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Virgin America Adds First-Checked-Bag Fee


Effective today, Virgin America will collect a $15 fee for each checked bag (up to the tenth bag—does anyone check more than 10 bags?). Previously Virgin America didn't have a first-bag fee, charged $25 for the second, and $50 for the third through tenth. The new first-bag fee is waived for passengers with first-class, Main Cabin Select, and refundable fares, and first-class passengers also have their second-checked bag fee waived. Virgin also lowered its fee to change or cancel your flight online, from $75 to $50. People flying on the aforementioned upper-tier fares have this fee waived.

I have to admit this one surprised me, considering Virgin's main low-cost competitor, JetBlue, doesn't charge for the first checked bag. Virgin's appeal wasn't tied entirely to its relatively minimal fees, but adding this fee doesn't help the carrier. And, as you may have read, the still-young carrier hit a somewhat rough patch lately.

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Moreover, Virgin's move brings us one step closer to an industry-wide policy of charging for all checked bags. Only three major airlines—Southwest, JetBlue, and Alaska—let you check your first bag for free. Can you believe it? A year ago, no carriers charged for the first checked bag. Heck, we were only seeing the first wave of second-checked-bag fees. Now here we are, with three lone carriers holding out—but for how much longer? Do you think these three will stick to their guns and keep offering free checked bags? Leave a comment below with your thoughts. Thanks!

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