The last few months have been an extremely exciting period for American Airlines.
The airline eliminated the close-in booking fee and instead charged all passengers more miles, removed all TVs from their short-haul planes, shut down frequent flyer accounts, removed their award chart which led to dynamic pricing, arrested a mechanic for sabotaging an AA plane, crammed as many seats as they could into their planes using cheap seats with limited padding, broke off their partnership with Alaska Airlines, lost another partner when WestJet decided to befriend Delta, and lost yet a third partner when Delta stole LATAM and AA was forced to eliminate that relationship too.
And don’t forget, last week, AA was voted the USA’s Worst Airline.
“GOING FOR GREAT”
For a while American Airlines’ slogan was “Going for Great.” They got rid of that, which is pretty telling. Trying to be great is no longer a priority.
In their latest move, American Airlines quietly updated their baggage policy last night for international flights to specific countries.
Without any formal announcement, they eliminated the complimentary second checked bag on flights to the following countries and are now charging $65:
While that’s not quite the whopping $100 fee charged for additional bags on transatlantic flights, it still represents a significant devaluation for passengers.
Keep in mind that this change affects Main Economy customers only – which is 90% of the plane – all other fare classes retain the same baggage allowance.
The only way to get your complimentary second bag is by booking into Premium Economy (or business class), or hold elite status such as AAdvantage Platinum Pro, AAdvantage Platinum, or Oneworld Sapphire. In other words, spend more money with AA and you can take a second bag for “free.”
BUT MY CREDIT CARD ALLOWS FREE CHECKED BAGS, RIGHT?
Unfortunately, credit cards that offer free checked bags, such as the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard don’t work here. They only offer the first bag free on domestic itineraries. However, if you have a credit card that offers annual travel credits, you can often use those credits to offset the checked bag fees. A few cards include:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: This card reimburses up to $300 per year for qualified travel expenses, including checked bag fees.
- The Platinum Card from American Express [READ MORE]: If American Airlines is your selected airline for the Amex airline fee credit, bag fees are reimbursable, up to $200 per year. If not, you have until Jan. 31 to change your airline.
- The Business Platinum Card from American Express [READ MORE]: Again, you can use your airline fee credit to offset bag fees, up to $200 per year.
- American Express Gold Card [READ MORE]: You can use your airline fee credit to offset bag fees, up to $100 per year.
Although most destinations served by the airline now charge for a second bag, this is unfortunate news for flyers as they continue to nickel-and-dimed.
Baggage fees helped the U.S. airline industry rake in $4.6 billion last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports and I trust that amount will only increase this year.
Although I’m #TeamCarryOn regardless to the length of my trip, the aspect that really frustrates me is not announcing these changes. Without an announcement, it’s apparent they would prefer passengers show up for check-in at the airport and be surprised with, perhaps, hundreds of dollars in extra fees.
Keep “going for great” AA…Keep going for great!!
What do you make of these changes? How often do you pay bags fees?