The Trump administration – you know, the one that was all about making America great for middle-class Americans – has changed the rules about how US airlines disclose luggage fees. From this week, airlines will no longer need to tell you what the luggage fees will be at the start of the booking process. Instead, you’ll find out what you’re being slugged for baggage after you’ve chosen your ticket and fare.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t bother covering a US travel story like this but with overseas travel so easy these days, and lots of people taking US business trips and holidays, I thought it would be worth noting.
The US Department of Transportation said
The Department is withdrawing the supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking(SNPRM) on Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees issued on January 9, 2017 (82 FR7536 et seq.).
The SNPRM proposed to require air carriers, foreign air carriers, and ticketagents to clearly disclose to consumers at all points of sale customer-specific fee information, oritinerary-specific information if a customer elects not to provide customer-specific information,for a first checked bag, a second checked bag, and one carry-on bag wherever fare and schedule information is provided to consumers.
The withdrawal of this rulemaking corresponds with the Department’s and Administration’s priorities and is consistent with Executive Order 13771,Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs, January 30, 2017.
Did you notice that this is about reducing costs for airline regulation and how it corresponds with the Department’s and Administration’s priorities?
By the way, if you’re planning to book a ticket with Delta and have a cheap fare, fares booked from now on will incur a US$25 charge each way for your first item of checked luggage and US$35 for a second bag. American Airlines has similar fees although third and fourth bags cost US$150 and US$200. I suspect it would be cheaper to buy those extra bags their own seats.
If you’re booking some domestic travel in the US, make sure you check the checked baggage fees before booking the tickets so you’re not hit with extra charges when you get to the end of the booking process or, worst still, when you get to the airport.
Domstically, Qantas and Virgin both include one item of checked luggage on most domestic tickets with Jetstar and Tigerair both offering tiered charges depending on the weight of your checked bags.