Airlines hike stealth charges

Airlines hike stealth charges

Air passengers face stealth fare increases as a raft of airlines, including British Airways and American Airlines, levy new charges for checking in more than one bag.

A host of airlines are introducing charges to cut the limit on baggage in a bid to raise extra revenue. The new charges could typically add £100 to the cost of a holiday for a family of four.

The roster of US carriers poised to start charging $50 on economy Transatlantic flights include Delta, Continental, US Airways and American Airlines.

British Airways is introducing stricter baggage policies in October, including charging up to £40 for a second bag, including skis or other sporting equipment.

Virgin Atlantic is imposing a one-bag limit on economy passengers from late September flying to destinations such as Shanghai, Dubai and Singapore, although passengers will still be allowed to check in two bags on flights to the USA and the Caribbean.

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The additional fees will hit holidaymakers particularly hard as they typically carry more luggage than business travellers and are more likely to fly economy.

The new charges were criticised by Simon Evans, chief executive of the Air Transport Users Council.

In an interview with the Times, he said: “It’s just about making money, that is what is happening. They just want to get more money out of us. BA seems to have buried it on the website. When you think if British Airways’ attack on other airlines hidden charges, this does seem like people in glass houses throwing stones.”

An airline spokesman defended the charges. “These are unprecedented economic times and we believe this can generate revenue for British Airways and help return us to profitability. Our free hold and hand baggage allowances remain generous,” he said.

Meanwhile a spokesman for Virgin Atlantic also said: “We are reacting to passenger demand and where they want to take more bags.”

“In the United States, people tend to want to take more, so they can bring shopping back, while when they go to Sydney, they tend to be happy with one.”