American Picked The Wrong Week To Raise Checked Bag Fees On Europe Flights

JT Genter was first to catch at Award Wallet that American Airlines today has increased first check bag fees on flights between North American (or Central or South America) and Europe on basic economy fares from $60 to $75.

JT shares a statement from American that they’re just catching up with their smallest transatlantic joint venture partner Finnair which raised checked bag fees on March 31,

Starting today (Tuesday, April 21), 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. These changes only affect passengers who purchase new Basic Economy tickets on transatlantic flights starting on April 21 going forward.

Majority state-owned Finnair is leading a race to the bottom, which just introduced Basic Business Fares during the pandemic that include fewer miles, no checked bag allowance and do not permit changes.

While I opposed a government bailout of U.S. airlines, I also opposed having the government map out the business plans of the airlines as a requirement for the funds. I did that with full awareness that airlines like American would make tone deaf moves like increased checked bag fees the same week they expect billions in taxpayer funds when it’s wholly unnecessary for them to do so, since it’s not as though they’re either operating very many transatlantic flights or carrying many passengers on those flights at this time.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This has a stench similar to the Savings & Loan bailout by the U.S. taxpayer.

    Before Uncle Sam forked over the funding, where was any non-millionaire member in the Senate not to demand and prevent any such inappropriate actions impacting the public?

    Beyond the baggage fee issue, why did the Senate fail to require full and timely refund of tickets by the U.S. carriers, in lieu of foisting upon the public their worthless vouchers.

    Indeed, as this U.S. taxpayer bailout will also benefit the foreign airlines hooked up with our legacy carriers (as pointed out here by AA), our funding should have also have required full cash refunds in lieu of vouchers. We must stop this Soviet thought process by our legacy carriers to believe it should only be to their advantage to hook-up with foreign carriers, and the public be damned.

  2. And there we go on the mixed messages again…. This is the same day as launching their “You are why we fly” video to show how much they care about their customers.

    This move is more reflective of AA leadership then the video. As Gary points out not many people are flying these routes currently, anyways… why now???

  3. Could you imagine how much additional business they’d attract if they reduced or waived these fees?

  4. Glad we have J.T. to ferret out news like this. Some well-known websites are asking readers which ride they’ll go on first when Disney World reopens.

  5. @mark member sof Congress all get complimentatry status from the airlies. Members of Congress don’t pay bag fees! Only the little people pay these fees – Congress doesn’t care.

  6. Another reason I will not fly American Airlines in the future. American is anti customer.

  7. As much as I despise airline fees their timing is genius, like the kansas city shuffle in Lucky Number Slevin. This move will be picked up by the travel blogs, maybe noted in USA Today or elsewhere. People will complain but most people have other concerns, and those who are outraged will have mostly forgotten about it. In 3+ months when people start flying again, American will be charging this fee and everyone will be none the wiser. And by then the airline bailout will be a footnote in most people’s minds.

  8. Here I have been trying to be supportive of American during the pandemic. Nope! Not anymore, pure greed aside, why in the hell would they do this?

  9. First American issues refunds where the other members of the US Big 3 are much more reluctant. That impressed me. Then American jacked up award change fees, but that’s (literally) last week’s news. Now higher baggage fees? In this environment? I realize that Parker is clueless and inept but this is still really impressive. One step forward, two steps back: that’s American Airlines for you.

  10. It completely shows how tone-deaf they are! Hey, we need taxpayer money and by the way, we need taxpayers to pay us more fees when flying with us. It is such a crock of crap.

  11. When someone shows you who they are, believe them. Applies to people as well as airlines. The video is nice, sure, but the actions are crystal clear, and the words in the video mean nothing when they aren’t backed up by something. (And no, I don’t think giving refunds for flights they cancel is magnanimous; to not refund is theft.)

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