Oneworld Alliance Raises Bag Fees for Transatlantic Flights

american airlines

More or less two years ago, all three major airline alliances started introducing light fares on transatlantic flights. Anyone who buys such a ticket has to resort to 8 kg of cabin bags or pay extra to check in a piece of luggage up to 23 kg. This comes with further restrictions, as a free choice of seats is no longer possible in this fare class.

The Oneworld transatlantic joint venture consisting of American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair was one of the first to introduce light fares in April 2018. Free checked luggage suddenly disappeared when buying the cheapest ticket. The first checked bag came with a price tag of €45 per flight online or €50 at the airport.

Today, these four airlines increased prices again. The first checked bag now costs €70 per flight. Additionally, the price for a Main Cabin Upgrade (meaning the cheapest fare including a checked bag and free choice of seats at check-in) is now €60 more expensive than the light fare instead of €50.

Prices Increase Up to 40%

American Airlines, British Airways and implement the raise for all bookings made after April 21, 2020. Finnair even goes a step further and retroactively implements March 31 as the crucial date. Depending on your choice to add a checked bag online or at the airport, prices increase up to 40%:

GepäckstückOld PriceNew PriceIncrease
Upgrade Basic Economy → Main Cabin€50€60+ 20%
First checked bag (online)¹€45€60+ 33%
First checked bag (at the airport)€50€70+ 40%
2nd checked bag (online)¹€70€80+ 14%
2nd checked bag (at the airport)€75€90+ 20%
3rd checked bag (online)¹€140€150+ 7%
3rd checked bag (at the airport)€150€180+ 20%
Comparison of new and old bag fees.
  1. American Airlines doesn’t allow adding checked bags online.

You can easily see this increases on Iberia.com or BA.com‘s baggage calculator. Up to April 15 prices were kind of okay. Now – not so much:

ba checked bags before
Adding checked bags to a ticket booked before April 21, 2020…
ba checked bags after
…and adding checked bags to a ticket booked after April 21, 2020.

Restricted Frequent Traveller Perks Are Upheld

Even if you have an Oneworld frequent traveler status, you do not benefit from free checked bags on all flights with every airline. If you may add checked bags depends on which airlines sell your ticket (marketing carrier) and which airlines you actually fly on (operating carrier):

oneworld gepaeck
Checked bag restrictions on Oneworld transatlantic light fares (Source: Flyertalk-user tobsw)

Bottom Line

Over the past couple of years, transatlantic roundtrip fares below €300 got more and more common – airlines need the money the make money from ancillary revenues like paid hold luggage. However, even much more expensive tickets are subject to increased bag fees.

Knee-deep in commercial aviation’s biggest crisis, airlines struggle to make money and find new ways to create revenue. Raising bag fees is one of them. Interestingly, European low cost carrier Easyjet went the opposite way, reducing bag fees for all flights to £0.99 / €0.99 to increase booking numbers:

On a personal note: To give you the chance to compare economy light fares, we always include the checked baggage allowance in the headline.

Thanks to our source Award Wallet

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