I give American Airlines President Scott Kirby a hard time pretty frequently on this blog. While I know he has a tough job, I still take exception to his choice of words when discussing changes to the airline. He frequently uses terms like “innovation” when discussing changes to the AAdvantage program, when really “innovation” meant “copying almost to the letter exactly what Delta and United did”.
Effective today, American has bravely innovated again: per JonNYC on Flyertalk (and confirmed on aa.com), American now charges checked baggage fees on international flights to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and parts of northern South America.
• $25 first checked bag fee now applies to all of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean except for Panama City and San Salvador; previous exceptions such as Kingston, Mexico City, Santo Domingo are rescinded
• New $40 second checked bag fee to Guayaquil and Quito
• New $55 seasonal (high season from 7/26 to 8/10 and 12/9 to 12/24) second checked bag charge to Port au Prince, San Pedro Sula, San Salvador, and Tegucigalpa
• New $40 seasonal second checked bag charge to Cali
The inevitable squeezing of customers
American Airlines has a revenue problem. Certainly new fees like this will bring in more revenue but I cannot help but feel like a sponge. American Airlines (and the other airlines) go out of their way to squeeze every bit of money they can out of me while cutting benefits over and over again. There’s not really a breaking point for all of this because the US Department of Justice said that things like the US-AA merger wouldn’t affect competition (and they were right, it completely eradicated competition, now the Big Three carriers walk in lockstep, trampling their customers) so there’s really nowhere else you can turn. I’m also of the personal belief that checked baggage fees encourage people to try and fit bigger and bigger bags into the overhead compartments on jets, leading to longer boarding times and delayed departures.
Can’t wait for the next round of innovation!