The Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA) advised members that American Airlines will begin charging $15 for a passenger's first checked bag, the first major American carrier to do so. There is a current charge of $25 for the second bag, which remains.
American's AAdvantage Gold, Platinum and Executive Platinum members, first class and full fare coach customers will be exempt. This takes effect on June 15, just in time for the summer season, ARTA says.
“Can't you see the lineups already with most passengers not even knowing about the fee?" asked Pat Funk, ARTA’s executive director. "They think they can't raise fares so they tack on fees. What's the difference? I hope the rest of the majors take a better look at this.”
The airline also announced it will cut its domestic capacity by 11 percent to 12 percent in the fourth quarter by grounding planes and cutting back its workforce. The airline will retire at least 75 mainline and regional planes, including many of its MD-80s and some Airbus A300 planes, ARTA said.
American cited high fuel costs, economic concerns and competition. Look for more increases in fees as well. There were no figures given as to the number of layoffs.