American Airlines raises bag fees for transatlantic Basic Economy passengers

Apr 21, 2020

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American Airlines moved quietly Tuesday to increase bag fees for Basic Economy passengers on transatlantic flights.

Those travelers will now have to cough up $75 for their first checked bag. (The previous $60 fee will apply to existing reservations; the higher fee is only in effect for new bookings.)

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The fee change was first reported by AwardWallet.

American said it was changing the price to help bring more uniformity to its European airline partnerships.

“American is changing its checked baggage fees for Basic Economy passengers on transatlantic flights to better align our bag fee structure with our Atlantic Joint Business partners, British Airways, Iberia, and Finnair,” Andrea Koos, an American spokeswoman said in a statement to TPG. “These changes only affect passengers who purchase new Basic Economy tickets on transatlantic flights starting on April 21 going forward.”

Read more: A beginner’s guide to American Airlines economy seats.

For example, American’s increase to the cost of checking a first checked bag in Basic Economy will put it in line with Finnair, which charges $75 for its comparable “Economy Light” fares between Europe and North America.

One work around for American customers hoping to avoid the checked bag fee will be to pack light. A carry-on bag remains free of charge on transatlantic itineraries, even in Basic Economy.

For those flying in American’s Main Cabin, first checked bags will still be gratis. First checked bags also remain free for AAdvantage and Oneworld elites, including on Basic Economy tickets. 

There are also changes coming on fees for additional checked bags on transatlantic flights. American said the fees it charges in U.S. dollars won’t change; they’ll remain at $100 for a second checked bag and $200 for a third. But fees charged for those bags in other currencies will rise.

Watch: TPG’s U.K. team reviews economy on 5 different airlines between New York and London.

Whether in Basic Economy or Main Cabin, the fee for a second transatlantic bag will rise 65£/75€ to 75£/90€. The fee for a third will increase from 140£/150€ to 155£/180€. Koos said American was making that change so they “they are better aligned with the USD equivalent.”

In the near-term though, this isn’t a huge concern for nearly anyone. This month, American has only two transatlantic routes on the schedule: from Dallas/Fort Worth and Miami to London.

Read more: American Airlines will suspend all but 3 long-haul routes, park most wide-body jets.

Featured photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images.

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