Luggage tariffs looming

The people of Europe and the U.K. have long been accustomed to paying fees for their air travel. 

Low-cost airlines randomly offer airfares for as little as one euro, but it is understood that the applicable add-ons mark up the actual costs significantly.

Delta Airlines has recently advised that they will begin charging checked luggage fees for travel to Europe and North Africa for flights originating from Canada and the U.S.   

North American travellers had acquiesced to paying baggage fees for domestic and trans border flights since September 2014 on economy class airfares. Only Elite frequent fliers and higher-class tickets were unaffected. 

Until this recent announcement, economy fare travellers were allowed one free checked bag for overseas flights.

Delta is affiliated with both KLM and Air France. It is not yet clear if the new policy will affect their flights as well.

The new charges are effective April 10 or later and apply to tickets purchased after Dec. 6, 2017. The first checked bag will be $75CAD. It is expected that both WestJet and Air Canada will follow suit although to date they say there is no change to their baggage policies.

Airlines refer to these as ancillary fees. They increase revenue without affecting the base introductory fare structure. On a global basis, they have generated over $82 billion in profit in 2017. 

North American airlines claim that these initiatives are necessary to compete with low cost airlines such as Flair Air and WestJet’s new ultra low-cost airline Swoop, which will be launched in June.

Fees that apply to these low-cost airlines range anywhere from printing boarding passes to seat assignments, onboard food purchases, iPad rentals and even blankets. 

How can you beat these extra charges? Well, there is always the option to pay more for the flight. The very lowest fares are limited on a per seat per flight basis. These are those sales you see advertised by WestJet and Air Canada. 

Basic economy for the most basic of services. More expensive fares will include more amenities and may be worthwhile to invest in. Be sure to investigate those airlines that offer a premium economy class. 

Larger seats, better meal service and hopefully included luggage fees make for a much more comfortable experience for an approximate 30 per cent fare increase.

You could also consider airline affinity credit cards. I have the WestJet Mastercard, which awards me with a free checked bag on each and every one of my flights throughout their system. Well worth the $99 annual fee. 

It’s a bitter pill to swallow I know. Luggage fees have been a long-time staple for most of the countries of the world. Canada is simply just a bit late to the table. 

Being aware of and planning for these extra incidentals will make your next overseas holiday that much more enjoyable.


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About the Author

Joy has long been a believer in the art of travel: the belief that a vacation is something to be anticipated savored and then long remembered as one of life’s great adventures. 
Website: thejoyoftravel.ca

You can contact Joy at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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