Pack light: Airlines raise baggage fees again, just in time for summer

Bet you didn't see this coming. We all wondered what new fees the major airlines were going to institute next. Ryanair's gambit to have us pay to pee didn't go over too well, cutting off that avenue for now. So what do they do? Simply hike the fees they already charge. And do it right as summer travel clicks into high gear.

U.S. Airways, the most disrespectful airline in America, has announced its latest money grab: As of July 9, its baggage fee is going up $5. For each bag. For each flight. The new cost will be $20 for one bag and $30 for the second bag. Bring two bags on a round trip and you'll now be paying $100 above the cost of your ticket. (Bringing just one bag? That'll be $40 for the round trip, provided you only take two fights. Bringing three bags? Don't ask. That third alone will be $100 per flight.)

You'll have a loophole for escaping the new $5 tack-on: Check in to your flight online within 24 hours of departure. That means the current rates of $15/$25 will become the "online pricing." Easy enough to do before leaving home, but not so easy when you're preparing to come home from a vacation. Just getting online for the day at many hotels will cost you another $15. Pay $15 to save $5? I don't think so.

U.S. Airways may be hateful (this is the airline that charged us $2 for water until the passenger revolt forced it to recant), but there are plenty of travelers who are beholden to it, as it dominates their local airports.

Speaking of airlines that dominate their markets, Alaska Airlines has decided to hop on the charge-for-baggage bandwagon, slapping passengers with $15 per bag after July 7 (Southwest and JetBlue are pretty much alone among the biggies in refusing to join).

Both U.S. Airways and Alaska posted quarterly losses recently.

Delta, too has decided to raise existing fees. As of July 1, if you're flying internationally and checking a second bag, that'll be $50 more each way.

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