Many airlines are trying to pull off a magic trick—raising prices without raising prices. As fuel costs go up, airlines are passing those price increases right along to their customers, but they aren’t raising airfare.
Instead, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal, they are raising the prices on everything else, most notably bag fees.
Here’s the rundown:
- Air Canada gave its bag fees a hike, with a spokesman telling WSJ that “the higher fees will make up some of the extra 430 million Canadian dollars spent on fuel in the first half of this year.”
- WestJet also increased its bag fees.
- JetBlue Airways, which was a long-time holdout in charging for checked bags, raised its prices by $5 to $30 for a first bag and $40 for a second. It also raised change fees to $200 for anyone who needs to switch a flight. As Skift points out, being one of the first airlines to raise baggage fees could damage JetBlue’s reputation as a low-cost leader.
- United Airlines is planning to increase the prices for seats in the front of the plane, WSJ reports, which has been a new favorite fee among airlines.
That said, airlines need to make money somehow and baggage fees are a big revenue generator. Airlines made close to $4.6 billion charging for checked bags last year, the according to the Transportation Department, and CBS News says that jumps to $7.4 billion when you count change and cancellation fees. In short, earn elite status on your favorite airline to save fees, or your vacation piggy bank is going to need to get a little bigger.