Airlines Increasing All Kinds of Fees (Some by $50!) – Here’s What You Need to Know

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Wanna know what’s upsetting?

Airlines are increasing fees in just about every department.  And the reason they give is that it helps them to keep the ticket prices low.  That’s an insulting explanation.

Some of these fees are increasing by 50%.  I’ll give you a quick rundown of what’s increasing, and remind you of ways you can avoid a couple of these fees altogether.

Checked Bag Fees Are Going Up From Several Airlines

United Airlines

United Airlines is raising the price of checked bags when flying within the US, Canada, Caribbean, and Central America.  Here’s what you’ll now pay:

  • $30 for your first checked bag (previously $25)
  • $40 for your second checked bag within the US, Caribbean, Central America, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands (previously $35)
  • $50 for your second checked bag on flights to or from Canada

United Airlines also plans to charge more for seats near the front of the plane.  They’ll call these “preferred seats”, but they’re exactly the same as any other stuffy coach seat.  They’re just closer to the front of the plane.

We don’t know how much these seats will cost, but we know this new “preferred” option will roll out before 2019.

You can avoid paying for your first checked bag when you pay for your United Airlines flight with the United℠ Explorer Card.


JetBlue has bumped up almost all their fees!  Here’s what you’ll pay for checked bags:

  • $30 for your first checked bag (previously $25)
  • $40 for your second checked bag (previously $35)
  • $150 for your third checked bag and beyond (previously $100)
  • $150 for an overweight checked bag (previously $100)
  • $100 for sports equipment like surfboards and bikes (previously $50)
  • $125 for pets (previously $100)

They’ve also made some increases for changing and canceling tickets:

  • $200 to cancel Blue or Blue Plus fares costing $200+
  • $200 to cancel a Mint fare

Folks with the Barclaycard JetBlue Plus credit card will get their first checked bag for free.


If you don’t know how Southwest’s boarding procedure goes, it’s pretty simple.  There are no seat assignments, and you line up to board in the order in which you checked in.  So the sooner you check-in within 24 hours of your flight, the better pickin’s you’ll have!

Southwest offers a paid service called EarlyBird Check-In, which is basically an automated check-in immediately 24 hours before your flight.  It means you’ll board your flight before tight wads like me.

The service used to cost $15 one-way.  But Southwest has now moved to “dynamic pricing.”  EarlyBird will now cost between $15 and $25, depending on the length of flight and the demand for EarlyBird Check-In on that particular route.

Air Canada

Air Canada is raising checked bag fees:

  • $30 for your first checked bag (previously $25)
  • $50 for your second checked bag (previously $30)

With Air Canada, you’ll still get the lower price if you booked before August 21, 2018, and are traveling before October 5, 2018.


WestJet is also raising checked bag fees:

  • $30 to ~$35 for your first checked bag (previously $25)
  • $50 to $59 for your second checked bag (previously $35)

Anyone who bought a ticket before August 24, 2018 for flights within Canada or August 28, 2018 for flights outside of Canada, will pay the old price.  If you’re charged the higher price, point it out to an airline agent and they’ll fix it.


Beginning November, Ryanair won’t let you bring a small carry-on suitcase for free.  You’ll only be allowed 1 bag small enough to slide underneath the seat in front of you.

A limited number of folks who book priority boarding (costing 6 pounds or 6 euros) can bring a small case as hand luggage.  But Ryanair is rolling out a lower rate for small check-in bags.  You’ll pay 8 pounds or euros (~$12) for anything weighing less than 22 pounds.

This is much less than the ~$32 it costs for a standard checked bag.  But also much more than the $0 is costs currently.

They’re doing this to prevent so many folks from gate checking bags, saying it’s causing flight delays.  So you’ll now have to check that free 21 pound carry-on roll-aboard at the desk.  And pay $12 for it.

Bottom Line

There are lots of increased fees in the airline industry!  That’s a little disheartening, but there are easy ways to get some of these fees waived.  For example, you can avoid the bump in price for your first checked bag with United Airlines if you open the United℠ Explorer Card.

Any new fees I missed?  Let me know!

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Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals. He has also authored and edited for The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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