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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card
The transatlantic market has seen lower fares in recent years with the rise of low-cost carriers like Norwegian and WOW Air, which has forced legacy carriers to respond by dropping their fares on international flights. In an effort to compete better with those budget airlines, Delta has quietly changed its baggage policy and will now start charging BE passengers for checking bags on several international routes.
Delta introduced basic economy (BE) fares several years ago and expanded it to international routes in 2015. American and United followed suit, but as of now have kept BE to domestic flights.
The Atlanta-based carrier will charge $60 for the first checked bag and $100 for the second checked bag for all travel from the US and Canada to Europe and North Africa. Delta implemented the change on Wednesday and it applies to BE fares for travel starting April 10, 2018.
If you purchase a Main Cabin or Delta Comfort+ fare your first checked bag will still be free. In some cases, it may make sense to pay more for the Main Cabin fare — in this example flight between New York (JFK) and Paris (CDG), you’d end up paying $31 extra if you booked a BE fare and then checked a bag.
Basic economy fares don’t allow travelers to select seats, disqualify them from free or paid upgrades and relegate them to the last boarding group.
Although Delta is facing increased pressure to lower its fares on these routes because of low cost carriers, it doesn’t necessarily need to tack on these hefty fees, especially after making $1.72 billion in profits in Q3 alone. Will American, United and other large carriers follow in Delta’s footsteps? If history is any indication, the answer is yes.
Fortunately if you’re a Delta Amex cardholder you’ll be able to avoid the new fees. The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express and the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express all waive fees for your first checked bag.
H/T: One Mile at a Time