November 5, 2008, 10:34 am
Delta to Charge for First Checked Bag
Posted by WSJ Staff
After a long holdout, Delta has finally joined the pack.
The Atlanta-based carrier announced today that it would add a $15 fee on first-checked bags and cut its second-bag fee from $50 to $25, among other changes, saying the moves are part of a push for “the alignment of policies and fees for customers traveling on Delta- and Northwest-operated flights as the airline works to ensure a seamless and consistent customer experience during the integration of the two carriers.”
“The increase in bags being carried on board Delta aircraft this year tells us that customers are not differentiating Delta as the only major airline not charging for a first checked bag,” said Steve Gorman, Delta’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in a statement.
You’ll remember that Continental, another latecomer to first-bag fees, decided to hop on board the first-bag bandwagon after previously saying that the carrier’s ability to avoid the fee depended on customer reaction. In May, American Airlines became the first airline to include a fee, a $15 charge, for the first piece of luggage. That move has since been mirrored by carriers including United, US Airways and Northwest.
While it had resisted first-bag fees until now, Delta did not shy away from charging fliers to check their second bags. In making its announcement on cutting second-bag fees — from $50 to $25 — Delta said customers who bought their tickets on or before Nov. 5, and are traveling on or after Dec. 5, will still have to pay $50 for a second bag. (Though they won’t have to pay for their first bag, as was the case under Delta’s previous policy.)
As part of its announcement Wednesday, Delta also said it would immediately eliminate the $25-$100 fuel surcharges assessed for SkyMiles and WorldPerks award ticket travel originating from the U.S. and Canada. Delta also said it would begin selling upgrades to “coach choice seats” on some flights for between $5 and $25 — based where the seat is and how far a traveler is going. Elite Delta fliers such as SkyMiles Medallion members, WorldPerks Elite members, SkyTeam Elite can upgrade to a “coach choice” seat at no extra charge when checking in online or at a kiosk within 24 hours of the flight, Delta said