Travelers who hate being held up at airport check-in to weigh and pay for their checked bags will rejoice at the news that American Airlines will soon join the ranks of major airlines offering a pre-pay option for checked baggage.
USA Today disclosed that CEO Doug Parker was discussing plans to make the new pre-paid option available for American’s passengers and will make the announcement at the airline's annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.
American spokeswoman Andrea Koos confirmed to USA Today that test runs of the new system are being conducted on select domestic flights out of American’s hub at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Koos also reported that baggage fees are the same as clients would pay at airport check-in—$30 for the first bag and $40 for the second.
Although this is a new development for American, it is by no means an innovation within the industry. Several major airlines have provided a pre-paid baggage check option for years, including Delta and United Airlines; and discount carriers, such as Frontier, Spirit and Allegiant, even offer a price-break incentive for passengers paying for their baggage ahead of time. As with American, United’s and Delta’s policy is simply to charge the same rates, regardless of when the baggage is being paid for.
Even U.S. Airways provided this capability back in 2013, before it merged with American. According to Koos, American hasn't raised the possibility of adding the feature until now because its focus has been on the more pressing challenges involved in integrating two major airlines.
According to American Airlines’ website, on participating flights, guests can choose to pay for up to three checked bags per person prior to airport arrival. Pre-payment can be made using American’s website or the app starting 24 hours and up to four hours prior to a scheduled departure.
Flyers will receive an email confirmation with instructions on where to drop off their bags at the airport. If you must check more than three bags, you’ll still have to hazard the line at the airport to add them on, according to your baggage allowance.
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