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Hawaiian decides to match competitors on baggage fee


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POSTED: Thursday, September 03, 2009

Hawaiian Airlines, the state's dominant interisland carrier, is adding a $10 fee for the first checked bag on flights between the islands.

The fee will be effective for tickets purchased on or after Sept. 14 and matches the fees charged by Hawaiian's three primary interisland competitors.

Hawaiian already had been charging a fee of $17 for a second checked bag and $25 for a third or any additional bag on interisland flights.

“;Our costs continue to rise and fares have simply not kept pace,”; said Glenn Taniguchi, Hawaiian's senior vice president of marketing and sales. “;We've held the line on this fee as long as possible, but have to remain competitive.”;

Island Air began charging a $10 fee yesterday for a first checked bag after charging a $35 fee in May for second and additional checked bags.

Hawaiian's new bag fees matches those of go! and Mokulele Airlines.

Customers of Hawaiian exempt from the $10 first-bag fee are HawaiianMiles Pualani Platinum, Gold and Premier Club members; corporate members; customers traveling in first class; customers traveling on military and government fares; customers traveling on international tickets that include points within Hawaii; and customers flying on the same reservation as someone with exempt status. Checked-in items exempt from the first-bag fee are child car seats, carriers and strollers, as well as wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, canes and other personal assisting devices

Customers can pay the first-bag fee online at HawaiianAirlines.com, at Hawaiian's airport kiosk check-in machines, or at the airport ticket counter when checking in.

Mark Dunkerley, president and chief executive officer of Hawaiian, said the airline makes $20 million to $30 million a year from ancillary revenue — mostly from checked bags — and that baggage fees are here to stay as long as airlines need that revenue.

“;What's interesting is that Southwest Airlines did not charge for the bags and that has not dissuaded anybody else,”; Dunkerley said. “;Everybody else sees it as simply too valuable a source of revenue at a time when they're losing money to forgo it.”;