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Jan 19, 2010 1:12 PM by Associated Press

American Airlines raises checked bag fees

American Airlines is raising its fees on checked bags for passengers buying tickets starting Feb. 1.

The company said it is raising the charge for the first checked bag to $25 from $20 on flights in the U.S., Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. The fees apply to passengers on the company's American Airlines, American Eagle and American Connection flights.

A second checked bag will cost $35, up from $30. Select passengers, including first- and business-class travelers and members of the armed services, will remain exempt from checked bag fees.

The move comes nearly a week after Delta, the world's biggest airline, announced it would hike fees to check a first bag on domestic flights by $8 (to $23) and the second bag by $7 (to $32).

It will continue to cost you even more if you don't pay the fees in advance on the airline's Web site. Delta is calling that add-on a surcharge - $2 for the first bag and $3 for the second. You will have to pay the surcharges if you check your bags at an airport ticket counter, kiosk or curbside.

Delta's domestic bag fee increases apply to travel in coach within the 50 states, U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and Puerto Rico. Elite frequent fliers, first class fliers and certain other customers, including active military personnel on deployment, are exempt from the fees.

A Delta spokeswoman called the airline's fees "competitive" with other carriers.

Last Wednesday, United Airlines followed suit with baggage fee increases.

United will now charge $25 to check the first bag and $35 for the second. That's $5 more than before. It takes effect on tickets bought beginning Thursday for travel after Jan. 21.

The new fees are the same at Continental and Delta. Airlines discount the fees by a few dollars for travelers who pay online in advance instead of at the airport.

On Friday, US Airways raised baggage fees to match its competitors. US Airways said it will charge $23 to check the first bag online, and $32 to check the second. That's an increase from the previous online checked bag fees of $20 and $30.

Southwest Airlines passengers can check two bags for free, and JetBlue passengers can check one for free.

 

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