Continental to charge $15 for first checked bag
DALLAS » Continental Airlines Inc.
said yesterday it is charging some coach customers $15 for a first checked bag, matching a similar fee imposed by most other major U.S. carriers.
A company spokeswoman said the fee would help offset high fuel costs, which have caused Continental and other carriers to lose money this year.
The fee took effect immediately on tickets for travel in the United States and Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada for travel starting on Oct. 7 or later. Bags that exceed weight and size restrictions could be subject to additional fees, the airline said.
Houston-based Continental said the fee wouldn't apply to elite members of its frequent-flier program, those in first- or business-class seats, customers traveling on full-fare economy tickets, or military personnel and their families traveling on official orders.
Most U.S. airlines charge customers who check more than one piece of luggage. Among major carriers, AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, the nation's largest carrier, was the first to impose a fee for the first checked bag, beginning in June. AMR Chairman and Chief Executive Gerard Arpey conceded his airline took "a little bit of flack" for the fee.
Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. is the only holdout among the six so-called legacy carriers, and Southwest Airlines Co. also doesn't charge for the first bag.
Continental Chairman and CEO Lawrence Kellner said this summer his airline was watching how the fee worked at other airlines. The company has lost $83 million in the first half of the year after two straight profitable years.