American Airlines Joining Others In Raising Baggage Fees

An American Airlines plane sits at the gate at Cancun International Airport on May 26, 2023. Daniel Slim | AFP | Getty Images

(CNBC) American Airlines has raised the price to check a bag for the first time in more than five years and said it would limit which travel agency bookings are eligible to earn frequent flyer miles.

Passengers will pay $35 to check a first bag for domestic flights if the service is booked online in advance, or $40 if they purchase the option at the airport, the carrier said Tuesday. Both options previously cost $30. A second checked bag will cost $45, up from $40, whether purchased in advance or at the airport.

Travelers’ first checked bag on flights between the U.S. and Canada, the Caribbean or Mexico will be $35 whether in advance or at the airport.

American Airlines last raised bag fees in September 2018 along with other major airlines. Carriers are looking for ways to increase revenue as airfare has declined over the past year. The last inflation report showed airfare fell more than 6% in January from a year earlier.

“Our cost of transporting bags is significantly higher” over the past few years, said Scott Chandler, American’s senior vice president of revenue management and loyalty. “Fuel is a big component of it.”

Airlines and other companies have been grappling with how to cover higher costs, such as new labor contracts, while pricing power has waned.

Other airlines have also recently raised bag fees. This year, Alaska Airlinesincreased the charge for economy passengers to check bags by $5 to $35 for a first piece and $45 for a second bag. JetBlue Airways started charging most coach travelers $45 to check a bag within 24 hours of departure, up from $40. In advance, JetBlue is now charging $35 for the first bag.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 11: Passengers check in for an American Airlines flightsat O'Hare International Airport on October 11, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. Citing a strong summer travel season, American Airlines said today that its third-quarter sales will likely be in better than expected despite higher costs.  Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Passengers check in for an American Airlines flightsat O’Hare International Airport on October 11, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.
Scott Olson | Getty Images

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