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AirTran Quietly Raises Checked Bag Fees

AirTran’s first-bag fees are about to go up. The airline hiked the fee $5 for travel on or after September 1, so that first bag will soon cost you $20 instead of $15. The fee change affects tickets booked on or after today.

The second checked bag remains at $25.

It appears the airline did not put out a release or otherwise make public mention of the fee increase. Instead, it placed a link on its homepage directing people to “learn more” about “new checked bag policies.” This, in my opinion, is the absolute bare minimum of effort to notify customers of a policy change that will cost them a few more bucks. Airlines rarely give more than 24 hours notice before these changes take effect anyway, but clearly AirTran is trying to muffle any bad press due to the fee.

At $20, AirTran’s fee is still on the low end compared to its competitors, most of which charge $23 to $25 for the first bag. Because of this, I don’t really expect AirTran’s move to set off a massive wave of fee hikes, though it bears watching to see if other airlines follow suit. You can track all the airlines’ fees with our Ultimate Guide to Airline Fees.

Readers, what do you think about AirTran’s new fee? Do you think airlines have a responsibility to communicate their policy changes better?

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