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United Raises Checked-Bag Fees

Here’s the latest in unsurprising airline news: Checked-bag fees are going up.

United has raised its fee for second checked bags on international flights from $70 to $100.  According to United’s updated fee chart, the $100 charge applies to flyers who purchased tickets on or after June 1. If you bought your tickets on May 31 or earlier, the $100 fee doesn’t apply.

We contacted United for a statement, but did not hear back by time of publication. A spokesperson from the airline told the Chicago Tribune, “This change reflects an increase in costs associated with carrying bags, such as fuel and handling.”

That statement may raise a few travelers’ eyebrows, especially since jet-fuel prices have been falling of late. According to the Associated Press, airline stocks rose at the end of May “after a J.P. Morgan analyst raised his estimates of the companies’ future profits because of the recent drop in jet fuel prices.”

Given, United likely made plans to up its international checked-bag fees before the end of last month, when fuel costs were higher. (Remember when Delta bought that oil refinery?) And I don’t expect an airline to withdraw a money-making initiative simply because gas prices are all of a sudden sinking.

Still, this latest price increase points to the airlines’ fervor to pass any and all costs, from fluctuating fuel fees to government-issued taxes, on to flyers whenever possible. Is this cruel—or just capitalism?

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