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Airlines hike fees for baggage

By Sean O'Neill
October 3, 2012
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Courtesy <a href="http://blog.hipmunk.com/a-staggering-look-at-baggage-fees-infographic" target="_blank">Hipmunk</a>

Airlines keep hiking fees on baggage, as fuel costs rise. In fact, airlines never got rid of the baggage fees they tacked on to cover rising gas prices ages ago. When fuel prices dropped, those baggage fees stayed high. So why do airlines need to raise fees again?

Airlines have been hiking fees in response to the rise in oil prices in recent weeks. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that average oil prices will be $14 higher per barrel this year than the average last year, affecting jet fuel prices.

Spirit Airlines's unique fee for carry-on bags—much criticized by Budget Travel readers—just worsened. This week, the airline announced that it would charge $25 for bags that weigh between 41 and 50 pounds. Its previous weight allowance was 50 pounds.

US Airways is hiking fees on overweight checked baggage, starting March 1. Bags weighing 51 to 70 pounds will cost $90, up from $50.

Those airlines are just the latest in a series to hike fees. Hipmunk, the metasearch site, created a striking visual graphic showing the explosion in bag fees (shown here).

Interestingly, only Alaska Airlines delivers a customer service in exchange for its hiked fees. Alaska offers a Baggage Service Guarantee, promising you a $20 travel credit or a mileage bonus if your bag isn't at the carousel within 20 minutes of your arrival, as reported by CNN.com.

For a full list of fees, check out this just-updated AirfareWatchdog Fees Chart.

Besides airlines have never reduced their baggage fees from the last oil-price run-up. So what do you think? Is it fair for airlines to raise fees again?

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