American Airlines to charge $50 for second checked bag on certain international flights from September 14, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009, 10:33 by Aviation Correspondent

American Airlines will charge most of the economy-class passengers a fee of $50 to check a second piece of checked luggage on certain international flights for tickets bought on or after September 14, 2009. However, the first checked bag will continue to be free of charge, American Airlines, based in Fort Worth, Texas, the United States, said in a statement.

The new fee of $50 for the second bag will apply to flights between the United States and England, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, India and Ireland.

American Airlines will also charge the fee for flights between these foreign nations and the US territories like Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

For flights within the United States, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, the fees have been increased from $5 to $20 for a first checked bag and to $30 for the second checked bag.

American Airlines, a subsidiary of AMR Corporation, said in the statement that while the first checked bag stays free for all classes of passengers,some will be exempted from the fee of $50 for the second bag.

These would include some members of the carrier’s frequent-flier programme, the first-class and business-class passengers as well as personnel serving in the United States military.

Stung by the decline in the demand for air travel in 2009, the airline sector in general has been trying to earn new revenues by charging fees for those items and services whose prices used to be included in the price of the ticket.

A majority of the major airlines based in the United States currently charge a fee for checked bags.

Airlines based in the United States already charge fee for the first checked bag and the second checked bag on domestic flights, except Southwest Airlines, which does not charge anything for checked bags.

It was on August 21, 2009, that Virgin America announced that it was raising its fee for checked bags – from $15 to $20 – for most of the economy-class passengers for flights on or after September 10, 2009.

According to the United States Bureau of Transportation Statistics, US-based carriers earned around $566 million in baggage fees in the first three months of 2009, which is up from about $123 million in the same period in 2008.

American Airlines itself collected $108.1 million for checked bags in the first quarter of 2009 – the biggest amount for any US-based airline.

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