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November 14, 2008

Delta Baggage Fee Update

Delta Northwest
AP Photo

by Barbara S. Peterson

Remember our recent post about how Delta and Northwest, who just tied the knot, had incompatible fee structures?  Well, it's hardly a surprise that while Northwest's name will soon be repainted with the Delta livery, its stingier policy on bags will survive the merger. 

Delta was the only major airline that didn't charge for the first checked bag, but now it's adopting Northwest's $15 charge, bringing it in line with the rest of the industry. And AirTran is following suit.

Just remember one thing: Don't expect the fee to get your bag to the carousel any faster. Airlines are laying off thousands of airport workers in their bid to become profitable, in a recession, no less...


Do you expect the shortage of employees at the airport to push travelers to opt for luggage delivery services independent of the airlines?

Independent luggage delivery services are definitely looking more attractive these days, especially in light of the airlines' new fees for checking bags. But these private delivery services are fairly expensive so it's uncertain how much business they'll gain at the airlines' expense. Judging from what I've observed at airports lately, a lot of people are trying to carry everything on board to avoid any additional expense -- which will likely lead to more battles for bin space as the holidays approach.

Thanks for your insight.

I personally fit into that category. I have a weeklong trip planned for Central America in December and I am already scheming to get everything into a carry on.

In all transparency, I do PR for a luggage delivery service that saw a 400 percent year-over-year spike in sales the week after Memorial Day. I guess depending on destination, rising baggage fees by the airlines may be starting to rival those of such delivery services these days.

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