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These Travel News Briefs were compiled by Conde Nast Traveler
JetBlue’s expected move to charge for at least some checked bags goes into effect today. The airline is “charging, effectively, $15 for the first checked bag versus most other airlines’ fees of $25,” Barbara Peterson reports. “It’s also reducing cancellation and change fees, which surveys show are among the most detested of the myriad fees imposed by airlines. That leaves Southwest, with its ‘two bags fly free’ policy, as the lone holdout among major domestic airlines.” (Condé Nast Traveler)
While many carriers charge for checked bags now, Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines both promise to deliver luggage within 20 minutes of arrival. Those policies are two of “a few bright spots where airlines inject a bit of humanity back into our journey” these days, Scott Mayerowitz reports. (AP)
“Traveling to Greece? Here’s what you need to know.” (Condé Nast Traveler)
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Australia may be home to the "Best Job in the World," but with the ups come the downs, and Oz now also offers positions for what seems like the worst job in the world: "Cabin Baggage Officer" for Jetstar.
Working for an airline may be a dream job to some, but you'll want to steer clear of starting this low on the ladder; Cabin Baggage Officer is a brand new position designed to enforce carry-on luggage rules and charge any applicable fees directly to the passengers, at a point when travelers think they're already good to go. Our friends at Australian Business Traveller elucidate the Officer's responsibilities:
If you haven't heard, the Department of Transportation announced a proposal yesterday that would require airlines to be more upfront about the extra costs associated with purchasing a ticket, such as baggage and seat assignment fees. The idea is for these costs to be listed alongside the price of the ticket throughout the various purchasing outlets instead of at the last minute in order to give customers a more complete picture when comparing costs between airlines.
This is great news for us consumers, as we've all no doubt been there done that when it comes to being lured in by a low price, only to realize it would actually cost $50-$100 more after such aforementioned fees. And while one would think this would be a pretty reasonable request, the airline industry doesn't like it one bit.
It's not the most pleasant travel topic, but baggage fees must be discussed as they effect almost every US traveler these days. More and more airlines have "gone over to the dark side" to charge for even the first checked bag, and a few (Spirit, Frontier, Allegiant) are asking passengers to pay up for carry-on luggage as well.
Even the typically chill Canadian airline Porter is having to hold their hand out for baggage fee collection, beginning May 14. So, is anyone still cool with complimentary luggage allowance in Economy? Thankfully, the answer is yes, but the pickings are slim.
The only US airlines still offering a free first checked bag are:
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Baggage fees turn six years old this July. That's no cause for celebration, but travelers have gradually grown accustomed to forking over an extra $25+ to stow bags in a plane's hold. The real indignation comes of what will be the fourth anniversary of carry-on baggage fees, initiated in August 2010 by Spirit Airlines.
Spirit now charges passengers $35+ for a carry-on bag, and their success has inspired another American airline to join in the collection of these extra dollars. Frontier has just announced the start of carry-on baggage fees, beginning with tickets purchased on or after today.
To put the evil of carry-on baggage fees into perspective, not even the infamous nickel-and-dimers of Ryanair have attempted them yet.
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Go ahead and file this story wherever you keep the rest of the world's thoroughly unsurprising - but still kind of obnoxious - news. Spirit Airlines, because it is Spirit Airlines, rang in the new year by tinkering with its baggage fees. And by "tinkering" of course we mean "predictably increasing." Most of the fees they have, according to the Los Angeles Times, will increase by at least $1.
Remember, however, that this is the airline that has 24 different ways to combine fees, depending on circumstance, size, location, and presumably your astrological symbol. So when they decide to play around with their fee structure, reverse engineering what happened requires not just a degree in quantum mechanics but also a great deal of luck.
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Before early 2008, travelers didn't even think about forking over some extra cash just to put luggage in the belly of the plane, unless, of course it was oversized and overweight. On a whole, checking a bag or two without extra cost was just part of the air travel experience.
