Baggage fees, while unpopular with passengers, are growing in popularity with airlines.
After years of implementing baggage fees on domestic flights, Delta announced last week that the airline will soon charge passengers to check a bag on transatlantic flights.
Starting April 10, 2018, transatlantic fliers with Basic Economy tickets will have to pay $50 for a checked bag and $100 for a second. Those traveling in Main Cabin or Comfort+ seats will be able to check one bag for free (and check another for a fee).
With the success of low-cost airlines like Norwegian Air and WOW Air, the airline industry has seen that customers will pay additional fees if they can book cheap airfare — no matter how far the destination. Delta’s implementation of baggage fees is part of its plan to compete with these low-cost airlines and lure back price-conscious travelers.
Delta Air Lines President Glen Hauenstein recently told reporters: “Our sell-up [from basic economy] continues to remain high and I think that’s the key part.”
As low-cost carriers continue to enter the transatlantic market in 2018, it’s likely that more traditional carriers will follow suit and start charging baggage fees. British Airways has already eliminated free checked bags on its basic fare.
The proliferation of fees will make it all the more important for passengers to understand fare classes like “basic” economy, and to more thoroughly plan for what services they'll need, and what their airline will charge for each.