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Continental, Delta Hike Bag Fees, Match United, US Airways

In the same breath that it used to announce a $213 million second-quarter loss, Continental said it will add a $5 surcharge to bag fees paid at the airport. Passengers can avoid the surcharge by paying the fee online. The new airport fees, which come to $20 for the first bag and $30 for the second, are effective immediately for travel August 19 and beyond.

Delta is also adding a $5 surcharge, effective for tickets booked on or after July 16 for travel on or after August 4. Delta’s airport bag fees will also jump to $20 for the first bag and $30 for the second.

US Airways was the first to add a surcharge to its baggage fee back in April, and United quickly matched. With sluggish demand continuing to pull down revenues, it’s not surprising to see more airlines try the same approach. In fact, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if American and even a few low-cost airlines copy the idea.

As I noted when US Airways and United announced their plans, this fee just seems like a trap. I would bet most passengers simply assume they pay their fee when they hand over their bags at the airport, meaning many travelers will unwittingly pay a $5 surcharge they didn’t know could be avoided. Though as more airlines adopt the surcharge, the practice will become common knowledge.

Readers, you tell me what you think of this surcharge. Is it only a matter of time before more carriers match? Leave a comment below with your thoughts. Thanks!

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