Brace yourselves for higher baggage fees

We all have baggage . . . 

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Baggage fees may be unpopular with travelers, but they sure are popular with airlines. In recent years, they’ve become the norm, and, sorry to be the bearer of bad news—they’re on the rise. United recently announced that they’re increasing first and second checked bag fees on Caribbean, Central and North America United and United Express-operated flights for tickets issued on/after August 31.

Jet Blue has followed suit, and we predict others will too. (After years of implementing baggage fees on domestic flights, Delta recently started charging passengers to check a bag on transatlantic flights too.)

The proliferation of fees makes it all the more important for you to understand fare classes like “basic” economy, and to more thoroughly plan for what services you’ll need and what your airline will charge for each.

Today, Southwest Airlines is the lone U.S. carrier that offers free checked baggage for all passengers. What’s more, Southwest customers still get to bring two checked bags on flights, totally free of charge.

(Southwest is also unusual in that it doesn’t charge fees when a customer changes flight plans. That’s particularly exceptional given the state of the airline business nowadays, where fees for things like itinerary changes and bags account for a huge portion of airline revenues.)