Baggage Fees: Billions Made in 2009; Hawaii Fees

U.S. domestic airlines charged us more than $1 billion last year for excess baggage, as reported today by CNN.  Given that 2008 was the year the airlines started tightening the screws with the unpopular baggage fee, expect to see at least double or triple that number for 2009.  In the last quarter of 2008 alone, the fees were one-half billion.


    Baggage Fees to/from Hawaii

All airlines serving Hawaii from/to the mainland charge $15 for the first checked bag and $25 for the second.  Alaska was the last bastion of free baggage here, but they too recently joined the party.

Baggage Fees Inter-island

Your first bag is free on Mokulele, Hawaiian and Island Air.  Only Go! charges $10 for the first bag.  If you take a second bag expect to pay $17 extra.  The only exception is Island Air which charges $35 for the second bag starting May 15.

Perhaps the only ray of light at the end of this annoying fee tunnel is that we are actually carrying less.  As I discussed previously, that may actually be helping to prevent back injuries at the expense of the pocketbook.

How have baggage fees changed the way you pack?

5 thoughts on “Baggage Fees: Billions Made in 2009; Hawaii Fees”

  1. Yesterday I was waiting for my (intra-mainland) flight when the gate attendant announced that only 50 of the 150 (approx.) passengers had checked luggage, and they needed a bunch of people to volunteer to check their carry-ons because there wasn’t enough room on board for them. (Incidentally, they kept mentioning the fee; it sounded like they were going to charge the volunteers?)

    I remember predicting this problem when they started charging for the first bag: It was already a pain to find overhead space then, so I usually checked my bags to avoid it, and I could imagine that a lot of people like me would start trying to carry on small suitcases…

  2. Luggage fees have become a regular nuissance to deal with when traveling by air. Ever since the airlines found this new income source, we can expect to pay for many years to come.

    Yes, the way we are packing our suitcases and our suitcase choice (light ones have become favorites) has changed a lot. I also noticed that I am more reasonable how much I take with me.

    Packing suitcases for our Hawaii visitors is definitely easy: swim suit, casual summer clothes + a sweater and pair of long pants. Guys, Aloha shirt is fine for going out for dinner!

    Aloha Pua
    Best Hawaii Vacation blog

  3. “How have baggage fees changed the way you pack?”

    One man invented the “Suitcase Coat” (Big trench coat that is lined with over sized pockets)

    Pack your non metallic items in the over sized coat pockets and then just walk on board. It exploits the loophole about how coats and jackets don’t count as carry-on luggage.

    (Click the signature link for more details)

  4. Hi Lynne,

    Note the (we thought) carefully chosen words “U.S. domestic airlines.” Canadian carriers obviously aren’t included, nor is international travel to and from Honolulu on any carrier.



  5. At the risk of sounding facetious (we are, afterall, only one-tenth your population, but Canada too is mainland) I’d like to point out that our two main airlines that serve Hawaii – Air Canada and WestJet – do not charge baggage fees at all and allow two checked bags, as always (plus a carry-on and a handbag).

    I appreciate all your research on readers’ behalf and always enjoy your articles!


    P.S. I hope ‘noreply@’ doesn’t mean just that.

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