Canadian air travellers have recently been hit with a $25 charge for checked baggage. WestJet moved first, and Air Canada followed suit just days later.
Airlines struggled when the recession hit in 2008, and some of them turned to baggage fees for relief.
But airlines in both Canada and the U.S. are once again profitable, and the baggage fees will only add to that profit. It could boost WestJet’s revenues by more than $70 million over the next year, and by more than $40 million at Air Canada.
So far in Canada, travellers are complaining about the new fees, but paying up.
Surveys suggest that passengers are more concerned about things like a lack of legroom in the economy class.
But there’s still hope that Southwest Airlines may lead the way in the opposite direction.
The large American carrier is roughly twice the size of the Air Canada, and it has a Bags Fly Free policy.
They’re thinking of expanding into Canada, and airports in this country would love to have them.
This might encourage Air Canada and WestJet to reconsider baggage fees.
I’m Roger Currie. Join us again next week for more thoughts on the Frontier.
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