Alaska Airlines is the latest U.S. airline to jump on the fee-hike bandwagon. The Seattle-based carrier said that, effective Dec. 5, it will increase baggage fees to the now-standard $30 for the first bag and $40 for the second.
The airline is thus falling in line with the U.S. airline industry, where, with the exception of Southwest, the price to check luggage is a minimum of $30 one-way.
In August, JetBlue made the first move to increase the fee, which had been $25 for a number of years, and was quickly matched by American, Delta and United.
Alaska passengers, however, will see a bigger increase if they choose to check a second bag, because Alaska was charging $25 for an additional bag, below the then-standard $35 on other lines.
Alaska is also raising the price for a third checked bag, from $75 to $100. American, Delta and United charge $150 for the same service.
Carriers say that the fee increases are a response to higher expenses, in particular, jet fuel, which is 50 percent more expensive than it was a year ago. Carrying more luggage adds to the weight of the plane, and thus, consumes more fuel, this argument goes.
However, one unintended result is that many passengers attempt to lug all their belongings in their carry-on bags, leading to overstuffed bins. As a result, more airlines are charging for carry-ons, as well.