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Why checked bag fees are at record highs

·1 min

A round-trip ticket for a United Airlines flight from Denver to Dallas in late March is advertised at $91. However, checking one bag at the airport both ways will cost an additional $80. Checked bag fees are reaching record highs as airlines increase charges to boost revenue and save on taxes. Several airlines, including American Airlines, United, JetBlue, and Alaska Airlines, have announced fee increases this year. Bag fees have become a significant source of revenue, making up a growing portion of airlines’ operating revenues. They also provide an opportunity to introduce perks for co-branded credit cards. The introduction of bag fees in 2008 was driven by rising fuel prices and the competition from low-cost carriers. Despite being unpopular, eliminating bag fees could result in higher airfare prices. The Transportation Department has proposed a rule to require airlines to disclose fees upfront to enable customers to compare prices more easily.