Passengers outraged as Air Canada and WestJet plan to hike checked baggage fees

Passengers outraged as Air Canada and WestJet plan to hike checked baggage fees
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WATCH: Come October, Canada’s two largest airlines are raising their checked baggage fees. Both West Jet and Air Canada say the increase will offset costs and keep ticket prices competitive, but as Kori Sidaway tell us, targets economy fliers who are feeling the pinch.

Fliers, get ready to fork out more. Come October, Air Canada and West Jet will be increasing their baggage fees.

Quickly on the heels of U.S. -airline Jet Blue Airways, Canada’s two largest airlines are charging more – the first bag will increase by $5 and the second by almost 70 per cent from $30 to $50.

Travellers aren’t too happy with the changes.

“It’s too bad, we just keep getting nickel and dimed, by the airlines, it’s one thing after another. They herd us in here like cattle there charge us a small fortune,” said frequent flier Jim Embleton.

“I’ll have to fly without baggage,” said Glenis Edgeworth who commutes to and from Prince George to visit with family.

“I personally don’t like it very much, I think the first bag should be free,” said Anne Harrison, who is in Victoria visiting from Toronto.

Adding fees has been something airlines have been doing for decades. From charging for food and drinks as well as seats with more leg room, the revenue makes airlines money.

Air Canada earned more than $1billion from these payments last year, with WestJet earning $440 million.

According to IdeaWorksCompany, a U.S. research company that tracks airline revenue, the world’s top 10 airlines collected $29.7 billion U.S. in revenue from ancillary fees last year, up 2.1 billion from a decade ago

Both West Jet and Air Canada say these changes are intended to help offset increasing fuel costs and keep ticket prices competitive, but the changes only apply to the lowest-fare flights and have many fliers upset.

“It’s tough, it makes it tough, everyone is trying to pack the biggest carry-on and no one can fit it in the overhead bin so it’s just a free for all,” said Embleton.

“I don’t like the prices going up up up silently,” said Harrison.

“To me, it’s not reasonable to charge what they do, especially for the people in the north of B.C. because we have no other way of getting around now that Greyhound is gone,” said Edgeworth.

The new baggage fees will come into effect on Oct. 5 for Air Canada service across Canada, the U.S., Caribbean, and Mexico. West Jet’s increase will come into place on Oct. 1 for all domestic and international flights.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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