Delta has raised its fee for a second checked bag from $25 to $50, although it has not imposed a fee for the first checked bag. Yet.
“At this time we believe that the first checked bag is part of the service provided associated with the price of a ticket,” Delta spokesman Kent Landers told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “But we will continue to evaluate everything given the fuel environment.”
Ah, that fuel environment. It has already prompted four of the Big Six — US Airways, United, American and Northwest — to charge $15 for the first checked bag. Continental and Delta are the holdouts on that, but both have been charging $25 for the second bag.
Delta downplayed the impact of the fee increase. “Fewer than 20 percent of our customers check a second bag,” Delta spokeswoman Betsy Talton told The New York Times.
I’ll bet that percentage will drop when passengers realize that checking a second bag will cost $100 on a domestic round-trip ticket. Some will stuff everything they can into a carry-on and a single checked bag. Some may switch over to fly Southwest, which still allows two checked bags for free.
The variations in these fees certainly make it more complicated to price out an airline ticket. Now I have to figure out what I’ll be carrying, in addition to where I’m going.
I’m starting to wonder whether, at some point, it will make more sense to travel with just the clothes on our backs, then buy more clothes when we reach our destinations. (If you are getting the impression that I am comfortable in cheap clothing, you are correct.)
Or maybe we could rent clothes, the way we do cars. I could reserve a one-week wardrobe of beach and casual wear for a middle-aged woman, size … well, never mind the size. Let’s simplify it so that travelers could rent or buy one-size-fits-all garments, like hospital gowns. Just maybe with a few more fasteners down the back …..