American Airlines’s $30 baggage tax: deceptive and dishonest

American Airlines Sucks!American Airlines’s new $30 baggage tax is deceptive and dishonest:

  1. DECEPTION: It’s not $15 as advertised. It’s $15 each way. That’s a whopping $30 tax for the vast majority of passengers.
  2. DISHONEST: It’s not upfront. All costs incurred by the vast majority of passengers should be upfront and non-hidden. Otherwise, it’s much more difficult to do an apples-to-apples comparison of competitors. Orbitz and Travelocity won’t be able to tell you that American Airlines will cost $30 more than listed. (This is a big reason why service industry loves tips: lets them create an illusion of lower prices.)

In a lengthy missive, AA’s PR chief Tim Wagner claims this is necessary to recoup costs. Sorry, Tim, nothing justifies dishonesty and deception.

My wife and I may both fly this summer. Even though we will be reimbursed, we are doing whatever we can to avoid American Airlines.

7 thoughts on “American Airlines’s $30 baggage tax: deceptive and dishonest”

  1. That’s nothing. What about the airline (can’t remember which) that announced it will now charge for SNACKS. No more free peanuts, ’cause fuel prices are so high. Give ME a break!!

  2. are you serious? a hidden fee? Seems like they did a good job announcing it to me, it was all over the news.

    Do you just troll the news looking for things to complain about, or is your worldview really that negative?

  3. Then don’t check a bag.

    There’s no way for Orbitz or Travelocity to know that you would check a bag or not so how do you expect those sites to be able to call out the additional fee? And it’s a fee, not a tax. For an additional fee, you get an additional service – being able to place your bag under the aircraft and have it delivered to you at your destination via a conveyor belt. A tax goes to pay for something you may or may not get a direct benefit from, for example the homeowner paying school taxes who chooses to send their child to a private school.

    It’s a symptom of the a la carte-ization of air travel. The legacy carriers have to compete with low cost carriers like Southwest and JetBlue. Were the legacies to raise fares across the board, travelers who didn’t check a bag would be subsidizing those who did. This way, a comparison can be made on fare. European airlines have shown that many pax are willing to be ‘nickeled and dimed’ in return for lower fares. The pax don’t have to take advantage of the menu of options – entertainment, meals, checked luggage if they don’t want or need to. Even United will charge you $15 each way for a couple more inches of leg room

  4. Seriously, what percentage of people don’t check bags? I observe painfully few who pass the baggage claims. says a “huge” percentage of passengers check bags.

    If almost everyone needs it, include it in the price. Be upfront. Be straightforward.

    Your comparisons are invalid. Entertainment, meals, or “a couple more inches of leg room” aren’t needed by the vast majority of passengers.

    If airlines need more money, raise ticket prices; don’t do a stealth tax.

    Nickle and diming didn’t work so well for Skybus, did it? (

  5. In my travels, which are about weekly, I would say that 60% of the pax (which have been on full planes) are carrying a rollaboard and briefcase or laptop case.

    Business travel is different from leisure travel, I will grant that.

    “ says a “huge” percentage of passengers check bags.”
    that’s some fine reportin’ there, Lou. The airlines have that data, it shouldn’t have been hard to get; especially from an airline that isn’t charging a checked bag fee. At least I know where the guys that wrote the pre-war intelligence estimates have ended up. “Sure, there’s a huge amount of WMDs in Iraq”

    And not everyone “needs” to check a bag, either. But if fares were raised across the board to include a checked bag fee and I never check bags, I’d be rightly pissed off. Make the people who use the service pay for it and let the rest of us get what we pay for.

  6. I am OK with your logic if either 1. the baggage fee was consistent or merely a token fee across all airlines or 2. there was an upfront way to incorporate it in total flight cost comparisons. Neither is the case right now.

    Additionally, business travelers are frankly not as price sensitive as leisure travelers. And airlines know that; their ticket pricing reflects that with steep cost increases as you near the travel date. So incorporating the costs of at least one bag of checked baggage into all flights isn’t unreasonable; it might just partly offset price increases that would happen anyway as travel dates get closer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *