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American to charge $15 to check 1st bag, cut flights

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor  May 21, 2008 11:15 AM

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Hold tight, folks. American said this morning that it needs to tighten the belt big-time. What that means is that it will start charging $15 to most passengers to check a first bag, and that it plans to cut its schedule by as much as 12 percent. American also said it would raise other fees from $5 to $50 for a range of services like reservation help to oversized bags.
The carrier's decision on baggage comes just a month after it decided to join other major carriers in charging $25 for a second checked bag. This means if you arrive with two bags the tab will be $40 each way. The baggage fees will kick in for flights booked starting June 15. But it won't affect some American frequent-flier program members or those paying full fare or international passengers. American put the details on their site.
Delta reacted almost immediately, saying it wasn't planning to adopt the first-bag fee, but United said it would consider it.
Ned Raynolds of American said that the airline will take 40 to 45 big jets and 35 to 40 regional ones out of service in the fourth quarter, so this will affect schedules for regular American flights as well as those of its regional American Eagle service.
The airline hasn't decided which routes it will cut. But the odds that Logan will be affected appear pretty strong, as American serves about 17 percent of the airport's travelers, behind only Delta and JetBlue.
Amid fuel costs that have risen 84 percent in the last year, Raynolds said American was in the process of "unbundling'' services: Basically, offering a menu of services -- some of them formerly free -- and letting travelers choose which ones they want and are willing to pay for.
"As much as we love our customers,'' Raynolds said, "we need to survive and thrive in the current climate.''
Why do we always hurt the ones we love? Did I hear somebody say, "Ouch?''

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9 comments so far...
  1. I think American is one of the worst airlines around. I just got back from St. Lucia and from my experience American should cut costs by not employing so many incompetant people and actually train the compentant ones better so they will be more efficient.

    This new development has reinforced my decision to never take American again.

    Posted by KLeigh May 21, 08 01:09 PM
  1. Love our customers?

    They won't have any customers if they keep this up.

    Posted by Deborah May 21, 08 01:40 PM
  1. Enough is enough already with these fees. So, I have to pay $15 for my first bag that I have to check because I can't carry-on more than 3 oz. of shaving cream? At some point, something has to give with these new-found and widely adopted airline fees.

    I would hope someone on one of the Transportation Subcommittees in Congress would wake up and start doing their jobs to protect us from what is becoming highway (highair) robbery.

    As a former American Platinum (3 years) and Gold (2 years) member, flying exclusively out of Logan, I have to say it's just not worth traveling anymore on the major carriers. If I had the money, I'd use NetJets or Sentient, but I don't so instead I'm going to instruct my IT team to install some of the new, and fairly great quality, video-conferencing equipment and move to a remote meeting structure, while only flying where in-person is required to close a deal.

    Posted by John May 21, 08 02:03 PM
  1. Does that include bags that are checked by airline handlers who open luggage and steal belonging, just as in the 60 Minutes story done several years ago?

    Posted by josephbbl May 21, 08 02:51 PM
  1. OMG. The ontime percentage will be even more dismal than ever. Everyone will fill the overheads with baggage and then it will take more time for folks to board the plane and more time to then check the carry ons for which there is no room.

    I never used to check my rollaboard (after all , it's a rollaBOARD) for work trips but because it's so painful to go through security with my laptop and purse, it's worse with the rollaboard. I will still check it since I can expense it, but really, this is is ridiculous.

    Posted by paducah1983 May 21, 08 03:08 PM
  1. Already cancelled plans to travel due to high ticket prices so let them charge whatever fees they want, it's already water over the dam! All they will do is scare even more travelers away!

    Posted by Jim Francisco May 21, 08 03:29 PM
  1. Guess I won't be flying American now. What do they expect people to do, travel with barely any clothes? Pretty soon we'll have to FedEx our luggage ahead of time!

    Posted by LennyD May 21, 08 04:29 PM
  1. This..... plus the attitude !!!.
    what else do you need for justification to steer clear of A/A except as last resort ?

    Posted by kennyd June 18, 08 10:34 PM
  1. I travel weekly, in and out of the country on business and pleasure...The problem I see everyday are the people and their luggage...I see people with so much stuff and oversized bags its unbelievable! I just returned from Taiwan...6 day trip...I took my computer bag and small duffel packed with enough under cloths for 7 days and business casual attire for 4 days, fits easily in the me if you know how to pack your stuff its easy. Now, when I have an issue and I need to stay longer or have garmets cleaned...guess what...theres a dry cleaners on about every corner in the US from coast to coast and yes...even in China! Hotels will send it out for you and same day service if needed. If you can afford these tickets, you can afford a dry cleaning bill on the road. People...get a grip and start traveling dont need to take your entire wardrobe when you travel...Heck the astronauts flew to the moon and back in the same suit! Leave some of your crap at home!

    Posted by TJ June 25, 08 06:19 PM
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