Sneaky Delta raises its checked bag fee while Continental takes the flak

No sooner did Continental announce that it's upping its checked bag fee that Delta decided there was enough blood in the water -- it could safely dive in, too.

The business wires are atwitter about Continental's heavy job losses (1,700 souls), which the airline claims necessitated an increase in its checked bag fees, and while its competitor faces the music in the press, Delta sneaked in its own copycat fee.

So as of Aug. 4, Delta just announced, it, too, will charge an additional $5 to anyone who waits until arriving at the airport before registering checked baggage. That brings its own fee to $20 for one bag and $30 for the second.

The fee takes effect on Aug. 4 for tickets purchased on or after July 15. From now on, whenever you see a quote for a Delta fare, tack on $40 for a round-trip ticket if you're checking one bag at the airport.

Delta's bag charges are now in line with Continental, United, and U.S. Airways. Among the legacy carriers, only American Airlines holds out at $15 for the first bag ($25 for the second) no matter when you register your baggage. JetBlue and Southwest are still free.


It's getting to where the only thing you get for free on Delta planes is the forehead grease left on the window by the prior occupant of your seat.

I'll hand it to the price-setters at Delta: They've got cojones. Delta is currently facing a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for a similar tactic. Last year, the manner in which it first instituted its baggage fees drew the suspicions of a Washington, DC, law firm, which has accused the carrier of an "invitation to collude" with AirTran. When AirTran brought in its baggage fees, Delta came right after, setting off some observers' alarm bells.

You'd think Delta would want to completely avoid the perception that it's instituting increases under the cover of similar increases by its competitors, but today shows that its legal sense may be as frayed as the hygienic standards on its planes.
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Airlines Hit Financial Turbulence
Delta just announced, it will charge an additional $5 to anyone who waits until arriving at the airport before registering checked baggage. That brings its own fee to $20 for one bag and $30 for the second.
Doug Pensinger, Getty Images
Doug Pensinger, Getty Images

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