says, “The airlines say fees keep airfares low.” I don’t know about you, but it takes a little work and a lot of luck to find “low” fares today. Flying sure isn’t cheap. And as long as airlines keep tacking on the fees, I have this warning to my fellow passengers: “I’m sharpening my elbows to find a better spot next time for my carry-on in the overhead.”



One Comment on “Airline Baggage Fees Getting Even More Outrageous

  1. My girlfriend was just charged an extra $50 for a bag United Airlines said was 2 lbs over their 50lb limit. Funny thing is, it was under 50lbs when she left the airport here in NC. Several gifts were in her bag which were left at her destination and nothing new was added, so the bag should have been lighter. I don’t believe their scales are accurate and who is responsible for insuring their accuracy anyway? I’ve filed a complaint with United Airlines and I plan to file one with the FAA and Airport Authority in Burbank CA.

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