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Hawaiian Airlines becomes the latest carrier to raise checked bag fees to respond to higer costs

Hawaiian Airlines becomes the latest carrier to raise checked bag fees to respond to higer costs
A Hawaiian Airlines aircraft waits on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport on March 28, 2018. The carrier raised fees by $5, to $30 for the first checked bag and $40 for the second. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Hawaiian Airlines has become the latest U.S.-based carrier to raise its checked bag fee, an increase that industry experts say is an effort to compensate for rising fuel and labor costs.

The Honolulu-based carrier on Tuesday began charging passengers $30 for the first checked bag and $40 for the second, up from $25 and $35. The move follows similar increases since August by JetBlue, Alaska, United, Delta and American Airlines.

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At Hawaiian Airlines, the higher fee applies to flights between the U.S. mainland and the Hawaiian islands but does not apply to flights between the islands. Passengers on international flights operated by Hawaiian Airlines can check two bags at no charge.

The nation’s 23 largest carriers reported a combined profit of $15.5 billion last year, including $4.6 billion from baggage fees, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Airlines for America, a trade group that represents the largest carriers, released an analysis this month showing that fuel costs for the first nine months of the year rose 34% compared with the same period in 2017, while labor costs grew 6%.

As a result, the trade group says the combined pretax profit margin for the airline industry dropped from 12.1% to 8.2% in that same period.

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