Friday, April 25, 2008

Air Canada to Charge $25 for Extra Checked Bag - UPDATES!

While a number of airlines are adding a $25 fee to a second carry-on item to offset rising gas prices, Air Canada is taking a different approach: charging you $25 for an additional checked bag. when you fly anywhere within North America. Up until now, travelers could take with them up to two carry-on items and two checked bags that were within defined dimension and weight parameters. The changes will come into effect on May 15, and apply to travel on or after July 15, 2008.

On a somewhat relieving note, the new fee will only apply to Tango and Tango Plus tickets (Air Canada's discount airline); but I'll bet that it's only a matter of time before it's transferred on to other flights. Latitude, Executive Class, Elite, Super Elite, and Prestige members will be exempt from the policy. The issued press release does not mention regular Economy class flights, and I've yet to receive a response from Air Canada on whether these travelers will be affected as well (stay tuned). Travelers going outside of Canada and the U.S. (including Hawaii), however, will thankfully not experience a change in their baggage allowance.

Spinning things in a positive direction, Air Canada promises that Tango customers who travel without any checked bags at all could receive a discount on their flights!

"In an environment of record high and unrelenting fuel costs, it is more critical than ever that the airline reviews its product offering to ensure it can continue to offer everyday low fares," said Duncan Dee, Executive Vice President, Customer Experience and Chief Administrative Officer of Air Canada.

Speaking of rising fuel prices, I didn't even fill up completely at $1.20 this morning and it cost me $50! When grabbing my morning coffee, a fellow building resident commented that he would be "buying a lock for his gas tank". Without thinking, I asked: "why, has someone been siphoning your gas?"

"No," he replied. "But I'm sure they will be!"

UPDATE: I spoke with someone from Air Canada who informed me that Tango and Tango Plus are just the brand names for all of the company's "low-fare" flights, which means that this additional fee will affect pretty much everyone but first-class flyers. I guess this means that whether I check or carry-on press kits from big trade shows will depend on what airline I'm flying with! The Air Canada representative also noted that, historically, only 20% of of the airline's Tango passengers flying in and out of North America check a second bag. I'm guessing that number will be dropping very soon.

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