Air Canada Joins Wave Of Carriers Increasing Baggage Fees

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Summary

  • Air Canada has raised its checked baggage fees by $5, now charging $35 for the first bag and $50 for second.
  • The airline’s fee hike is part of a trend among North American carriers, with Delta Air Lines and WestJet also increasing prices.
  • Separate baggage fees help airlines stay competitive with base fares as air travel demand across North America is expected to slow following the post-pandemic boom.

Air Canada has updated its checked baggage fees, making it just one of several North American carriers to bring in price hikes in recent weeks. The Canadian flag carrier increased its standard baggage fees by $5 (US/CAD).

Air Canada’s new checked baggage fees

The increased charges came into effect on February 28th, and mean that passengers traveling on certain routes with the Star Alliance member airline will now have to pay $35 (US/CAD) for their first checked bag and $50 (US/CAD) for their second checked bag. The fee increases are applicable to Air Canada passengers traveling domestically, as well as those on international flights between Canada and the US, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying

Air Canada joined the likes of WestJet and Porter Airlines in 2014 by introducing a $25 (US/CAD) checked baggage fee. Fast-forward ten years, and this fee has now risen by 40%, although it could be argued that this is merely keeping up with inflation.

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Part of a growing trend

Air Canada’s price hikes come amid an apparent wave of baggage fee increases among North American carriers. Just yesterday, Delta Air Lines became the latest US airline to announce higher fees for checked baggage with a $5 price increase, following in the footsteps of United Airlines, American Airlines, and JetBlue, among others.

Air Canada Boeing 777-300ER landing

Photo: Tom Boon | Simple Flying

Canada’s second-largest carrier, WestJet, announced a CAD$5 ($3.60) price increase for checked baggage just two weeks ago. However, unlike Air Canada’s baggage fees, which remain the same regardless of when the bag is added to the booking, WestJet’s fees vary, with different prices charged. For example, passengers traveling on a basic economy class fare can expect to pay the following first checked bag fees:

Flights within Canada/US

Flights to/from Europe and Asia

Prepaid

CAD$35-42 ($25-30)

CAD$75-89 ($55-65)

At airport (self check-in)

CAD$45-54 ($33-39)

CAD$85-101 ($62-74)

At airport (check-in desk)

CAD$55-65 ($40-48)

CAD$95-113 ($70-83)

Charging separate baggage fees helps airlines to remain competitive with an attractive base fare. With demand for air travel across North America expected to slow down slightly following the post-pandemic boom, this is more important than ever. According to The Financial Post, average airfares in Canada this January were down 14% on the same month last year, although still 10% above the prices seen in January 2019. However, the increased baggage charges will likely still come as unwelcome news to those passengers who have yet to finalize their travel plans.

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What do you think of Air Canada’s checked baggage fee increases? Will these changes affect your travel plans? Let us know by commenting below.


  • Air Canada Tile

    Air Canada

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    AC/ACA

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Hub(s):
    Calgary International Airport, Montréal–Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Vancouver International Airport

    Year Founded:
    1967

    Alliance:
    Star Alliance

    CEO:
    Michael Rousseau

    Country:
    Canada

    Region:
    North America



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