As we celebrate the 5th birthday of baggage fees, it's plain to see that much has changed. In 2011, US airlines raked in just under $3.5 billionyes, billion with a 'B'so there's no way these fees are going anywhere. Love them or hate them, they're here to stay (and eventually increase).
American Airlines started it all in May of 2008 with the rest of the industry watching with bated breath if it was going to fly or fail. Right in the height of the summer travel season, other airlines followed suit and began charging the extra bucks just for the privilege of checking baggage. Luckily there are still two major holdouts from the first bag fee: Southwest and JetBlue.
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It’s been a little bit of time since we heard any news regarding checked bagged fees, which is good thing really. Alas, Alaska Airlines is in the news this week to disrupt the brief peace, as the carrier recently announced that they’re raising fees. Thankfully nothing is too crazy or out of line, but that’s assuming that you’ve already rolled over and accepted the whole paying for your luggage thing.
For tickets booked after October 30, most baggage fees are going up by $5. The first and second checked bags fees will rise to $25 per bag from $20, but after that things get a little pricier. Bag number three will cost you $75 and that will also be the case for bag number four. We’re just hoping that you’re able to cram everything into bags one and two before you get to those more expensive checked baggage options.
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Besides those pesky low cost carriers it seems that once you crossed the pond you were somewhat safe from the dreaded checked baggage fees and charges. For the long-haul flights you’re probably still okay checking a bag for free, but now when your fit hit the ground over in Europe you might need to take out the credit card.
It looks like KLM is going to be one of the first traditional carriers over in Europe to start charging for checked baggage for travel within Europe. The charges hit the airport ticket counters beginning on April 22, as it will be in effect for tickets booked on or after that day. It’s going to be 15 euros for those checking a bag in advance, but it doubles if you’re paying at the airport—that’s roughly $40 if we converted things correctly. Other carriers like Air France, Alitalia, and British Airways don’t seem to be interested in this kind of thing just yet, but now we’re getting a little nervous.
Jaunted Awards 2012 / Travel Awards 2012 / The Jauntys / Spirit Airilnes / Airlines / Baggage Fees / → All Tags
It's that time of the year again, the time when the year just plain ends. Alas, we can't just let 2012 go that easily, especially since travelers spent it both up in the air and up in arms over a crazy range of topics. Needless to say, we're ready for 2013, but first we're taking a brief look back at the best of 2012 with the Jaunted Travel Awards,or as we fondly refer to themThe Jauntys.
You guys, we swear weren't going to do it. We weren't going to give away this award to Spirit Airlines. The deeply hatable LCCunaffectionately known to Jaunted readers as the Ryanair of North Americawas just too predictable a choice. Also it had already won the award in 2010. Also we had spent plenty of time during the year pointing out its absurdity. Why not change things up a bit for the holiday season, we figured?
Then we flipped through Jaunted's bad ideas category. It's not even close. Spirit dominates. And since you can't argue with math, here we all are. The 2012 Jaunty for Most Ridiculous Airline Idea goes to Florida's Spirit Airlines, which this year took an approach to fees that we're pretty sure we've never seen before: openly, petulantly, explicitly telling customers that they were being punished with fees for their own good.
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You know, there's probably a clever way to open this post, like maybe with a reference to Christmas and the Grinch or whatever. But honestly, when it comes to Spirit Airlines, we just can't bring ourselves to give a fuck any more.
The Ryanair of North America wants to raise fees on holiday trips weeks before Thanksgiving because they know they can exploit flustered travelers? Fair enough. The airline's overarching strategy has been so successful that it's managed to recently expand into DEN and MSP? Terrific. These are the same people who make high school playground masturbation jokes about Presidential candidates? We're very happy for them. Go with God.
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We've been trying to figure out the best way to cover this news, about how Spirit Airlines is going to start charging passengers $100 each when they pay for check-in luggage at the gate. Originally we were just going to post the word "douchebags" as a link to the story, because brevity is the soul of wit and because it's fucking true.
But then we would have missed the chance to talk about the gratingly obnoxious press release that the airline issued to announce the new fee. Want to guess what they titled it?