Delta Starts Charging for Checked Bags on Transatlantic Budget Fare

Delta has begun charging transatlantic Basic Economy flyers for their first checked bag.

The fee of $60 went into effect on Dec. 6 for travel on or after April 10 between the U.S. and Europe.

Until now, Delta has allowed passengers booking Basic Economy tickets to check their first bag on transatlantic flights for free, just as economy (Main Cabin) ticket holders can do.

Delta said it is implementing the fee "to align with similar basic fare products in the market."

Discount transatlantic carriers Norwegian, Wow, Eurowings and Level all charge for checked bags. Delta's U.S. transatlantic rivals American and United don't offer basic economy fares on flights to Europe.

The disparity in price between a Delta Basic Economy and Main Cabin ticket can vary, but the new fee means that transatlantic flyers who are carrying bags might not realize savings from selecting the lower-end option. A spot check Monday of roundtrip fares between Atlanta and London Heathrow with an outbound trip on May 2 and a return on May 9 returned a lowest fare of $1,016 for Basic Economy and $1,136 for economy. As such, a Basic Economy ticket holder checking a bag each way would pay the same price as a Main Cabin ticket holder while having to endure additional restrictions, such as nonrefundable tickets and no advanced seat assignments.

Delta will continue to charge both Basic Economy and economy passengers $100 for the second checked bag on transatlantic flights.

Delta partners Air France-KLM and Alitalia both will expand their own "Light" fares with similar baggage fees for transatlantic passengers at the same time.
Travel Weekly 12/11/2017