ASTA Alerts Agents to Increased Change Fee

The American Society of Travel Agents has advised agents of an increase in American Airlines (AA) change fees as well as new fees for first checked bags. They note that AA has also increased its change fee by $50.

In most cases, ASTA says, the new domestic change fee is now $150. International change fees vary by destination. For example, the typical change fee to the Caribbean is $150 and the typical change fee to Europe is $250. Agents are advised to verify the applicable change fee as provided in the fare rule applicable at the time of ticketing. To see a summary of airline change fees and restrictions, go to ASTA's Airline Exchange Policy chart, go to ASTA.org.

ASTA also recapped new AA rules on baggage fees. They note that customers who purchase domestic economy class tickets on or after June 15, 2008 will be charged $15 each way ($30 roundtrip) for the first checked bag.

The new fee applies to customers traveling within and between the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Canada. American's first bag fee is in addition to its previously announced $25 second bag fee ($50 roundtrip), which is valid on tickets purchased on or after May 12. After June 15, many American Airlines customers will end up paying an additional $80 for checking two bags on a simple roundtrip ticket, ASTA said.

Exceptions to the new baggage fees include: full-fare economy, business or first class passengers, active duty military passengers and premium frequent flyers. To see AA's checked bag policy check their Web site: www.aa.com

Agents are advised to disclose to customers at the time of booking that fees may apply when checking bags. In addition, agents should include a disclosure notice on customer itineraries and invoices. To see a summary of airline checked bag fees, as well as a sample disclosure notice, read ASTA's Airline Checked Baggage Policy chart.

For information: www.asta.org

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