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Hawaiian Airlines Adds First-Checked-Bag Fee

Hawaiian Airlines announced it will add a $15 first-checked-bag fee for all customers flying between the mainland U.S. and the islands. The fee will apply to tickets booked on or after August 1 for flights leaving on or after October 1. The airline will also be adding fees for tickets booked over the phone—$10 for interisland travel and $20 for mainland routes.

The move to add a first-checked-bag fee comes largely in response to other airlines, notably interisland carrier Go!, adding similar charges. Go! announced a $10 first-checked-bag fee in July, and while Hawaiian isn’t matching this fee directly (though it did match Go!’s $17 second-checked-bag fee on interisland flights), the fee will add revenue and keep the airline competitive with legacy carriers that serve Hawaii.

The addition of Hawaiian’s baggage fee doesn’t seem like a head-scratcher at first, because so many airlines are struggling to gain more revenue. However, Hawaiian just posted a very healthy second-quarter profit of $54.3 million, which would seem to indicate the airline is making plenty of money without these extra fees. But according to Hawaiian president and CEO Mark Dunkerly, “Our latest financial results demonstrate why Hawaiian needs to match the revenue initiatives of our competitors.”

I’ll be honest: This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Hawaiian’s latest financial results look pretty darn good. But the airline saw a 21 percent jump in passengers following the collapse of Aloha and ATA, so perhaps Dunkerly is unwilling to put too much stock in Hawaiian’s second-quarter profit.

No matter what the reasoning is, the fees are here to stay. Travel to Hawaii, which has been getting pricier all year, just got a little more expensive.

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