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Alaska Airlines joins other carriers in charging more to check bags

Alaska Airlines joins other carriers in charging more to check bags
A traveler gathers his luggage at the San Francisco International Airport. Alaska Airlines announced it will raise bag fees, starting Dec. 5. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Alaska Airlines, the plucky Seattle-based carrier that has won numerous customer satisfaction awards, is following the lead of its much larger rivals by increasing the fees it charges to check bags.

Starting with tickets bought Dec. 5, Alaska Airlines will raise checked bag fees to $30 from $25 for the first bag, to $40 from $25 for the second bag, to $100 from $75 for the third and to $100 from $75 for oversized luggage.

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The move — announced on a tiny-print link on the airline’s homepage — follows similar fee increases announced in the last few weeks by three of the nation’s biggest carriers, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.

Southwest Airlines, the country’s largest domestic carrier, still doesn’t charge a fee to check the first two bags.

At Alaska Airlines, elite loyalty reward club members and Alaska Airlines credit card holders are also going to feel the pinch.

Elite members of the carrier’s Mileage Plan and members of its Club 49 — an exclusive program for Alaska residents — get to check the first two bags for free, but the charge for the third bag increases to $100 from $75.

Fliers who have an Alaska Airlines credit card pay nothing to check the first bag, but the fees will rise to $40 from $25 for the second and to $100 from $75 for the third bag.

“We haven’t raised bag fees since 2013 and the economics of this change allows us to invest back in our product and maintain low fares,” Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Ann Johnson said. “Costs, in particular fuel, have been increasing for the last two years, but revenues haven’t kept pace.”

In the first six months of 2018, the nation’s top 11 airlines collected nearly $2.4 billion in checked bag fees and $1.3 billion in reservation change fees, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

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