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JetBlue and United have increased checked bag fees for economy fliers. Which airline will be next?

JetBlue and United have increased checked bag fees for economy fliers. Which airline will be next?
Thinking about checking a bag on your next flight? Some carriers have increased their baggage fees, charging $30 for a first checked bag. (David Goldman / Associated Press)

Checked bag fees are going up on some airlines for economy fliers. JetBlue and United as well as Canadian carriers Air Canada and WestJet have all increased the price you pay to check a bag on your next flight.

"We routinely review and adjust our ancillary pricing to ensure a healthy business so we can continue offering the best customer experience of any U.S. airline," JetBlue spokesman Doug McGraw told Bloomberg.

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By the way, airlines collected more than $4.5 billion last year in baggage fees, up from $4.2 billion in 2016, according to U.S. Department of Transportation statistics.

JetBlue last week raised a first checked bag from $25 to $30, a second bag from $35 to $40, and third or more bags from $100 to $150. The new fees affect fliers who bought tickets after Aug. 27.

On Friday, United Airlines followed suit by increasing its checked bag cost from $25 to $30 and a second bag from $35 to $40. Third or more bags cost $150 each. United’s website provides a baggage calculator in which passengers have to enter their flight information to find out how much to pay in fees, rather than a list of checked bag costs.

Air Canada and WestJet increased checked bags to $30, $50 for second bag and $100 for third or more bags. Note the price is the same in Canadian or U.S. dollars.

There are ways for fliers to get around checked bag fees that don’t involve cramming everything into your carry-on luggage. You can buy a premium class ticket, join an airline’s premium loyalty program, or use certain airline-affiliated credit cards. You’ll have to keep track of how all that pencils to determine whether this saves you money on your next flight.

Southwest Airlines remains the sole U.S. carrier that allows fliers to take up to two checked bags for free. And the airline took to Twitter to gently point out its policy in the face of increased bag fees on other airlines.

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